Picks and Pans Review: Extreme Prejudice

updated 05/11/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/11/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

If you're in the mood for a cartoonish shoot-'em-up, with touches of Mission Impossible and The Wild Bunch, you could do worse than this film. It's a variation on those '30s films with James Cagney and Pat O'Brien as boyhood friends now on opposite sides of the law. Nick Nolte, a Texas Ranger in a border town, has grown up so pure-hearted he wears his white hat even when sitting behind his desk. Powers Boothe, a drug dealer operating out of Mexico, is so mean he crushes scorpions in his bare hand for fun. A third side in this triangle of violence is provided by a high-tech government commando unit. They're going after Boothe by robbing a bank in Nolte's town where the drug money is laundered. When director Walter (48 HRS.) Hill sticks with gunplay, he keeps the momentum going. The dialogue is another matter. The ramrod-straight Nolte has to say such things as "He's polluting this town with drugs and turning it into a sewer." Maria Conchita (Moscow on the Hudson) Alonso, as a cantina singer in love with both Nolte and Boothe, actually mutters "crazy gringo" at Nolte. Boothe acts his way out of a lot of lost lines. He even generates a smile when, just before the big gun battle, he says to Nolte, "Let's get this over with. It's almost 4 o'clock." Hill draws blood only in the literal sense of gory violence. There is no issue here. But for a movie that isn't really about anything, Extreme Prejudice keeps the screen occupied reasonably well. (R)

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