Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Above The Law |
With BBQ Book
Actors: Gene Barge, Ronnie Barron, Anthony Cannata, Lee de Broux, Ron Dean
Genres: Action & Adventure, Drama
Steven Seagal's film debut features him as a Chicago cop battling corruption with martial arts.
The First and the Best...
Steve M. Johnson | Laguna Hills, CA USA | 01/22/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I remember first watching this movie on VHS back in the late 80's. I had first started taking martial arts, and some guys in my class had seen the film and said it was a "must rent." I took their advice and was astonished.
Nobody had shown anything like that on film since the days of Bruce Lee. Seagal was a hard core "street smart" style of Aikido that blew myself, and many other viewers away. This is the film that eventually made Steven Seagal the biggest star since Stallone and Schwartzenegger.
Wrapped around the movie was an intriguing story, a good supporting cast (including Pam Grier and Sharon Stone) and good direction by Andrew Davis (who would direct Seagal in his one other decent movie "Under Siege" and would go on to direct "The Fugitive").
The story is about Nico Toscani, a martial arts expert who is hired by the CIA and serves in Vietnam. While working on what he believes is a routine drug deal, instead of finding illegal narcotics, he finds a shipload of explosives. The perpetrators are mysteriously released by the federal government, which upsets the Toscani, who has a reputation for being a hot-headed rogue. His refusal to give up on the case leads him down the path of what turns out to be a very large conspiracy.
Yes the plot is somewhat of a cliche, but Seagal is slim, confident, and sharp in this film. He looks every bit the part, and he plays the role in a very natural manner that works for this type of movie. The action is top-notch and the supporting characters help fill in the plot and make the movie enjoyable to watch.
I consider this and Under Siege to be Seagal's two best movies in terms of action and plot. If you enjoy martial arts, or just action movies in general, I don't think you'll be disappointed with Above The Law."
First and (easily) Best Seagal Movie
baylor | Minneapolis, MN USA | 08/21/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Once upon a time, an ex-CIA martial arts master quit the CIA and wrote a movie with a new plot but a character that seemed a lot like the writerSteven Seagal is best known for his action movies, in particular the parts where he does his hand to hand thing. In his case, he's an aikido expert, and that's hard to explain. Most martial arts movies talk about Kung Fu and Tae Kwan Do where people punch and kick and you can generally tell what's going on. Aikido, on the other hand, is about redirecting an opponent, making him basically want to fall down. In the movie, it looks a lot like a bad guy rushes as Seagal, he touches them with his little finger and then they decide to throw themselves in the air in ways you thought were impossible. The moves take, oh, about two seconds to perform, with Seagal's part being only about 2 microseconds. If you want to watch Seagal in classic aikido action, be prepared to pause, slow motion and rewind. It's amazing looking and absolutley bizzare (since being marveled by the movie, i have gone out and studied aikido, and it seems even more impressive, although realistic, now)The movie's about an ex-CIA officer turned Chicago cop (and, in my opinion, an extremely unlikeable one; that macho Italian family man thing to me just looks like a dull-witted bully control freak). He runs into some old CIA friends from 'nam who are doing naughty thingsThis movie has a plot, and a darn good one at that. It's a very, very interesting movie, much unlike, say, all the big budget movies he did after this one. While his later movies are bad jokes, new age mantras and B-movies, this one is really, really good. There are only a realistic number of fight scenes (gosh, i wish there were more, but that would have changed it from a drama to an action film, which this really isn't), but they are wonderfulBottom line, this movie is awesome. i don't know if Seagal wrote and directed the later films he did (he was close to a one man production company on this one), but i wish he'd turn down those big budget formula films he's been doing and go back to doing the realistic, semi-autobiographical films like this one. He's mostly considered a joke now, but when this movie came out, when he was Seagal the writer and not Seagal the action hero, he was revered, and for good reason"
This and the 1st. Under Seige are the Most Horrible Blu-Ray
MICHAEL J. CARPENTER | 08/22/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"Stick with the standard DVD. The Blu-Ray has much more grain on it than the standard DVD. It's a great movie, but the worst excuse for a Blu-Ray I've ever seen."
C. Bickford | Round Lake Beach, IL USA | 11/12/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Personally, I find that the first three minutes of the movie are the absolute best. It's a brief view of Mr. Seagal running an Aikido class and demonstrating technique. Since he is wearing a hakama, his footwork is hard to follow (which is the purpose), and the motions are extreme, but it is interesting to watch. I'd even be willing to bet that the freestyle sparring is neither choreographed or the blows pulled. For that bit alone, the movie is worth purchasing.There are a few problems that might cause the purist to cringe. The goal of Aikido is to execute technique with a minimum of movement, and it is not intended to be as agressive as it is in this movie.Nevertheless, this is a very good movie. Enough plot to fill the space between the fight scenes, and the fight scenes are very well executed. As has been pointed out, you realy need to watch the scenes in slow motion to appreciate them, but that's half the fun.Steven Seagal tends to try much too hard, and there are moments where it's just a bit cheesy, but you can't have everything.This is a must view for someone who appreciates the "art" in martial arts (the technique is amazing!), and is probably pretty decent (though a bit slow) for the action movie fan."