Above the Law (1988) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Action
Warner Brothers || R - 99 minutes - $28.99 || April 7, 2009
Reviewer: Tyler Thomas || Posted On: 2009-05-03


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Andrew Davis
Writer(s): Andrew Davis & Steven Seagal (story), Steven Pressfield & Ronald Shusett & Andrew Davis
Cast: Steven Seagal, Pam Grier, Henry Silva, Sharon Stone


Theatrical Release Date: April 8, 1988


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Theatrical Trailer


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1), Castilian (Dolby Digital 5.1), German (Dolby Digital 5.1), Italian (Dolby Digital 1.0), Latin (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Swedish

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.::THE FILM::.

For the record, I am probably one of the biggest Seagal fans. Back when I was a kid I literally saw every one of his films in theater and bought it when it eventually came out on VHS a month later. Iíve always thought that he deserved more credit than he got in the movie realm, as though he disappeared pretty much from the scene after roughly the year 2000. His first film that brought him into the public eye, Above the Law, is a masterpiece. By masterpiece I mean itís him kicking the crap out of people and having these great one-liners after he does so. Hey, itís my kind of movie alright, let me have it.

To the many that probably havenít seen a Seagal movie, thereís no real point in describing who the characters are or anything of that nature, since they come and go and rarely do they get to do anything important to the story. Rather Iím going to talk about Seagalís character, his adventures, and the usual ďjeez I canít believe the bad guy of the movie was ________, that was supposed to be his best friend or co-worker or boss.Ē

Nico (Steven Seagal) is a cop who is doing a favor for a friend of his. Her daughter went missing, and itís up to Nico to find out just where she went. His partner Delores (Pam Grier) tags along but she is asked by Nico to stay in the car while he goes into some dive bar to find out more information about the missing girl. He politely asks the bartender if heís seen the girl before, to which the bartender replies with a smart-ass remark. This ticks off Nico, and you probably know what happens next: he proceeds to kick the living daylights out of ten people barehanded before the bartender reveals that the girl is upstairs with some guy. He runs upstairs and also kicks the crap out of the guy, and rescues the girl from the drug dealer. He fights with her a bit and returns her home to her mother, who is happy to see her back.

The charade he pulled, by charade I mean going into the bar and beating the tar out of several people in there without a warrant or just cause, has angered the police department as it makes them look bad when a cop enters a premise like that. Nico could care less, and continues to do his job. He tries turning in the bartender among other people for various crimes, but somehow they all get off without anything going on their record. Puzzled by this, Nico heads out to find the cause of this, and bring down one of the kingpins in the area who odds are has connections in the department: Kurt Zagon (Henry Silva).

Nico and Delores head out to the church in the area to talk to the priest about whatís going on in the area, when they see two mobsters leaving the church. The priest talks to them in private and shows them a hidden room below the church where refugeeís from a foreign country are being held. He lets them know they are there, but they are terrified of the police and wonít speak to Nico or anyone else for that matter. Nico attends church the next day, and the priest who was helping them is preparing to leave the church when the sermon is over when someone drops off a bag in the middle of his path. It turns out to be a bomb and kills the priest. Itís now up to Nico and Delores to find out the big deal with the refugees stored in the basement, and how it is that the police department is letting off criminals with no warnings at all.

Yes, this is the first in what would be many typical Seagal films with the same plot and the same ending. Thatís not a bad thing, as this is a decent movie despite its age. He has a few great lines in it, such as...

ďI donít think you can take us all, explicative,Ē says the Mobster.

He is then shot dead.

ďNo, but Iíll get an A for effort,Ē says Seagal.

Itís hilarious bits of dialogue like the one above that make me enjoy all of his films, since I know Iím only minutes away from the next great line. Please come back Seagal!



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

The only special feature available is the filmís theatrical trailer.

Iím still hunting for a film with a Seagal commentary on itÖ if anyone knows of one please e-mail me.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

The film was released in 1988 and trust me, it shows. There are huge amounts of grain, artifacts, and various other issues that are noticeable right off the bat. Black levels are also inconsistent, which hurts the film even more. Take into account that the color palette for the movie is also dry, flesh tones are weak, you get a film that isnít deserving of a high-def release unless this gets cleaned up majorly. This literally looks like a non-unconverted DVD issue, which pains me to say.

The audio doesnít fare any better, as surround use is minimal if not non-existent. Dialogue levels were inconsistent, and at times hard to make out. Thereís also an issue with the action scenes sounding duller than the acting that went on in the film, as almost all the noise came out of the front speakers and took away from the experience of the movie. How can you have an action flick and not have the sound be anywhere near negligible? I understand that itís an older movie, but there have been older films that have sounded great on Blu-Ray, but this one just misses the mark completely.



.::OVERALL::.

I love Above the Law, but this is poor quality for a Blu-ray release. There are absolutely zero special features available and the technical package is beyond dreadful. Itís sad to say, but this one is below my threshold for being worth a purchase, even to the die-hard Seagal fans like me. There are more out there, right?