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When they were kids Texas Ranger Jack Benteen used to be best friends with drug kingpin Cash Bailey. At present, however, the only element linking them together is Jack's girlfriend Sarita, who used to be with Cash. She returns to Cash as a voluntary hostage to make certain that Jack keeps his hands off the drug lord's operation. On top of that, there is a meticulously planned drug bust, in which both Jack and Cash butt heads with CIA-funded paramilitary Maj. Paul Hackett, following his own agenda. Written by
Walter Hill later said "I don't think it was understood how much genre parodying was involved in that picture. It rather mystified a lot of American critics but it has its defenders." See more »
A microphone is visible in bar scene at the beginning (a few minutes from the start). See more »
Sheriff Hank Pearson:
You and damn Cash, huh? Christ! Look at him today, in that white suit and that Mexican he had dressed up like Pancho Villa's army. He's still damn play-acting like he was still a kid.
Well, it's gone past that, Hank.
Sheriff Hank Pearson:
Funny, ain't it, how it comes around. Right way's the hardest, wrong way's the easiest. Rule of nature, like water seeks the path of least resistance. So you get crooked rivers, crooked men.
I still like him. I'm still trying to count on my friend.
Sheriff Hank Pearson:
Smartest crooks always ...
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The only thing that scared the Hell out of me Cash, was myself
There are films that are great because of the plot. There are films that are great because of the star and sometimes you get a film that is great because of the star, the director, the supporting cast, the script and it's locale. Those are the best films out there and EXTREME PREJUDICE into that category. Walter Hill has long since been revered as a great director by Hollywood insiders and those that know his work. But if you are a casual fan of film, then you probably have no idea who is and what he has done. But just know this, the man has had a hand in films like all of the Aliens, 48 Hrs and Brewster's Millions. He is quite versatile in his genres and in his propensity to switch his duties on a film. He directs, writes, produces and even executive produces. And in all of that, I believe this is his best film. Aliens is a great film but that has to be more attributed to Cameron because he directed it. But this was Walter's from the beginning. And what we have here is typical Walter Hill brilliance. It is testosterone laden, a little sexist and filled with colourful characters.
Nick Nolte gives, what I think, is the best performance of his career. He was great in Prince of Tides but he is amazing here. He plays an incredibly stoic Texas Ranger whose job is plain and simple. Keep the peace and keep the drugs out of Texas. It is the latter that gives him a bit of trouble as his best childhood friend, Cash Bailey, played with complete evil smugness by Powers Boothe, is now a major drug influence on the Mexican side of the border. But stoicism, honour and duty win over comrarderie and memories of years past. This is the first part of the story.
The second part involves the love interest of both men. Her name is Cerita ( Maria Conchita Alonso ) and both men have loved her for a long time. The issue here is, does Cerita have enough love to stay with Jack and his average life or does she want to sacrifice love and go for wealth and power with Cash?
The third part of the film is the best part and it is the story that involves a covert military team of supposedly dead war heroes. Every one of the team, when put into the computer, shows up as dead. One died while difusing a bomb, the other in a helicopter crash and so on. This supporting cast is one of the great casting jobs and as another reviewer said, one of the best ensembles put together, including Reservoir Dogs. Clancy Brown plays Larry McRose, Michael Ironside plays Major Paul Hackett and William Forsythe plays Buck Atwater. Forsythe has the best performance in the film and this is a film that is rich with great performances. I think the only reason that he got overlooked in 1987 was because this was a litttle scene film and Carolco was still in it's infant stages as a studio. But if Mario Kassar or Andrew Vajna released this picture now it might get a better look and more respect, but that is a different story.
This covert team is apparently in Texas to get some documents that are in Cash Bailey's possession. But what they are really there for, no one knows, and that includes all of the team except for Hackett. So somehow, all three stories and all of the individuals are going to cross paths until you have the final gunfight. Now I am not an expert at gunfights nor have I seen every film out there that has great gunfights, but this has to be up there as one of the best. It goes on for about fifteen minutes and there are some really great shots of people dying and blood spraying and such.
Extreme Prejudice is a tour de force in direction and it is a great script. All of the actors give some of the best performances of their career and if you can give this film a chance ( it seems kind of slow at first ) you will be rewarded.
There are only a few reasons why you are reading this review. One of them is that you have seen the film and you want to see what other people think about it. Another is that you are checking out Nick Nolte's filmography and this is one the films you haven't seen or the same could be said for the other people involved in the film. I'm sure there are other reasons but if the reason I just mentioned is why you are here, then let me just tell you this.
Rent this film, please. You will be very surprised and if you like intriguing characters and a great script with one of the best gunfights in film, then this is one film that you should see. It is now 13 years old but it hasn't aged at all. I watch it about twice a year and I still get a kick out of it.
10 out of 10
A true hidden treasure. And with lines like " Hey as long as I got a face, you got a place to sit", and " Jack Benteen, Texas Ranger, big son of bitch ain't he?" and my favourite, " (Brown)Strange. (Ironside) What is? (Brown) Ordering the termination of an American civilian peace officer, clearly loyal to the country and in the process of bringing a known criminal to justice. (Ironside) But we're going to do our job, right Seargant? (Brown) Right MAJOR." how can you not be entertained?
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