6.0/10
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114 user 51 critic

Above the Law (1988)

Trailer
0:31 | Trailer
A former Special Operations Vietnam vet works as a Chicago cop, and uncovers C.I.A. wrongdoing.

Director:

Andrew Davis

Writers:

Andrew Davis (story), Steven Seagal (story) | 3 more credits »
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Steven Seagal ... Nico Toscani
Pam Grier ... Delores 'Jacks' Jackson
Henry Silva ... Kurt Zagon
Ron Dean ... Detective Lukich
Daniel Faraldo ... Tony Salvano
Sharon Stone ... Sara Toscani
Miguel Nino Miguel Nino ... Chi Chi Ramon
Nicholas Kusenko Nicholas Kusenko ... FBI Agent Neeley
Joe Greco Joe Greco ... Father Joseph Gennaro (as Joe V. Greco)
Chelcie Ross ... Nelson Fox
Gregory Alan Williams ... FBI Agent Halloran (as Gregory Alan-Williams)
Jack Wallace ... Uncle Branca
Metta Davis Metta Davis ... Rosa Toscani
Joseph F. Kosala Joseph F. Kosala ... Lieutenant Strozah (as Joseph Kosala)
Ronnie Barron ... CIA Bartender
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Storyline

Nico learned martial arts in Japan, and was in Vietnam for the CIA, and now is a cop in the vice squad of Chicago. A junkie tells him about a big drug deal; However it turns out that the deal was about C4 explosives and that one of the parties was the CIA. Nico gets ordered to keep out of it, but can't imagine why the CIA would sell C4, so he investigates further. While risking his and his young family's life, he discovers that the CIA tries to cover it's connections to drug dealers in Middle America and wouldn't even stop from murder. Written by Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Pam Grier said this movie is one of her favorites because it shows off her acting skills. See more »

Goofs

When Nico hits in wall with Fox's car, the stunt driver is visible inside. See more »

Quotes

Special Agent Neeley FBI: Listen Toscani, I want to congratulate you. You just made number 4 on the most wanted list.
Nico Toscani: Number 4? I wanna be number 1.
See more »

Alternate Versions

German uncut DVD came out in 2006 with all violent scenes intact. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Clerks (1994) See more »

User Reviews

 
Seagal goes above the law in "Above the Law"
10 June 2006 | by dee.reidSee all my reviews

Before he was "out for justice" on the mean Brooklyn streets and "under siege" by terrorists on a U.S. Navy battleship, he was above the law. Yes, I'm talking about that quick-fisted, pony-tailed martial arts hero Steven Seagal and his 1988 starring debut "Above the Law."

Though his career hasn't panned out the way this debut promised, it is nonetheless a dynamic introduction to the mysterious world of Seagal, who plays Nico Toscani, a Chicago cop who as a child took up the Japanese martial art of Aikido and was some time later recruited by the CIA for covert operations in Vietnam.

After witnessing the cruel torture and executions of some Vietnamese hostages by ruthless CIA chemical interrogator Zagon (Henry Silva) and his cohorts, who also seem in on a secret drug running operation, he walks away from his career and retires to life as a cop on the streets of Chicago with wife Sara (Sharon Stone) and partner Jacks (Pam Grier). Things get dicey when two suspects collared in a recent drug bust are allowed to go free. The department silences concerns by announcing that the two men are part of a huge undercover investigation. But Nico doesn't buy it.

He suspects that something bigger is underway, and he's right. It isn't long before he stumbles onto a covert drug running operation right under his nose that involves his old CIA buddies, a local drug kingpin, some corrupt FBI officials and old nemesis Zagon, who is also involved in a political assassination plot. So Toscani, Jacks, and his Aikido fists of fury go to work on some really bad guys.

Directed by Andrew Davis and co-produced by Seagal (who also shares a story credit), "Above the Law" promises a mean and gritty portrait of law enforcement with the magnetic screen presence of the charismatic (if not necessarily wooden) Seagal in the lead. The picture opens with some black & white home movie footage of Toscani and accompanying narration, showing us this mysterious man's history. Seagal, who became the first American to open an Aikido dojo in Japan and at the time held a sixth-degree black belt in the art, was a world-renowned security expert before he started appearing in the movies and snapping necks, bending limbs, and using his opponents' own momentum and strength against them.

"Above the Law" does has some script problems, but it's balanced out by some rough & tumble action shoot-outs and nasty fights where Seagal throws his opponents into things and breaks and twists limbs 180 degrees in the opposite direction. But that is what his chosen sport Aikido does, as it employs joint locks, pins, and other methods meant to redirect and utilize an attacker's own strength and power against him. And Seagal does it perfectly.

Is "Above the Law" a sensational debut for Steven Seagal? Certainly, at least for his loyalists. As a casual fan, he has certainly made better movies since then and improved his "acting" skills but what will always dazzle us are the nifty arm-twists and breaks that prove he is a master of his Aikido craft.

8/10


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Release Date:

22 April 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Above the Law See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,037,938, 10 April 1988

Gross USA:

$18,869,631

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$18,869,631
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo (4 channels)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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