Towards the end of 2009, the old Video Recordings Act (VRA) was found to have a loophole in it, meaning that it was not enforceable in UK courts as it was originally intended to be. As a result, at least for a short while, the UK censors the BBFC could not legally enforce the need for submitting film companies to have their film classified by them. Thereafter, a handful of discs released during this time were released with unofficial BBFC ratings, having never been formally classified. This is one of them.
"Above the Law" (to use its proper title) was uncut in UK cinemas in 1988 but all subsequent UK home video/DVD releases have been censored. The bar fight at the beginning of the film was missing a couple of heavy blows, along with some some drug use and the final fight was missing a nasty arm break. The UK Blu-ray restores all this footage, whilst cheekily sporting an 18 rating. The BBFC, to date, have not passed this uncut version with an 18 rating (although under their new 2009 guidelines they would). One can assume this is mastered from the US Blu-ray, as not only is it Region Free but it also features on screen it's original title, "Above the Law".
Of course, there is a chance that this is a mishap on behalf of the distributor, Warner Bros., as they have formally submitted uncut version of "Eraser" and "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" and had them passed by the BBFC. Whatever the reason, I recommend that Seagal fans wanting to see the film in it's uncut glory purchase it now, before it is pulled from the shelves and replaced with a cut version.
(On a similar note, the UK Blu-ray of "Spider-Man 2" is alleged to be uncut too, having being sourced from an international master. The good thing about the Blu-ray specs being the same worldwide is that things like accidental uncut releases will likely happen from time to time!)
As for the film, it's a solid first film for Steven Seagal. He plays the lead role with assured confidence and has a remarkable screen prescence. The story is engaging enough but the plot ends up being a little too convoluted. However the fight scenes are terrific and Andrew Davis' direction is solid. It's not as thrilling as "Under Siege" but it's a great debut feature for Seagal.
3 stars, plus an extra 1 for being uncut :)