Above the Law (1988)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Martial arts hero Steven Seagal developed, co-wrote, co-produced, choreographed, and debuted in this thrill ride -- a cop film with more attitude, and more plot, than its star had duties on the set. Seagal is Nico Toscani, an Italian immigrant, American patriot, ex-CIA agent, aikido specialist, and unorthodox Chicago policeman. He is as committed to his job as he is to his personalized brand of justice: expert and thorough bone-crushing. When the FBI orders his squad to ignore the mysterious … More

Rating: R (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre: Mystery & Suspense, Action & Adventure
Directed By: ,
Written By: Steven Pressfield, Ronald Shusett, Andrew Davis, Steven Seagal, John Eskow
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 29, 2007
Warner Home Video


as Nico Toscani

as Zagon

as Delores Jackson

as Sara Toscani

as Lukich

as Chi Chi

as Agent Neeley

as Nelson Fox

as Deputy Superintenden...

as Agent Halloran

as Uncle Branca

as Lt. Strozah

as TV Reporter

as CIA Bartender

as Rosa Toscani

as Detective Henderson

as Zagon's Aide

as Officer O'Hara

as Sanctuary Nun

as Father Tomasino

as Senator Harrison

as Watanabe

as Federal Clerk

as Grandma Zingaro

as Man in Bar

as Interpreter

as Cambodian Irregular

as Grocery Owner

as Branca's Bodyguard

as Hostess

as NEC Show Rep

as Street Dude

as Machete Man

as Man with Gun

as Machete Man's Buddy

as Refugee Woman

as Refugee Man

as Judge Alspaugh

as Wiseguy Hitman

as Aikido Fighter

as Aikido Fighter

as FBI Agent Neeley

as Father Joseph Gennar...

as Man in Bar

as Man in Bar

as Man in Bar

as Man in Bar

as CIA Interrogator

as CIA Interrogator

as CIA Interrogator

as Asian Prisoner

as Asian Prisoner

as Luigi
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Above the Law

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (6)

Woefully short on originality, intelligibility and anything resembling taste.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

It contains 50 percent more plot than it needs, but that allows it room to grow in areas not ordinarily covered in action thrillers.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Above the Law

sets the stage for what every other seagal film would be for me - entertaining and fun to watch, a guilty pleasure, although the same as every other film he has ever made in most regards. overall, i love this movie.

danny d

Super Reviewer


After watching it again, I realised that there was more to this film than a typical Seagal flick. For starters, its his first major hit and it also set the standard for the 90's cop thriller drama. Dont expect this to be an action movie, its a cold hard thriller with Seagal for the first time showing his red hot temper and devestating his opponents as he battles a shadowy CIA group dealing drugs and weapons from South America and into the US. Framed, harrassed and finally marked for assassination, Seagal plays Nico, a diamond hard cop and special ops veteran who crosses the path of his old enemies from Vietnam and the black group who believe themselves to be untouchable.

With a good cast and helmed by Andrew Davis (Under Seige and The Fugitive) it is a plot worth thinking about as you dont know how the pieces fit together until the latter part of the movie, so its not a typical dmub story, its got meaning and a moral, which is expressed through Seagal's script and narrative.

Very modern and slicker than your average movie, this one is worth watching, dont dismiss it as a cheap Seagal flick, its probably one of his best.

Khris N

Super Reviewer

Seagal's first starring role with a very impressive cast led by Blaxploitation-veteran Pam Grier as his long-suffering partner, Sharon Stone as his wife and Rat Pack hangaround Henry de Silva as the bad guy. A good movie and a sign of things to come for Aikido-legend Seagal - at least until he did Under Seige 2.

Derek Daniels

Super Reviewer

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