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Above the Law (1988)

Steven Seagal , Pam Grier , Andrew Davis  |  R |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Steven Seagal, Pam Grier, Henry Silva, Ron Dean, Daniel Faraldo
  • Directors: Andrew Davis
  • Writers: Steven Seagal, Andrew Davis, Ronald Shusett, Steven Pressfield
  • Producers: Andrew Davis, John G. Wilson, Robert H. Solo
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: January 28, 1998
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6304779089
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #156,791 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Above the Law" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Soundtrack remastered in Dolby Digital 5.1

Editorial Reviews

A Chicago cop gets suspicious when asked to hand in his badge, and soon discovers a ring of ex-CIA operatives trafficking drugs and a plot to assassinate a politician.
Genre: Feature Film-Action/Adventure
Rating: R
Release Date: 14-SEP-2004
Media Type: DVD

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
(94)
3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The First and the Best... January 21, 2005
Format:DVD
I remember first watching this movie on VHS back in the late 80's. I had first started taking martial arts, and some guys in my class had seen the film and said it was a "must rent." I took their advice and was astonished.

Nobody had shown anything like that on film since the days of Bruce Lee. Seagal was a hard core "street smart" style of Aikido that blew myself, and many other viewers away. This is the film that eventually made Steven Seagal the biggest star since Stallone and Schwartzenegger.

Wrapped around the movie was an intriguing story, a good supporting cast (including Pam Grier and Sharon Stone) and good direction by Andrew Davis (who would direct Seagal in his one other decent movie "Under Siege" and would go on to direct "The Fugitive").

The story is about Nico Toscani, a martial arts expert who is hired by the CIA and serves in Vietnam. While working on what he believes is a routine drug deal, instead of finding illegal narcotics, he finds a shipload of explosives. The perpetrators are mysteriously released by the federal government, which upsets the Toscani, who has a reputation for being a hot-headed rogue. His refusal to give up on the case leads him down the path of what turns out to be a very large conspiracy.

Yes the plot is somewhat of a cliche, but Seagal is slim, confident, and sharp in this film. He looks every bit the part, and he plays the role in a very natural manner that works for this type of movie. The action is top-notch and the supporting characters help fill in the plot and make the movie enjoyable to watch.

I consider this and Under Siege to be Seagal's two best movies in terms of action and plot. If you enjoy martial arts, or just action movies in general, I don't think you'll be disappointed with Above The Law.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First and (easily) Best Seagal Movie August 20, 2000
By baylor
Format:DVD
Once upon a time, an ex-CIA martial arts master quit the CIA and wrote a movie with a new plot but a character that seemed a lot like the writer
Steven Seagal is best known for his action movies, in particular the parts where he does his hand to hand thing. In his case, he's an aikido expert, and that's hard to explain. Most martial arts movies talk about Kung Fu and Tae Kwan Do where people punch and kick and you can generally tell what's going on. Aikido, on the other hand, is about redirecting an opponent, making him basically want to fall down. In the movie, it looks a lot like a bad guy rushes as Seagal, he touches them with his little finger and then they decide to throw themselves in the air in ways you thought were impossible. The moves take, oh, about two seconds to perform, with Seagal's part being only about 2 microseconds. If you want to watch Seagal in classic aikido action, be prepared to pause, slow motion and rewind. It's amazing looking and absolutley bizzare (since being marveled by the movie, i have gone out and studied aikido, and it seems even more impressive, although realistic, now)
The movie's about an ex-CIA officer turned Chicago cop (and, in my opinion, an extremely unlikeable one; that macho Italian family man thing to me just looks like a dull-witted bully control freak). He runs into some old CIA friends from 'nam who are doing naughty things
This movie has a plot, and a darn good one at that. It's a very, very interesting movie, much unlike, say, all the big budget movies he did after this one. While his later movies are bad jokes, new age mantras and B-movies, this one is really, really good.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling, best in it's genre... November 8, 2002
By nagappa
Format:DVD
This movie is among the the best and most thrilling of the post Harry Callihan, 1980's genre of cop movies. As Nico Toscani, a naturally macho yet morally upright and skilled cop (who is also ex-CIA and former Aikido instructor), Seagal is impressive and yet so refreshingly believable. The short martial arts action sequences are first rate - no drawn out Hong Kong formula stuff. The cafe jazz music score is memorable and rightly paced for the exciting car tailing sequences through downtown Chicago.
Nico Toscani's Sicilian background adds to the color of the drama. There are even hints of his family background being not too far removed from the wiseguys. I mentioned Nico being macho. I'd like to qualify this by saying that he's not devoid of charm and his role is less one-dimentional than one would expect. The tough-guy persona is just a facade for an individual with strong convictions and a democratic political outlook. Equally competent is Nico's partner, Delores Jackson, played candidly by the veteran Pam Grier. The main villain, the pure evil CIA doctor Zagon, is played by the veteran villain actor Henry Silva.
Don't expect any critics' choice awards for this movie, because the script does have its share of cliches. Seagal plays a cop who is on to something very big, defies higher authority and, as expected, is taken off the case - like in so many other cop movies of the genre. The outcome is predictable. You know that good is going to triumph over evil in this movie. Despite it's predictability, the plot is fresh and to a great extent realistic. Most importantly it's entertaining.
There are surprisingly bold political statements made in this movie about the dubious role played by the CIA in the affairs of many a third world country.
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