- Complete Monster: Kurt Zagon is a corrupt CIA operative with a history of torture behind him. Introduced torturing two prisoners— one to death—who ran afoul of Zagon's opium dealings, and later established to have forced children to watch as he mutilated their mothers before torturing the children himself, Zagon plots to fund an invasion of Nicaragua to bolster his drug profits. To silence witnesses to his scheme, Zagon has an occupied church bombed and tortures a priest who spoke out against him, and plans to assassinate a senator who tried to detain him prior. Before carrying out the assassination, Zagon cheerfully tortures hero Nico Toscani for no other reason than the fun of it, as he admits.
- Cult Classic: As an authentic 80s action movie and one of those Steven Seagal films that are unequivocally considered good.
- Germans Love David Hasselhoff: This film was so popular in Russia in the 90s, that for a long time almost every film with Steven Seagal was called there by Niko 1, Niko 2, etc.
- He Really Can Act: While hardly Oscar material, it's still surprising to compare this movie to Steven Seagal's later work. He actually shows range and emotion for one thing. The superior script (compared to what was to come at least) deserves a nod as well.
- And, in a shocking turn compared to his later Invincible Hero persona, there's a fight scene where Seagal actually gets punched by a Mook and the torture scene at the climax leaves Nico hurt badly enough that he makes the Heroic Second Wind look believable (doubly so because he has to go to the hospital afterwards).
- Hilarious in Hindsight: As we can see, Seagal is already has appreciable bald patches by the time of filming this film, which makes the current suspicions about the existence of his wig even more obvious.
- Memetic Molester: For unexplained reasons, almost every scene with Zagon looks like he is trying to sexually insult any of his opponents.
YMMV / Above the Law