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"Plenty of other reviews here give a synopsis of this story so I'll skip that part, and get to the "Oh how I love this movie" part.
I first saw this Walter Hill movie around '88, and only on VHS, and it has always been on my top 10 list. Back in the day's before Robert Rodriquez,and Q.T. And when those of us on the east coast had no access to Hong Kong Cinema, Walter Hill was a name action fans looked for, along with the better known names of stylized action, Sergio Leone, Sam Peckenpaugh,Richard Donner, and John McTiernen. All of these directors delivered lots of entertaining action,but for my money in the 80s Hill delivered big time with this modern day western.
Performances are strong and memorable. What scenery isnt destroyed by gun fire is chewed to pieces. Rip Torn, and Powers Booth create characters that are especially fun. Nick Nolte does a great job of playing a Texas Ranger, in a mythological kinda way.
The direction is sharp despite some minor plot holes, but of course the action sequences are steller.
Big question now is "How long must we wait for a good DVD version of this film?" Widescreen is a must."
Homage to Peckinpah?
Jeffrey Leach | Omaha, NE USA | 03/02/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Extreme Prejudice" is one of those special films that should have worked like gangbusters with the action thriller crowd. Thanks to director Walter Hill (the same guy who later did "48 Hours"), this ultra violent shoot 'em up picture boasts an amazing cast, over the top performances, stark atmosphere, high testosterone, and lots of firepower all wrapped up in a style that would make Sam Peckinpah cry with joy. With all of the positives going for it the film failed to draw great box office receipts. Why? Several reasons, actually. As great as the pieces of "Extreme Prejudice" are independently, director Hill failed to integrate the parts into the sort of seamless whole film critics appreciate. Some movies wildly succeed despite traveling down a road pitted with plot holes. Others manage to just squeak by despite their difficulties, and this is the case with Hill's film. It doesn't quite have what it takes to become a cult classic, can't totally overcome its numerous failings, but this movie survives because it accomplishes exactly what it set out to do, namely entertain its target audience.Texas Ranger Jack Benteen (Nick Nolte) is a cop's cop and a man's man. Working the beat down in on the Texas-Mexico border, Benteen regularly puts his man down when the time comes for killing. Often operating in tandem with feisty and foul-mouthed local sheriff Hank Pearson, Benteen's biggest problem in the heat blasted climes of Southern Texas is curbing narcotics trafficking. When he isn't out killing local boys gone bad Jack argues incessantly with his live in lover Sarita Cisneros (Maria Conchita Alonso), a woman who works as a singer at the local watering hole and who just happens to be the former girlfriend of ex-cop and now big time drug dealer Cash Bailey (Powers Boothe). Benteen and Bailey get along with each other despite their differences largely due to an unspoken agreement the two have about staying out of each other's way, but that's all about to change after Pearson dies in a violent shootout with some local drug dealers ostensibly working for Bailey's outfit. Now it's personal for Benteen (shouldn't it have been before?), and nothing will get in his way as he prepares to bring down Bailey once and for all.Then a problem materializes. The federal government, hoping to stem the flow of narcotics into the country, orchestrates a black operation composed of elite ex-military specialists and sends them into Benteen's stomping grounds to wipe out Cash Bailey. These guys are highly trained killers operating under such heavy secrecy that the feds faked the soldiers' deaths in order to protect their identities. Headed up by a thug named Paul Hackett--a man who has his own dirty little secrets--the team plans to rob a bank so they can steal Bailey's files. Perceiving Benteen as a potential problem, Hackett plays the part of a sympathetic DEA agent and feeds the Texas Ranger false information to keep him out of the picture until the operatives can finish the mission. Predictably, the robbery goes horribly awry, a couple of the team members end up in Benteen's jail, and out comes the dirty laundry. Jack teams up with Hackett's team as they head to Bailey's hideout in Mexico, still determined to do in Bailey and liberate the hapless Sarita while he's at it (You didn't think the girl would stay safely behind in Texas for the entire film, did you?). The conclusion is pure Peckinpah as the entire compound erupts into total gunfire riddled chaos.For all its flaws, I still like watching "Extreme Prejudice" whenever I get the chance because the performances are so much fun. Nick Nolte is at his sweaty, scene chewing best as the relentless cop Jack Benteen. Rip Torn plays Sheriff Hank Pearson so over the top that he is a wonder to watch. Maria Conchita Alonso serves mainly as eye candy in her scenes, and Powers Boothe doesn't start rocking and rolling until the end of the film. The real show stealers here is Hackett's gang. Check out the actors involved in these roles: Michael Ironsides, William Forsythe, Clancy Brown, Matt Mulhern, Larry B.Scott, and Dan Tullis Jr. all play critical parts. If you aren't familiar with low budget cinema, you might not recognize these names or faces, but the rest of us who follow these types of movies know this list represents a goldmine of talent. If you've ever wondered how these guys would work together in a single film, "Extreme Prejudice" is your movie. Heck, even Tom "Tiny" Lister turns up here in a small role as one of Bailey's main henchmen. About the only guy missing from the roster is Randall "Tex" Cobb. Throw these actors into a plot loaded with gunfire, the heat blasted plains of Texas and Mexico, and a script that isn't afraid to punch up the testosterone laden dialogue to unheard of levels, and you have the makings for an entertaining couple of hours.Sadly, plot holes abound. I still cannot figure out how Benteen could run a computer check on two of Hackett's men and discover that they are supposedly dead. Wouldn't the government cover its tracks with loads of high tech wizardry to prevent some backwoods cop from finding out who these guys are? Moreover, some of the scenes in the film are laughably ridiculous. For example, Bailey blows some guy's head off because of a drug dispute, and then promptly cozies up to Sarita as though nothing happened. In what universe would a woman readily accept with open arms a man who just committed a grisly murder IN FRONT OF HER just seconds before? Only a guy could write such nonsense into a script and think it would work. Give "Extreme Prejudice" a look if you like movies like "Roadhouse." If not, skip it."
IT BLOWS - NOT THE MOVIE, THE DVD!
BOB | LOS ANGELES, CA | 09/08/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)
This disc is terrible. It is a pan&scan transfer, and the picture is soft and blurry. It is one of the worst DVD's I have ever seen.
The last laserdisc version of this film was letterboxed, so why this travesty was produced, who knows? Obviously, someone didn't want to spend the money to do it right.
Don't waste your money to buy this. Sign up for Netflix and rent it whenever you feel like watching it. Don't put your hard earned cash into studio coffers for garbage like this!"
It's a western set in the 80's... The 1980's!
Brad Torgersen | Seattle, WA, USA | 06/03/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Terrific performances from Nick Nolte, the underrated Powers Boothe, Michael Ironside, and Rip Torn. Also, memorable turn-ins from Clancy Brown (best known as the Kurgen from 'Highlander'), William Forsythe (best known as Eville from 'Raising Arizona', and Maria C. Alonso (best known as Amber from 'The Running Man').
Nolte plays a Texas Ranger out to settle a score with former friend and current enemy, Powers Boothe. Between them they play tug-o-war over Maria C. Alonso, with Rip Torn as Nolte's salty old mentor. Throw in Michael Ironside as an exiled Special Forces officer bent on taking over Boothe's Mexican drug empire, and you get one helluva modern western!
Having seen this tens of times, I never seem to tire of it. It really is a fun western, with a tall cowboy hero out to get the bad guy, win the heart of the girl, and make justice in a lawless land ruled by lawless people. One of my most favorite rolls that Nolte ever played, which is why I am sad that this film does not get more recognition.
Action fans will eat this up. People seeking a neo-western like "Dances With Wolves" will be horrified. Not for the faint of heart, nor those who dislike graphic violence, bloodshed, and lots of genuine Southern profanity."
DAVID L. WOOD | ROCKSPRINGS TEXAS USA. | 02/05/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"THIS IS ONE OF THE FEW 'NOLTE' FLICKS I CAN RECOMMEND. HE IS A GOOD ENOUGH ACTOR, BUT HE USUALLY PLAYS MENTALLY UNSTRUNG DRUNKS.
BUT IN THIS ONE WHICH IS STRICTLY ACTION FARE, HE PLAYS STRAIGHT AS AN OLD SCHOOL RANGER COMMITTED TO HIS CODE.
NOT FACT, BUT A LONG WAY FROM PURE FICTION LIKE T.V.S 'WALKER'
NOLTE IS JACK BENTEEN PITTED AGAINST HIS ONE TIME BUDDY CASH BAILEY (POWERS BOOTH) THE ACROSS THE RIVER DRUG LORD WHO IS POLLUTING THE RANGERS JURISDICTION WITH DRUGS AND KILLING FOLKS IN THE PROCESS.
BENTEEN GIVES HIS OLD COMPADRE 'HEADS UP' BUT THE GOON IS "IN TOO DEEP."
SOME FREE LANCE MILITARY SPOOKS GET IN THE THICK OF THINGS AND THE ACTION HEATS UP.
THERE ARE SOME VERY PECKINPAH TYPE BALLETIC SHOOTOUTS AND THE SCORE IS PACED RIGHT.
NOLTES FLAME, MARIA CONCHITA ALONSO IS PERPLEXED BY WHICH MAN SHE WANTS AND CHOOSES CASH SEEMINGLY IN AN EFFORT TO MAKE THE LAWMAN JEALOUS. THE PLAN WORKS AND THE RANGER CROSSES THE BORDER TO RECLAIM THE GIRL AND FINISH OFF HIS ONE TIME BUDDY TURNED BAD. LET THE SHOWDOWN BEGIN!
REAL LIFE RETIRED RANGER JAQUIN JACKSON WAS THE TECH ADVISOR ON THIS FLICK AND HIS REAL LIFE PERSONA WAS THE INSPIRATION
FOR NOLTES CHARACTER, RIGHT DOWN TO THE COLT COMBAT COMMANDER 1911 COCKED AND LOCKED WITH STAGHORN GRIPS.
THERE IS NOTHING DEEP ABOUT THIS FILM BUT IT WORKS WELL ON A BASIC LEVEL.
RIP TORNS COUNTY SHERIFF STEALS THE SHOW IN THIS ONE.
IT IS BASICLY A CONTEMPORARY SET WESTERN.
AS USUAL THE PROFANITY IS EXCESSIVE BUT OTHER THAN THAT ITS A PRETTY DECENT SHOW."