Sunday, May 11, 2008

ABOVE THE LAW: 4.0 out of 5 stars

Segal uncorks the film world and takes it for the very first time!, March 10, 2008

This was a hugely significant moment in film history. Above the Law was the first ever film of the now legendary Steven Segal. Yeah, this was his first film, but the man looked like he was in the zone from the first second of the film when we see him in his karate getup with two of the most ferocious sideburns to ever grace the big screen. To set the scene, the movie was made in 1988, and it was set in Chicago. And to top it all off, Segal's name in the film was Nico Toscani. So, basically, this film stared Segal, a few other people we know, and about 35 Bernie Kosar look-alikes with black curly A.C. Slater mullets and all.

One of the people we knew was the infamous Sharon Stone. She was about 4 years away from her breakout role in Basic Instinct here, and clearly fell into the category of Not Ready For Prime-Time. She was far from hot. Actually, she looked "a little chubby." (direct quote from an honorary Sid the Elf member for part of the movie) They even had her play the wet blanket wife in this one. Another person we knew was Segal's buddy from Vietnam who later became the CIA guy. It was the guy who played Eddie Harris in Major League and the bum that tried to run Coach Norman Dale out of Hickory in Hoosiers. This guy's got it. When he was having his terribly acted argument with Segal, Sid was waiting for him to break character and say, "Are you saying Jesus Christ can't hit a curve ball?" But it never happened.

That's one of the reasons we, Sid the Elf, could only give Above the Law 4 stars. Don't misunderstand, this is a terrific action B. But, it just was missing something. Sid's theory is that the lack of the Segal ponytail, double chin, and big gut made this one feel different. So, Segal was skinny and ponytailless but he did have what appeared to be the beginning stages of the Myers hair we all saw in Urban Justice. Also, Segal didn't have the role of goomba rouge cop perfected yet. This was the only role he played in his early movies, so he had enough practice to get it down by the time he nailed it perfectly in Out for Justice. While Nico was not as tough as Gino Felino, he was still man enough to take on the main villan who was played by Henry Silva wearing a Chevy Chase mask. One other thing, Segal DID kick a multitude of butt in Above the Law, but there was a serious lack of explosions. You don't get 5 stars as an action flick with no explosions. Not gonna happen.

Finally, like any good B Above the law was floating along and ended abruptly. It also had a few "wait, what's going on here?" moments and enough physically impossible things happening to make it certified B. Like when Segal was hanging onto the roof of the car going like 30 mph while choking the guy in the passenger seat. Sid loved that. It pushed the film into the upper echelon of action B and enabled us, Sid the Elf, to give Above the Law our Watchability Seal of Approval.
Click here for movie trailer:

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