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They don't make em like this anymore, Walter Hill knows how to stage an
"in your face" gun fight, and this movie has truckloads of that. I cant
imagine women finding much in this film to entertain them, its a bloke
thing through and through.
The film has an engaging story, heist movies are always great, but its conceit of moving the western into the modern era is what really stands this apart. Its got some of the all time great tough guys in it, Michael Ironside , Clancy Brown , William Forsythe etc, and they are obviously having a blast.
If you like the cinematic equivalent of a punch in the face, then this ones for you, its blokes doing what blokes do best, growling macho one liners at each other and trying to blow each other out of their socks. Cracking stuff !
Jack Benteen is a hard-edged Texas ranger, Cash is his boyhood friend who
now lives across the border and works as a major drug smuggler bringing
crime into Texas. The conflict between the two men is complicated further
when a group of soldiers registered as killed in action arrive in the area
and begin to involve themselves in the existing drug war.
This is a good Walter Hill film that has plenty of good old fashioned western style action. The plot seems a little strange for most of the film because you're not quite sure where it's going. At the start you assume that the main focus of the film will be the relationship between Power Booth's Cash and Nolte's Benteen, but after 15 minutes the focus shifts onto the arrival of the army unit and stays split between them and Nolte. Because you're not sure what the unit is doing in this situation it keeps your interest throughout. However this means that Boothe is sidelined for most of the film which is a shame.
Both Boothe and Nolte are good, with Nolte doing his usual tough guy stuff. However the real pleasure comes from the depth of famous faces in the supporting cast. Maria Conchita Alonso is in a thankless role as the girlfriend torn between Cash and Benteen, Rip Torn is the local sheriff while the army unit includes many now well-known faces of Michael Ironside, Clancy Brown, William Forsythe and a small role for the always recognisable Tom "Tiny" Lister Jr.
The action is good throughout despite being a little flat and without any great style. The "wild bunch" style ending is exciting if a little unlikely and is typical of Walter Hill.
Overall a good modern day western with a strong cast, good plot and good action. It's nothing out of the ordinary but it's still entertaining decades after it was made.
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
locale. Those are the best films out there and EXTREME PREJUDICE into
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
48 Hrs and Brewster's Millions. He is quite versatile in his genres and
his propensity to switch his duties on a film. He directs, writes,
and even executive produces. And in all of that, I believe this is his
film. Aliens is a great film but that has to be more attributed to
because he directed it. But this was Walter's from the beginning. And
we have here is typical Walter Hill brilliance. It is testosterone laden,
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?
Walter Hill and John Milius tackle the modern day Western in 'Extreme Prejudice'. A fast moving, Drugs Across the Border film that requires some attention to detail. With Nick Nolte delivering the goods as a strong, silent, second generation Texas Ranger opposite an equally powerful Powers Booth as a well connected, possibly undercover Kingpin who had grown up with Nolte... Enter a team of Black Ops GIs led by Michael Ironside and the always underrated Clancy Brown. Stir in the odd bank heist. Great Lines. Lies on top of lies. Lots of guns. William Forsythe as a totally dedicated borderline psycho. Rip Torn as Nolte's shoot from the hip Mentor. Even more guns. And a final Shoot 'Em Up to rival 'The Wild Bunch'. Put it all together, and you have a memorable, cast driven classic 'Guy Flick'!
You know the movie. Drugs across the Southwest border, blasted Texan
landscapes, sweaty faces, gas stations in the middle of nowhere, money
exchanging hands and gone missing somewhere along the way, maybe a bank
robbery. It's that distinctly American type of crime movie given
character by the beautiful western setting, a modern update of sheriffs
and Mexican outlaws and doublecrossing between old friends now on
opposite sides of the law that goes as far back as Boetticher's films,
done with a focus on high-octane no-holds-barred action cut straight
from Sam Peckinpah's school of blood squibs and slow-mo gunfights.
The story isn't half-bad but Walter Hill has always been an action nut first and foremost and John Milius was never Cormac McCarthy, so you'll forgive Extreme Prejudice for not quite being No Country for Old Men. It's still a good movie, not very surprising truth be told, with some nice dialogue exchanges along the way, a crabby Rip Torn as the old sheriff mentor and Nick Nolte looking mean and badass for most of the film, and if it's let down in the acting department every now and then when some emoting is required, that's because both Michael Ironside and Powers Boothe playing the villains were never the greatest of actors.
The low 6.2 rating the movie has as of this posting tells me the movie has suffered at the hands of sleepy viewers catching it randomly on late night TV in crappy pan-and-scan versions or indifferent video club patrons renting it on VHS. A niche audience comprising of fans of action movies and 70's gritnik crime cinema, the kind of genre Walter Hill has proudly inhabited in the 70's with films like The Driver, watching a good quality widescreen copy like I saw, will have much different things to say.
I acutally remember seeing the trailer to this film when I was a teenager
and couldnt wait. I have always been a fan of Walter Hill's work,
especially Streets of Fire, the Warriors, and Southern
I see most people tend to think this is a Wild Bunch wannabe but in actuallity it is more of a "elite team of superheroes kills the bad guy movie". Its more akin to Buckaroo Banzai than the Wild Bunch. (Maybe because Clancy Brown was the same character in both movies) The book was fantastic and I dont see many similarities to Sam Peckinpah other than he and Walter Hill must be brothers.
In this case, the "superheroes" are soldiers and the main hero is a bad-ass sheriff who's best friend is the main heavy. Sounds like any comic book I ever read.
What makes this film so good is Powers Boothe and the elite team of heroes, who are essentially bad guys in there own right. Powers Boothe coming hot off his bad-ass Colonel role in Red Dawn (also Milius) is awesome. His attitude is ripe for this movie and he and Michael Ironside, hot off of "V", is equally bad-ass, play off each other. It is nice to Nolte in his prime as a hero (versus a drug addict).
I highly recommend this movie for any junkie who wants to see a
One of Walter Hill's many overlooked and undervalued films, Extreme
Prejudice is a modern day western, set squarely on the US/Mexican
For an action film, it's unusually structured, with two separate strands vying for prominence. On the one hand we have Texas Ranger Jack Benteen (Nick Nolte, looking particularly sharp), versus childhood friend, now drug lord Cash Bailey (Powers Boothe), battling over both the drug trade and Sarita Cisneros (Maria Conchita Alonso), a Mexican singer who loves them both. But what is a supposedly deceased US army unit doing in town? These guys are on a mission, and while they might not like their orders, they'll carry them out to the best of their ability. But what their mission is, they or us are never to sure of.
The film is filled with to the brim with fine character actors, chewing up and spitting out the tough-guy dialogue with relish. Everyone is on fine form though Rip Torn, as Benteen's predecessor and Clancy Brown, as the unit's second-in-command are of particular note.
Well worth a look if you ever get the chance.
I can't say anything that already hasn't been said; Extreme Prejudice
is a great movie with a great cast, and criminally underrated.
It definitely has a 1980's modern western feel in the vein of Lone Wolf McQuade, but solid writing and the lean direction by Walter Hill make this film about much better than the unintentionally comical Chuck Norris flick. Extreme Prejudice is old school action and it is raw and powerful from the start until the end, and there is some great dialog throughout the whole movie too...although probably only 'great' to those with a more conservative- libertarian bent, but what would you expect from the pen of veteran action ideologue John Milius.
The acting is all class, and every character you remember and has depth; always a sign of a worthwhile movie. Nick Nolte plays the straight edge but likable Texas Ranger, Powers Boothe is the archetypal self-aware 'bad guy', and once again my man Michael Ironside steals every scene he is in, and is the perfect foil. Rip Torn is the funny Sheriff, and Reagan era hottie Maria Conchita Alonso even has a topless scene.
This is a quintessential film for fans of either action movies, westerns, or 1980's nostalgia. The movie was produced by Carolco, which always meant that the action was going to be good and elaborate, and this film is no exception. The Peckinpah inspired final shootout is bloody and epic and really sticks out in an era like today where soft PG-13 action by guys like Will Smith or Nicholas Cage have forgotten that realistic firearms violence can add so much more to a story than CG.
And now let me ask...WHEN IS THE REGION 1 WIDESCREEN DVD VERSION GOING TO BE RELEASED? It is a crime to have to watch this first rate classic in Pan & Scan, especially when so many awful titles from the 1980's have gotten the widescreen treatment. Somebody start a petition already.
Walter Hill is one of the most underrated directors, and this is his most underrated movie. A masterpiece, not just of action but dialogue, great character actors. When I first saw this movie, I hated it. Absolutely thought it was the most boring thing I've ever seen. But I wasn't watching it, I was on CQ (you military people will know what that is) and was getting up every five minutes to sign people in. Later on I put the movie in again, and actually sat down and watched it, and listened to it, and it just opened up for me. The dialogue makes this movie, it has lines in it that I feel, that have become part of me. It is really a beautifully written movie, beautifully directed, and littered with some of the finest character actors since RESERVOIR DOGS. Nick Nolte delivering one of his finest performances, in a career littered with great performances. My favorite modern day western! "Hell, you can buy me Cash, you always could. But you can't buy the badge, and one without the other ain't no damn good!" Highly recommended.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"The only thing worse than a politician is a child molester." - Sheriff
Pearson (Extreme Prejudice)
Directed by Walter Hill, "Extreme Prejudice" stars Nick Nolte as Jack Benteen, a Texas Ranger who works the Mexican border. Benteen's biggest problem is Cash Bailey, a powerful crime lord who lives over in Mexico and who is responsible for a number of crimes on Jack's side of the border.
Hill's script was written by John Milius ("Apocalypse Now", "Red Dawn"), so of course things quickly get political. A large portion of their film revolves around a "mission impossible" styled subplot in which a group of off-the-grid soldiers plot to take Cash out themselves. One of the great things about the script is the way Milius juggles both story arcs, and then merges them during the film's grand finale. In an age of cookie-cutter action plots, its nice to find a genre film that keeps us gripped; an hour into the film and we still don't quite know what's going on, or how things tie together.
But most of all, "Extreme Prejudice" is director Walter Hill's love letter to Sam Peckinpah. The film plays like a combination of "Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia" and "The Wild Bunch", Hill serving up brutal gun fights, strained romances, slow motion squib-operas and the kind of sweltering Mexican heat that Peckinpah's best films ooze. This is a film filled with men weathered and beaten by the Texan sun, haunted by an inability to get things right and willing to lay their lives down on matters of principle.
Incidentally, the character of Cash Bailey is based on Orson Welles' corrupt lawn man in "Touch of Evil". "Touch of Evil" was itself set on the Mexican border, and featured a similar cast of sweaty gringos and snarling Mexicans.
7.9/10 - Hill's early films were visceral genre pictures several inches ahead of the curve. His later films, however, concede to, rather than challenge, the conventions of action cinema. This film is a bit different, though. Skip its poor first act and ignore Milius' stupid politics (the whole film is right winger's extra-judicial, "pop an immigrant" fantasy) and you have an atmospheric rift on Peckinpah's "Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia" combined with the apocalyptic ending of "The Wild Bunch".
Worth one viewing.
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