|Above the Law|
|Directed by||Andrew Davis|
|Produced by||Andrew Davis,
and Henry Silva
|Music by||David M. Frank|
|Editing by||Michael Brown|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Release date(s)||April 8, 1988|
|Running time||99 min.|
Above the Law (also known as Nico: Above The Law, or simply Nico) is a 1988 action film directed by Andrew Davis, probably best-known for being the film debut of Steven Seagal. This came about after a successful screen test, financed by Michael Ovitz, led to Seagal being offered a contract by Warner Bros. It was rated R by the MPAA.
Nico Toscani (Steven Seagal) is a cop in Chicago's vice squad. Born in Palermo, he and his family immigrated to Chicago when he was seven. It was also early on that he developed an interest in martial arts, and soon he moved to Japan. From there, in 1969, he was recruited into the CIA, and after a brief tour in Vietnam, he came back to Chicago to assume his current role.
Nico and his partner Jax (Pam Grier) are now investigating a drug ring, and after busting two of the dealers, he discovers plastic explosives. Shortly afterward, in a twist of events, everyone Nico arrested is suddenly let go, and Nico is asked to stand down, not to mention the fact that the priest of Nico's parish is killed in an explosion as a Mass is ending. Then, soon enough, Nico has police searching his house and is asked to turn in his badge. Nico eventually finds out the dealers he busted are linked to a corrupt CIA agent named Kurt Zagon (Henry Silva), who tried to fund an invasion of Nicaragua, and was under heat from Congress to reveal his undercover operations. When he finds out the priest's death was of Zagon's making, and with one particular senator who is trying to bring him down as his next target, Nico seeks to bring down Zagon and all involved with him at any cost. Nico eventually kills Zagon when he breaks his neck.
It generally got positive reviews. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times stated "it contains 50 percent more plot than it needs, but that allows it room to grow in areas not ordinarily covered in action thrillers". Rotten Tomatoes rates it at 62%, one of the few Seagal films with a fresh rating (60% or greater). However, Hal Hinson of the Washington Post criticized it as "woefully short on originality".
It grossed $18,869,631 in the U.S.