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Steven Seagal, the Auteur

With his first film, Above the Law, Steven Seagal fashioned himself as a bona fide auteur for martial arts. He was the writer. He was the producer. He was the fight choreographer. He was the star. He also had the savvy to give a starring role to blaxploitation sensation Pam Grier nearly a decade before Quentin Tarantino “rediscovered” her with his much more high profile Jackie Brown. (She’s yet to return the favor by getting him a bit part on The L Word.) Above the Law promised big things for Seagal, and for awhile he delivered with a series of action flicks that basically peaked with Under Seige in 1992. What followed that, however, were a number of less-than-memorable fight flicks that found the actor a source of increasing ridicule. (How many other filmmakers have been nominated for the Razzies nine times?) Let’s remember the good times. Above the Law is Seagal at his most promising…and perhaps his most handsome. The movie airs tonight December 12 at 8 p.m. EST and tomorrow at 5:45 p.m.

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