The big action hit from 1988 directed by Andrew Davis (‘Under Siege’, ‘Code of Silence’ with Chuck Norris) marks Seagal’s first ever motion picture appearance.
The sympathetic aikido master with a 6th degree black belt and an unforgettable ponytail also co-wrote and co-produced the famous flick.
Not only that, but Steven was also generous enough to choreograph all the aikido stunts in the movie which are truly impressive.
Undoubtedly, the film was a total hit back in the late 80’s, and even though it received mixed critic reviews, it grossed nearly $19 million in the American box-office.
Briefly speaking, the flick is a real gem in the funny action movie genre, encompassing all the ingredients of a good vintage action film.
It has beautiful chicks, a lot of old school action, a rough villain and a tough cop as the action hero.
Now, let’s explore the advantages of this awesome actioner in more detail.
Hold on, let’s go.
In order to have an idea about the storyline, I think that it is not bad to examine the tagline of the movie – He was a covert agent trained in Vietnam. He has a master 6th degree black belt in Aikido… and family in the Mafia. He’s a cop with an attitude.
Holy batman! An agent, some mafia, a cop trained in Vietnam- those are the words which epitomize a typical old school funny actioner.
It is so 80’s, so hilarious and so loveable!
If you still need a more in-depth description of the story, the plot revolves around the Chicago police detective and a former Vietnam vet Nico Toscani.
Nico is famous for his reckless investigation methods involving violence and sometimes the urge to break the law.
Oh, and he is a master in Aikido, trained in Japan. The dude is a no joke.
He and his partner Detective Delores ‘Jacks’ Jackson are tasked to investigate a drug cartel and eventually they find themselves in the center of a deadly game involving crime, violence, and corruption in the CIA headquarters.
In several words, the intricate plot reveals in a complicated way one important thing – everyone who dares to mess with Nico Toscani, no matter if he is a mobster, drug dealer or even a simple psychopath who blows churches, will die painfully with broken arms.
What more could an avid action fan want?
Steven Seagal plays the cop with an Italian descent Nico Toscani in one of his most remarkable roles up to this date.
Pam Grier (‘Jackie Brown’) is in the role of Nico’s sidekick Detective Delores Jackson.
The young at the time and always-gorgeous Sharon Stone plays Nico’s wife Sara Toscani.
She is sexy and I have to tell you that they make a lovely couple.
Henry Silva (“Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai”) is in the role of the villain, the notorious Vietnam vet, turned drug dealer Kurt Zagon.
Henry does a great job once again.
Unarguably he owes a huge part of the success of his villainous roles to his sinister, scary face.
Let’s head to the most important part of this review, shall we?
This is a Funny Action Movie because:
Be sure that as of today’s point of view, ‘Above the Law’ is a hilarious action flick entirely made in the spirit of the dumb actioners from the late 80’s that we all love so much.
Here we have the old-fashioned haircuts, outdated clothes, and retro cars.
The ‘wannabe’ intense disco music is also present as a soundtrack, as well as the unbelievably noisy punches and kicks that sound like explosions.
In a nutshell, after watching this movie you will know what clothes to wear and what car to choose if you have to attend a retro party entitled ‘I love the 80’s’.
Steven’s first performance is like the rest – he looks wooden and stiff except for the moments where he gets too emotional and shouts ‘Stop the fucking car!” or ‘shoot the motherfucker‘.
At the beginning of the film, his early life is introduced to the viewer when he is a quite innocently looking child.
Who would have known that he would break so many limbs and arms later in his life!
Later on, he is wearing a kimono, being already a proud owner of a master 6th degree in Aikido.
We see him standing proudly with his students in a dojo giving martial arts lessons.
One has to admit that Steven Seagal looks awesome in the role of the easy on the trigger cop Nico Toscani who doesn’t hesitate to hurt people when even the slightest opportunity exists.
For instance, Nico expresses his wild temper in one scene where he asks some people in a bar if they have seen his young female cousin.
When one of the shmugs dares to mock him by saying that he has seen her face only from above, Nico instantly uses his Aikido skills and manages to easily break the poor guy’s spine, limb, and arm, thus destroying the whole bar.
That is a pure example of a bad anger management.
The movie is full of ridiculous scenes, involving the crazy Nico on the top of a running car, trying to strangle his opponent while screaming to the driver ‘ Stop the fucking car!’ and ‘shoot the motherfucker’.
Yeah, better don’t let your kid watch this.
The villain Kurt Zagon looks like a villain from hundreds of miles.
Henry Silva’s easily recognizable face is enough.
We all know that he always plays the bad guy so enough with the puzzling who the villain is.
He can do nothing but show his creepy face and one immediately knows that he is the bad guy.
Again as in ‘Hard to Kill’ and as in almost every movie that he stars in, the tough Steven Seagal runs like a little girl does.
It is just ridiculous.
Ladies and gentlemen, ‘Above the Law’ has it all- the intense car chases, the spectacular martial arts sequences, the incredible shootings, and the funny one-liners.
It is a highly enjoyable Steven Seagal action roller coaster.
It misses one thing though – a sex scene with the lovely Sharon Stone who stoically stands her highly aggressive husband’s thirst for blood.
Some would say that such scene is very hard to make, because of Steven’s lack of emotions but at least it would have worth the try.
‘Above the Law’ is above average fun flick that delivers great action and some strong performances.
Ok, I’m not so sure about the last one.
If I were to teleport back in 1988 I’d say ‘Welcome to Hollywood Steven, it is the start of a promising and hilarious action hero career. Cheers!’
Is this among the finest Steven Seagal movies? Please don’t leave me alone here and leave me a comment below!