HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Last Warrior, The
Artemis 81
Rampage
Quiet Place, A
Braven
Changeover, The
Isle of Dogs
Funny Cow
Maze Runner: The Death Cure
Mad to Be Normal
Beast of Burden
Dead Men Walk
Game Night
Under the Tree
L'Amant Double
Gonin
Coco
Producers, The
Molly's Game
Forest of the Lost Souls, The
Hatchet III
Birdman of Alcatraz
Pacific Rim: Uprising
Wonderstruck
If It Ain't Stiff, It Ain't Worth a Fuck
Nun, The
Red Sparrow
My Friend Dahmer
Journeyman
Heat, The
   
 
Newest Articles
The Ultimate Trip: The Original Psychedelic Movies
Players of Games: Willy Wonka, Tron and Ready Player One
What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round? The Ends of The Monkees
Flings and Arrows: Conquest vs Flesh + Blood
Orson Around: F for Fake and The Late Great Planet Earth
ITC What You Did There: Retro-Action on Blu-ray
And It Was the Dirtiest Harry We Have Seen in a Very Long Time: The Dirty Harry Series
Manor On Movies: The Astounding She Monster
Manor On Movies: Don't be a dolt. That's not a cult (movie)
Wes Anderson's Big Daddies: Steve Zissou and Others
Bad Taste from Outer Space: Galaxy of Terror and Xtro
A Yen for the 1990s: Iron Monkey and Satan Returns
Hey, Punk: Jubilee and Rock 'n' Roll High School
Help! with The Knack: Richard Lester in 1965
Roll Up, Get Yer Free Cinema: The Shorts on the BFI Woodfall Blu-rays
   
 
  Above the Law Steve Vs The C.I.A.Buy this film here.
Year: 1988
Director: Andrew Davis
Stars: Steven Seagal, Pam Grier, Henry Silva, Ron Dean, Daniel Faraldo, Sharon Stone, Miguel Nino, Nicholas Kosenko, Joe Greco, Chelcie Ross, Gregory Alan Williams, Jack Wallace, Metta Davis, Joseph F. Kosala, Ronnie Barron, Thalmus Rasulala, Michael Rooker
Genre: Action, Thriller
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Chicago cop Nico Toscani (Steven Seagal) has an interesting past, having visited Japan as a young man and learned to be a black belt in aikido there. As he was doing that, he attracted the attention of the C.I.A. which recruited him for their own ends, largely to assist in the fighting of the Vietnam War which was raging at the time, something he felt it was his patriotic duty to do. However, one night the amount of torture he was being ordered to carry out began to truly sicken him, and his superior, Kurt Zagon (Henry Silva) was the worst of all his commanders in his eyes so he quit. But they would meet again...

Here's where the movie career started for Steven Seagal, a mysterious figure mainly through his own storytelling, which at the time offered him some cachet among action fans as all that stuff in the introduction about having been a C.I.A. operative and being an expert in martial arts was precisely what he claimed about his own background. There were a few sceptical eyebrows raised when he made these allegations, but it did appear to be true that Seagal had the conspiratorial mindset which saw the spies destabilising whatever countries and societies they could if it meant the United States won in this battle of oneupmanship.

Therefore Seagal appealed to the kind of person who liked to believe all that stuff that went on in the action thrillers of the day could well have been the God's honest truth, something which eventually divided opinion into those who kept the star's movie career going by buying anything with his name on - and keeping his music career going, too, for that matter - and those to whom he looked to be something of a self-important target of fun. Certainly when Above the Law was released he was intriguing a lot of moviegoers unsure quite what to make of him, which raised his profile to the extent that you can "blame" the success of this effort on the fact that he was still a star well into the twenty-first century.

The plot of this one, co-written by Seagal, did get bogged down in the paranoid parapolitics, but director Andrew Davis, who also had a hand in the script, made sure to keep the gunfire and fisticuffs flowing so that you could easily watch the entire thing and not feel troubled by the way Steve seemed to want to lecture you, indeed many were not enlightened at all by Above the Law and simply viewed it as one of those production line shoot 'em ups. Stop me if you've heard this one before: Vietnam veteran, now a maverick cop, trying to divide time between family and duty, going it alone to track down drugs traffickers... you get the idea, it could be any he-man star in the role.

Yet Seagal was angling for a more distinctive presence even if his debut, and his follow-ups for that matter, fit the usual template of whatever action runarounds were fashionable at the time. Here we can tell Nico is on the side of right because he's protecting not only the entire community, but the entire Catholic Church to boot as the baddies set off a bomb during a mass. What this has to do with the C.I.A. is questionable, but apparently they are dedicated to sabotaging a new senator's campaign which would expose them for the double dealers that they are, which is all very well but more interesting than that was seeing Seagal's cop partner was Pam Grier, firing off guns again like the seventies were still with us. Also present was Sharon Stone in a nothing role as Nico's wife, but Silva at least brought relish to his by the numbers bad guy. Whether you felt enlightened by all of this was debatable, but it was average enough. Music by David M. Frank.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2092 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Robert Segedy
Darren Jones
  Asma Amal
  Chris Lawrence
Enoch Sneed
George White
Stately Wayne Manor
   

 

Last Updated: