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Marked for Death

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Title: Marked for Death  
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Subject: Michael Grais, Dwight H. Little, Danielle Harris, Steven Seagal, Julius R. Nasso
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Marked for Death

Marked for Death
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Dwight H. Little
Produced by
Written by
  • Michael Grais
  • Mark Victor[1]
Music by James Newton Howard
Cinematography Ric Waite
Edited by O. Nicholas Brown
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • October 5, 1990 (1990-10-05)
Running time
93 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $12 million[2]
Box office $58 million

Marked for Death is a 1990 American action film directed by Dwight H. Little. The film stars Steven Seagal as John Hatcher, a former DEA troubleshooter. Upon moving back to his home town, before Hatcher finds it taken over by a gang of vicious Jamaican drug dealers. The gang is led by Screwface using a combination of fear and Obeah, a Jamaican syncretic religion of West African and Caribbean origin similar to Haitian vodou and Santería as practiced in Cuba.

This was the first time Seagal worked with 20th Century Fox (which would not release another film featuring him until his appearance in The Onion Movie), and was the only Seagal vehicle from a studio other than Warner Bros. until the 1998 direct-to-video The Patriot.


  • Plot 1
  • Cast 2
  • Reception 3
    • Critical reaction 3.1
    • Box office 3.2
  • Soundtrack 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Chicago DEA agent John Hatcher returns from Colombia, where drug dealers killed his partner Chico. As a result of Chico's death and years of dead end work, John retires and heads to his family's home in suburban Chicago. John and his army buddy Max reunite and celebrate at a bar. A gunfight breaks out between local drug dealers and a Jamaican gang called the Jamaican Posse, whose leader is a drug kingpin known as Screwface. John arrests one of Screwface's henchmen as the gunfight ends. The next day, Screwface shoots up the house where John, his sister Melissa, and Melissa's 12-year-old daughter Tracey live. Tracey is hospitalized in critical condition.

John encounters a gangster whom he is forced to kill. John is able to sit down a Jamaican named Nesta, but Nesta tells him to go after Screwface alone and jumps out the window to his death. The next day, John discovers a strange symbol engraved on a carpet, and with the help of Jamaican voodoo and gang expert Leslie, a detective for the Chicago Police Department, he learns that it is an African blood symbol used to mark their crimes.

John comes out of retirement to join Max in a battle against Screwface. John gets a phone call from Melissa, which is cut short when Screwface and his men invade the Hatcher household, but they leave upon his arrival. The next day, John and Max kill three of Screwface's henchmen after a car chase. During a meeting with Leslie, John realizes that the only way to stop the Jamaican Posse is to bring down Screwface. That evening, Screwface ambushes John under the guise of a construction crew; John escapes and survives after Screwface plants a molotov cocktail in his car.

The two team up with Charles, a Jamaican Chicago police officer who has been trailing Screwface for five years. They acquire weaponry from a local weapons dealer, and, after testing the arsenal, they head for Kingston, Jamaica to find Screwface. Upon arrival, Max and Charles ask people in the streets information about Screwface's and his hideout. They meet a Jamaican local who gives them a photo of a woman who is acquainted with Screwface. John meets her in a nightclub, and she describes hanging out with Screwface and his hideout. The woman also informs John of a cryptic clue: the secret of Screwface's power is that he has two heads and four eyes.

John, Max, and Charles (disguised as members of the Posse) head for Screwface's mansion, where there is a party in progress. Secretly infiltrating the premises through a nearby plantation, John guns down three henchmen on the balcony, then plants a bomb at a nearby power station. He infiltrates the inner grounds by climbing across roofs while Max and Charles keep a lookout. Hatcher detonates the bomb, causing the party to erupt in violence and gunfire. John enters the building and disposes of many henchmen. He finds a sacrificial area but is captured by Screwface and his remaining henchmen. John breaks free and kills every henchman before killing Screwface in a sword fight.

Upon returning in Chicago, John displays Screwface's severed head to the Jamaican Posse to get them to end their crimes and leave. However, Screwface's identical twin brother, who runs the Chicago Posse crime business, arrives and kills Charles, causing the gang to think that Screwface has returned from the dead. At this point, it is revealed that Screwface's twin was the real perpetrator of all Posse crimes in Chicago. The meeting erupts in chaos, and the gang members open fire on the duo. During the gunfight, Max holds off the henchmen while John kills more gang members before killing Screwface's twin brother in a sword fight. With both the Screwface brothers dead, the remaining Posse members are presumed to be arrested by law enforcement at the end.

The final scene shows John carrying Charles' body with Max, shot in the leg, limping next to him before ending with Jimmy Cliff's song "John Crow" being played in the credits.



Critical reaction

The film had a mixed reception.[3] Both The New York Times and Washington Post gave it average reviews, writing that it was a fairly standard Seagal action film.[4][5]

Box office

Marked For Death earned a little more than $43 million domestically and $58 million worldwide.[6][7][8]


A soundtrack containing hip hop, reggae, and R&B music was released on September 27, 1990 by Delicious Vinyl.


  1. ^ Fox, David J. (1990-10-16). "Fighting Words : Movie: The writers of 'Marked for Death' and Steven Seagal are still feuding over script credit.".  
  2. ^ Rohter, Larry (1990-10-23). "COMPANY NEWS; Small Budget, Small Star, Big Hit".  
  3. ^ "Marked for Death".  
  4. ^ Janet Maslin, Marked for Death (1990), The New York Times, October 6, 1990, Accessed January 13, 2011.
  5. ^ Richard Harrington, ‘Marked for Death’, Washington Post, October , 1990, Accessed January 13, 2011.
  6. ^ Broeske, Pat H. (1990-10-15). "Seagal's Martial Arts Film Still Has a Punch".  
  7. ^ "Steven Seagal Wants His Oscar".  
  8. ^ Broeske, Pat H. (1990-10-22). "Seagal Keeps 'Death' Hold on Box Office".  

External links

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