Above The Law (1988) – Steven Seagal

Not a bad attempt for Steven Seagal’s first movie, but it lacks some of the uncompromising vibe that his later movies had, such as The Glimmer Man. In filming Above The Law, Seagal seemed more willing to do whatever he were told to do even if it didn’t suit his style that was yet to fully come out.

This was his first real role in a movie, although he did previously assist some movie stars with their martial arts training about 5 years earlier – initially The Challenge (1982) and then Never Say Never Again (1983) where he was training Sean Connery and ended up breaking Sean’s wrist. No wonder he disappeared for 5 years before coming back into the movie industry. Still, he came back with a bang – Above The Law is a respectable movie, it gets a bit slow & dry at times but it still had a good bit of action and we see a good amount of the Steven Seagal we’ve come to know & love. Seagal’s performance was decent here, but a bit more compromising & awkward, like a normal actor, compared to his later movies where he seemed to be calling the shots more and his style was more naturally suited to him without bits that don’t match that vibe.

Supporting cast members include a young Sharon Stone who plays the role of Seagal’s wife! She looks a bit more ‘real’ here – a bit chunkier and less ‘made up’, but still a smart & attractive lead female that Seagal must have been honoured to have in his first movie, although it’s equally possible he didn’t think much of it, since Sharon Stone didn’t become very famous until the 90s. In fact her most famous performance (due to controversy) was Basic Instinct in 1992, the same year as Seagal’s biggest movie, when he did Under Siege in 1992. Some would say Sharon Stone’s breakout movie was Total Recall in 1990 with Arnie. Either way, she was a relatively small player at the time of Above The Law in 1988, but she puts plenty of effort into this minor role – if anything, she’s over-dramatic.

Pam Grier also does a decent job as the lead female in this movie – she plays Seagal’s partner police officer.

The Glimmer Man (1996) – Steven Seagal

A fun concept with some good action and good humour although it does get slow at times. It’s a decent movie if you haven’t seen it in a while. Steven Seagal is in his element here as a wildcard former agent of undisclosed calibre, turned Buddhist monk, now working as Lieutenant Jack Cole, helping the police track down a killer who has made things personal. Seagal’s real life personality and fantasies come out in this movie. Supporting cast are decent, including Seagal’s sidekick Detective Jim Campbell played by Keenan Ivory Wayans, and Seagal’s hotshot adversary Donald Cunningham played by John Murice Jackson.

The movie lacks a significant female role and could do with a bit more of a busy script, but overall it’s a fairly enjoyable movie if you’ve not seen it in many years.