Above the Law (1988)

Genres - Action, Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Action Thriller, Police Detective Film  |   Release Date - Apr 8, 1988 (USA)  |   Run Time - 99 min.  |   Countries - Hong Kong , United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Hollywood heavyweight Michael Ovitz hoped to prove that he could make anyone a star by arranging a meeting between Warner Bros. and his aikido instructor, Steven Seagal. In fact, at 6'4", with a sixth degree black belt and an ego to match, the reasonably handsome Seagal already easily possessed the makings of a bankable action hero. Above the Law is the first movie to result from the actor's contract to make martial arts films for Warner Bros., its success setting the tone for a decade of Seagal flicks. Playing Chicago cop Nico Toscani, Seagal begins his reign as the skilled vigilante -- a man with the competence and the arrogance to defy rules in order to abolish crime. This is the motivation for each quick and impressive fight scene, as the actor swiftly pummels his way through the city's injustice. Above the Law also begins to outline Seagal's political and moral agendas -- exploring Vietnam, drugs, immigration, corruption, and spirituality. Such a broad plot makes the action film even more superficial, but it also allows for a large supporting cast to complement its star. Veteran actors Pam Grier and Henry Silva, along with a younger Sharon Stone, provide support and chemistry for the neophyte Seagal -- letting his heroic persona shine without too many theatrical slip-ups.