Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Film Review: EXTREME PREJUDICE (1987, Walter Hill)

Stars: 5 of 5.
Running Time: 104 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Written by John Milius, Fred Rexer, Deric Washburn, and Harry Kleiner. Starring Nick Nolte, Powers Boothe, Rip Torn, Michael Ironside (TOTAL RECALL, SCANNERS), William Forsythe (PATTY HEARST, THE ROCK), Clancy Brown (HIGHLANDER, LOST), Matt Mulhern (BILOXI BLUES), Larry B. Scott (THE KARATE KID, IRON EAGLE, the gay nerd in REVENGE OF THE NERDS), Dan Tullis Jr. (UNDER THE GUN, MARRIED WITH CHILDREN), Tiny Lister (BEVERLY HILLS COP II, 9 1/2 NINJAS), Mickey Jones (Bob Dylan's drummer), Maria Conchita Alonso.
Tag-lines: "An army of forgotten heroes, all officially dead. They live for combat. Now they've met the wrong man."
Best one-liner: "Música! and make it sweet, goddammit, or I'll shoot the band!"

Before you stick this thing in your player, I want you to mark out an 8 foot radius around your TV set. Then I want you to make sure there's nothing in that zone that you wouldn't mind having 40 gallons of testosterone poured over. EXTREME PREJUDICE has been proven to make wombs shrivel and has turned the frilliest of ladies quite husky; it makes men stumble, confused, into the street with a mysterious desire to chomp on cigars and arm wrestle. It's robust, potent, severe, and is completely safe when used as directed.

It's about men staring at men staring at men.

The ensemble cast possesses a dangerous volatility that borders on the atomic:

we got Powers Boothe crushing scorpions with his bare hands and calling people "shitheel,"

we got quasi-hick Bill Forsythe skewering rats on a hunting knife,

we got Michael Ironside correcting us in our misconception that the scariest face to ever wear a nylon stocking was Willem Dafoe's in WILD AT HEART,

Well, I guess this question's still up in the air.

we got Rip Torn as a drawlin' sheriff spoutin' aphorisms like "the only thing worse than a politician is a child molester,"

we got Clancy Brown as a man so stern that I think he's the original form in Plato's cave for "No Nonsense,"

and we got Nick Nolte as a Ranger whose tolerance for "bureaucratic fatasses fluffin' their duff" is- that's right- ZERO.

And the only woman of any note, Maria Conchita Alonso, is HOT. And I mean that quite literally: she's kept well-steamed, sweaty, and safely objectified for the duration via contrivances such as showers and non-air conditioned bars.

Everyone in this movie is sweaty.

She's one of those women who wants to "talk" with her man, Nolte. Talk?! Screw that. He doesn't even know what that means. Writer John Milius' reactionary political views are at first offensive, then charming, and finally just 'stand back and let the gringos kill each other.' Limbs are blown off, bombs are hidden in cute little rabbits, and the inspiration for BULLETPROOF has never been more apparent (adding more fuel to the Busey/Nolte fire). Kill 'em all, let God sort 'em out, and give this thing five stars.

-Sean Gill

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