Jul 21, 2006

Bad movies I love part 11

The stereotype of men keeping friends for what seems like forever while women change buddies as often as Britney Spears switches religions is somewhat based on fact. Usually if I have a disagreement with my friends it ends over a pitcher of beer and a quick apologies on both ends. Women sometimes seem to harbor deep resentment for being hurt by their pals, but at times they'll still remain in contact with them.

That being said nothing can tear apart the strong bond between men as a woman. They can be the large chasm of any friendship and most men sadly never reconcile. I've witnessed this on a few occasions, but thankfully I've never had to end a friendship over a girl.

Extreme Prejudice explores the relationships between two overly macho men. Nick Nolte plays the Gary Cooperesque anti-hero and quite well. He's a tall, strong, masculine Texas Ranger who patrols the border in a futile attempt to stop the drug trade.

Powers Boothe plays Nolte's once childhood friend who's now a drug kingpin living in Mexico making a great living smuggling cocaine over Nolte's territory. Boothe plays the character well with his trademark creepy voice.

With movies like this there is always a complicated love triangle. Nolte is shacked up with Maria Conchita Alonso, Boothe's former girlfriend. Immediately the viewer needs no explanation of the backstory, but it's given anyways. Boothe was the guy who was hurt in the relationship and as movies of this nature would have it he goes off the deep end pursuing a life of crime. You didn't need me to type that out for you did you?

Nolte feels some empathy for hurting his former best friend and never engages him directly. Of course the plot has to move along so someone has to throw a wrench in this dysfunctional smooth running machine.

Maria becomes tired of the safe existence that Nolte has provided and chases a more exciting life with Boothe. She becomes a willing hostage that Boothe uses to ensnare his former friend into keeping out of his activities. Nolte and Boothe of course step up their little feud and we're lead to a moment of truth scene where the two fight for the hand of their fair maiden.

While this is all happening CIA operatives fall upon the small Texas town and fail at a bank robbery. After the mess they left the group go after Boothe's drug empire which leads to a massive gun battle.

The script is dated and you've seen this plot before in other, sometimes better, movies. The story is somewhat disjointed, especially with the confusing subplot involving the CIA which really didn't need to be in the film. It feels like a studio executive decided to write them in at the last minute just so a huge gun battle will ensue. The action sequence can get ridiculous at times like when a muscle bound guard, former pro-wrestler Zeus, gets shot numerous times only to act like the bullets didn't hurt him.

Given all the film's faults the acting is superb and the story, which can sometimes feel too familiar, is one that resonated with me. I'm intrigued by the characters even though they are cut straight out of old westerns.

"What makes the film good are Hill's style and the acting. Everything is cranked up about 10 degrees. Nolte is quiet and tough, Boothe gives a great performance as a slimy drug merchant with some residual charm and Alonso was born for her role as the passionate senorita trapped between two men who will kill for her." - Roger Ebert

Extreme Prejudice trailer which is horribly misleading.

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