Above the law, in some countries released as Nico, God knows why, marks as the career launch of an actionstar called Steven Seagal. This movie was written by him and director Andrew Davis who would later go on to direct Seagal’s biggest film “Under Siege”. Here Seagal plays the feminine named Nicola Toscani, a cop with a past connected to the CIA and with mob-relatives, who uncovers a plot to kill a senator by the CIA. It’s up to Nico and a few people around him to take down these corrupt government officials.
This movie is pretentious as it has more plot and sidelines than the basic 80’s action movie. They probably wanted to launch Seagal’s career more seriously as all other 80’s action icons were playing in simple movies of which the entire script could fit on a Post-it memo. That might sound negative, but that is the way that they should’ve gone with this movie. The film isn’t bad, on the contrary, it is one of Steven’s better films especially when compared to his DTV-outings nowadays. After this movie became successful enough to grant Steven a career he would go on to star in movies with more standard plots in which he basically plays the same role over and over again. That is not bad as he hasn’t got the acting-range to pull a different type of character off.
What makes this movie also fun to watch is the casting; you get to see a pre-Basic Instinct Sharon Stone, post-Foxy Brown Pam Grier and watch out for Michael Rooker who has one line. Sharon, plays Seagal’s wife and get nothing to do but look worried and give Seagal an extra edge as his family is in danger. You see that a lot in the early Seagal films; him having a family, something that changed with Under Siege.
The action is good, but not great. Seagal gets to fight a few times and those are fun bits but most of it’s gunplay. The fights he has aren’t as elaborate as in future movies. Not so much broken bones in this one! But then again it’s a start. Before this film we were all used to karatekicks by Chuck Norris and rising-star Jean Claude Van Damme or the plain brutality of Stallone and Schwarzenegger. His moves are different and we like him for that.
If you like oldschool action movies I can suggest this one, if you have anything against Seagal I would advise you to stay away unless you wanted to be confronted with this root of all evil then.