Extreme Prejudice Review
Best friends, eh? The movies have never shown much regard for those who declare themselves the best of friends. Invariably, whilst this means that eventually said best friend will sleep with his mate's wife, move into his home, steal all his money, take custody of his children and take possession of all he owns. Of course, compared to what local drug kingpin Cash Bailey does to his one time best friend, Jack Benteen, sleeping with his wife would be the least of his troubles.
Extreme Prejudice opens with Benteen (Nolte) working as a Texas Ranger and uncovering a drugs operation in the state in which he works. Knowing that this cartel is run by his old friend Cash Bailey (Boothe) makes working north of the border between the US and Mexico, where Cash is holed up, all the more difficult. When Cash's drugs operation causes the death of a local sheriff, Hank Pearson (Torn), Benteen takes ever more extreme measures to bring down his old friend, even to becoming involved in a drugs bust run by Maj. Paul Hackett (Ironside), who leads a CIA-funded paramilitary group to take down Cash's operation. Whilst such a thing would be complicated at the most opportune of moments, it is made ever more difficult when Benteen's partner and Cash's former lover, Sarita (Alonso), gets tired of life with a Texas Ranger and heads south to hook up with Cash once again.
Walter Hill first demonstrated his skills in picking apart the male psyche in such films as The Driver and Southern Comfort but with Extreme Prejudice, he leaves all that behind in favour of a rum tale of friendship gone wrong. From Cain and Abel to this and even to Bruce Springsteen's Highway Patrolman, at heart, Extreme Prejudice is little more than the age old story of two brothers/friends who go separate ways, one on the side of law and order, one not. There is, providing the story is told well, little wrong in going back to such a traditional tale and Extreme Prejudice is hugely enjoyable, told with such high levels of testosterone that it's a wonder Nolte, Torn and Boothe don't slip on it but each of them, particularly Torn, has so much fun it's hard not to be drawn in to it, particularly during the first hour when Nolte and Boothe stomp around the Texan and Mexican sides of the border, respectively.
Your opinion on the second half of the film, however, will depend on your opinion of Michael Ironside. Those of you who think he has done little but the same frustratingly blank hard-man role throughout his career will despair at his entrance but for the rest of us, it means that the film is about to get a lot more exciting. And so it proves, as Ironside takes his CIA-funded paramilitary group south of the border to finally put an end to the problem of having Cash Bailey continuing his drugs operation. Of course, as with almost every role he's ever played, Ironside is not what he first seems and so the films winds down to an enjoyable if thoroughly predictable conclusion.
Extreme Prejudice has been anamorphically transferred in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and looks fine if unspectacular. Whilst there is a gritty look to the film, this appears to be as a result of the original cinematography rather than the transfer.
The film has been transferred with a 2.0 Stereo soundtrack and, whilst lacking a little presence, is fine. Obviously the shoot out at the end of the film suffers in comparison to a film with a 5.1 soundtrack but, otherwise, Extreme Prejudice is a fairly talky crime drama and the film doesn't suffer at all from having a stereo soundtrack.
Extreme Prejudice has been issued as part of a budget range from Momentum and whilst there isn't a commentary from Walter Hill, the DVD does include the following extras:
Theatrical Trailer (2m13s, 1.85:1 Anamorphic, 2.0 Stereo): As you'd expect, this is little more than a series of highlights and as it begins with Michael Ironside, this was clearly designed to attract the straight-to-video crowd.
Teaser (1m01s, 1.85:1 Anamorphic, 2.0 Stereo): This is amongst the best extras I've yet seen as Michael Ironside's black ops unit pose in all manner of ill-fitting military clobber showing precious little knowledge other than knowing which end of the gun points away from them. It's fantastically and unintentionally hilarious and if you've ever seen Rambo spoofs in which stringy white guys don bandanas and chains of bullets, then you won't be far off imagining the minute of action included here, particularly as they're last seen reflected in Nolte's mirrored aviator shades. How do you say, "the eighties?"
Making Of (6m53s, 1.33:1. 2.0 Stereo): This features interviews with the main cast, summarises the action and shows a little behind-the-scenes footage.
Whilst it appears to be no more than a straight-to-video action movie that might well have propped up ITV's nighttime schedules during the nineties, Extreme Prejudice is thoroughly entertaining stuff. Of course, little of it is to be taken seriously, particularly during the scenes set in Cash Bailey's compound in Mexico but for those of you who have fond memories of Cannon's output during Golan and Globus' heyday, Extreme Prejudice will be just the movie to get back to 1987.
Last updated: 19/04/2018 13:39:50