Extreme Prejudice (1987) Review

Director: Walter Hill

Genre(s): Action, Western

Runtime: 96 minutes

MPAA Rating: R

IMDb Page

Director Walter Hill’s Extreme Prejudice is an action movie in western film clothing. The story’s about two childhood friends who find themselves on opposite sides of the law and the border…one, Jack Benteen (Nick Nolte), is now a Texas Ranger, and the other, Cash Bailey (Powers Boothe), is a drug lord in Mexico. This is one of the best modern-day westerns and one of my favorite westerns, period.

This a macho man actioner, but the plot isn’t as tight as I wished it was. A huge chunk of the movie’s runtime is dedicated to a team of American commandos who are “officially dead” and working to help take down the drug cartels. Their story does intersect with that of Nick Nolte and Powers Boothe’s characters, but it almost feels like they could’ve been written out of the picture completely. Their stuff sure isn’t boring (Hell, it might be more interesting than the A-story), but these two parallel threads should’ve been better integrated.

The action scenes in Extreme Prejudice are outstanding. The best of the whole lot of them is the final hacienda shootout that was almost certainly inspired by The Wild Bunch (1969). Overall, the action isn’t as phenomenal as it is in that classic movie, but, to tell the truth, I’d rather watch Extreme Prejudice. The starry cast is worth bringing up and they all play well-defined characters.

This underseen action-western doesn’t quite live up to its potential, due to the fact that it seems to be telling two almost-separate stories. The script may have needed a bit more polishing. It doesn’t feel completely focused the way it is now. Still, I can sit back and watch the squibby action and the badass cast and have a great time.

My rating is 8 outta 10.

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