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Death Warrant (1990)

In a violent and corrupt prison, decorated cop Louis Burke must infiltrate the jail to find answers to a number of inside murders. What he finds is a struggle of life and death tied in to his own past.


Deran Sarafian


David S. Goyer


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jean-Claude Van Damme ... Louis Burke
Robert Guillaume ... Hawkins
Cynthia Gibb ... Amanda Beckett
George Dickerson George Dickerson ... Tom Vogler
Art LaFleur ... Sergeant DeGraf
Patrick Kilpatrick ... Christian 'The Sandman' Naylor
Joshua John Miller ... Douglas Tisdale
Hank Stone Hank Stone ... Romaker
Conrad Dunn Conrad Dunn ... Konefke
Jack Bannon ... Ben Keane
Abdul Salaam El Razzac ... Priest
Armin Shimerman ... Dr. Gottesman
John Lantz John Lantz ... Sam Waldon
Hans Howes ... Guard Keller
Harry Waters Jr. ... Jersey


The Canadian policeman Louis Burke is assigned in a jail to investigate some murders of prisoners and jailors. When in jail, Lois, using his outstandings martial arts, is able to save his life and make himself respected in that violent world. At last, helped by two another prisoners, he succeeds in finding the truth about the dreadful crimes. Written by Tognacci Sebastiano <seblog@maya.dei.unipd.it>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In "Bloodsport" and "Kickboxer" he won it all, now there are no rules, no escape, and NOBODY'S playing games!


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Canada | USA



Release Date:

14 September 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dusted See more »


Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,019,902, 16 September 1990

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Director Don Siegel may have been briefly attached to direct. See more »


When Burke is in the records room and he closes the drawer he cuts his right arm. When the guard comes in and Burke is on the bulkhead, his left arm is bleeding. See more »


Louis Burke: I don't pay!.. I don't punk!
See more »

Alternate Versions

The part where The Sandman jumps out of the fires and continues fighting Burke until he gets his head gored on a pipe, is cut in the Norwegian VHS-version. See more »


Referenced in Hollywood Stuntmakers: Fantastic Fights (1991) See more »


Bring Me a Dream
Written by Martha Davis and Gary Chang
Performed by Craig Thomas
Produced by Gary Chang and Curt Taylor
See more »

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User Reviews

Mister Sandman Give Me A Dream
8 March 2005 | by sol1218See all my reviews

**SPOILERS** One of Jean-Claud Van Damme's better movies in which he plays a Royal Canadian Mountie who goes undercover in a California prison to find out why a number of prisoners have been murdered at the Harrison State Prison over the last year.

Being that officer Louis Burke, Jean-Claud Van Damme, is from out of the country and has worked with the LAPD before, he lost he partner while tracking down a serial-killer known as "The Sandman" (Patrick Klipatrick) it's felt by the prison authorities and the DA's office that no one will recognize him in the pen.

Working with DA attorney Amanda Beckett, Cynthia Gibbs, who's posing as his wife on the outside Burke keeps in touch with her on whatever information he can come up with on the dead prisoners. With the help of some local convicts that he befriended in the prison including Hawkins, Robert Guillaume,Burke begins to find out that whats happening is being conducted by the very people who placed him there, DA Tom Vogler and head of prisons Ben Keane, George Dickerson & Jack Bannon. Voler & Keane are working together with the head of the prison guards and the prison doctor Sgt. DeGraf & Dr. Gottesman, Art Laflevr & Arimin Shierman, in killing healthy and non-addicted, to either drugs or alcohol, prisoners. These murders are being done in order to take out their vital organs and then sell them on the open market to the highest bidder! In fact DA Voglar has gotten Dr. Gottesman to get him a healthy liver, from one of the murdered prisoners, for his sick wife Helen, Dorothy Dells, without even her knowing about it.

Burke had been set up by the corrupt state administrators to show the higher ups in the government that they were doing all that they could to find out about the murders there. When Burke started to find out the real reason for them, the dead prisoners, he was to be terminated before he could expose Volgar & Co. and their illegal human organ racket.

The action in the film was as good and as exciting as you could ever want in a movie like "Death Warrent" with Van Damme in top form taking out the bad guys with his fists and feet in a number of gut crunching fight sequences. Being a marked man with his identity, as an undercover policeman, exposed by the prison officials themselves it's a wonder why those in authority, not involved in this organ racket, didn't come to Bruke's rescue earlier then they did. Bruke's outside contact Amanda was doing everything to alert them but they seemed to be either out to lunch or on vacation.

Thrilling final with Burke having it out with the almost indestructible "Sandman" giving him a hot foot as well as a one way trip to Blazeville with the prisoners, forgetting about Burke's police identity, giving him a standing ovation at the end of the film.

P.S Despite two major inconsistence. #1.Why the non-corrupt government authorities were so late in sending state troopers and national guardsmen to Harrison State Prison in order to rescue fellow police officer Louis Burke from hundreds angry and homicidal convicts. #2. The fact that "The Sandman" seemed to have come back to life at the end movie after he was obviously killed by Burke, with a hail of bullets, when the movie started. The film hold together pretty well and gives you the kind of non-stop action that you would expect from it.

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