[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/death_warrant_poster_8945.jpg]]

''Death Warrant'' is a 1990 action movie starring Creator/JeanClaudeVanDamme.

In the Harrison State Prison in California, prisoners are mysteriously dying in increasing numbers. Detective Burke (Van Damme) is called in on a state task force to investigate the deaths. Burke goes undercover as a new inmate pretending to be an old friend of one of the recently deceased. He soon discovers that a massive organ harvesting operation is taking place under the warden's eye. After repeated attempts to kill Burke and cover it up fail, Burke's old nemesis, a SerialKiller known as "the Sandman", is also tranferred to the prison to take out Burke.

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!!This film provides examples of:

* AmoralAttorney: [[spoiler:The organ harvesting operation in the prison was masterminded by Califora's Attorney General Tom Vogler.]]
* AssholeVictim: The mastermind behind the organ harvesting operation notes that the prisoners are targeted specifically on the basis that "no one will miss them".
* AxCrazy:
** The Sandman is a psychotic serial killer who murdered people for fun. Near the climax, he releases all the prisoners from their cells to watch them cause mayhem.
** The two cons who worked together with the warden to kill prisoners and silence anyone who might expose seem to be in it more out of sadism than any profit.
* {{Badass}}: Louis Burke, as typical for a Creator/JeanClaudeVanDamme character. He's a trained martial artist who easily beats up most of his opponents, though not always without taking a few hits himself.
* CopKiller: The Sandman has a fondness for killing cops. This drives Burke to hunt him down in the opening for killing his partner, and the other convicts to [[VillainCred admire him]].
* EvenEvilHasLovedOnes: [[spoiler:The guy behind it all, Tom Vogler, killed people for their organs to save his dying wife.]]
* EvilIsNotAToy: The prison officials, on the orders of their mastermind, bring the AxCrazy killer the Sandman to their prison to kill Burke. The Sandman uses the opportunity to release all the prisoners and start a riot for his own amusement.
* FanDisservice: Burke is shown naked, but the context makes in unappealing, as he's been confined to solitary under suspicion of having killed his cellmate.
* HiddenVillain: It's clear that the Warden and his buddies are evil, but they're backed by a mysterious agent. [[spoiler:It turns out to one of the men who assigned Burke on the task force to begin with, Amanda's boss Tom Vogler.]]
* InfernalRetaliation: [[spoiler:In the climax, Burke kicks the Sandman into a furnace. The fight initially seems to be over, but the Sandman then jumps out in flames, still trying to kill him.]]
* ImplacableMan: The Sandman seems to be superhumanly durable. He is shot once, but keeps trying to kill Burke. Multiple gunshot wounds are just a temporary inconvenience. He even survives being set on fire.
* KarmicDeath: [[spoiler:The corrupt doctor who harvested the prisoners' organs is captured by the prisoners and implied to be killed by vivisection.]]
* MuggingTheMonster: In the opening, a couple of gangbangers try to rob the hero cop Louis Burke (Jean-Claude Van Damme). He hasn't got time for them, being in the neighborhood solely to avenge his dead partner by catching his killer, so he quickly dispatches them and gets on with his mission.
* OrganTheft: Corrupt prison officials in Death Warrant have prisoners killed to sell their organs for profit.
* PoliticallyIncorrectVillain: The Warden and the rest of his guards are blatantly racist. At one point he hunts down one of Burke's allies to kill him, claiming that he "can smell niggers".
* PrisonRape: When Burke first enters his own cell, his bunk mate threatens to rape him. The muscular Burke, unimpressed, quickly shows him who's boss by beating him up. [[EasilyForgiven They become buddies afterwards]].
* PrisonRiot: The Sandman releases all the prisoners to watch them sow mayhem and clash with the authorities.
* SerialKiller: The Sandman killed several people before he was tracked down and shot by Burke, including Burke's partner. In prison, he happily goes on another rampage.
* VillainCred: The Sandman is a renowned figure in the prison due to his love for killing cops. When he's first brought to the prison, the other cons give him a huge ovation.
* WardensAreEvil: The Warden agrees with corrupt state officials to kill his prisoners to harvest their organs. Unlike the mastermind behind this scheme, his own motive is just profit. He's also a [[PoliticallyIncorrectVillain violent racist]] and a sadistic bully.
* WellIntentionedExtremist: The mastermind behind the plot, [[spoiler:State Attorney Tom Vogler]], killed violent prisoners (whom he claims no one will miss anyway) because of the desperate shortage of organ transplants on the market. He also did it to [[spoiler:save his beloved wife.]]
* WelcomeToHell: During the climactic fight scene in the industrial sections of the prison, the psycho killer the Sandman is trouncing Burke in front of the spectating prisoners. He then opens one of the furnaces, and proudly declares "Welcome to HELL!"
* WouldHurtAChild: The Sandman is implied to have been a child murderer, with Burke finding a baby doll in his lair covered in blood.

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