Folks like to remember the great opening gunfight in the Wild Bunch. I do, and I am fascinated by all-things – Peckinpah. But I think many of us forget the lost-in-time movie “Extreme Prejudice” with Nick Nolte playing a Texas Ranger. There’s a helleva real feeling shootout in it! Nolte spent time with the real Ranger Joaquin Jackson and in Jackson’s two book memoirs, and Nolte’s interviews, their time together was interesting. Their recollections made for great film backstories. They both say that Nolte’s time hangin’ out, shootin’ and talking impressed the young actor in many ways. Nolte even promised to send, pay-for Jackson’s son to go to college. Which he never did and Jackson’s son was later convicted of a murder! Jackson’s history became not one, but stretched out to two university-published books, bolstered by the legend of the Texas Rangers mystique. History tells us many bad stories about the Rangers, but the legend, the image has produced a nice new line of professional Rangers that are solid gold. The new folks WANT to be what the Rangers seemed-should be. This is a good thing.
“I could tell you stories” as the ol’ line goes. I know this because in my 23 years in Texas law enforcement, most of that time I spent as a detective and I’ve worked with several Rangers numerous times. Rangers are veteran state police dispersed throughout Texas in regions for a variety of chores. They are asked by county and city agencies to help at times or they kind of “shoulder” their way into big cases to be part of headlines. I have some of these Ranger stories in my Wolfpack Published “Kill or be Killed” book. The Jackson books are historically interesting to read, but you feel the second one is real stretch, and you must remember there are small-to-mid-sized-agency, police investigators throughout the USA that have had way more exciting careers than most Texas Rangers. It’s just…they are not Texas Rangers. (Several states have Rangers too, but Texas gets all the Ranger-love.)
Extreme Prejudice is a great action, flick with Nolte playing the stoic, silent type cowboy, mimicking Ranger J. Jackson. The bad guy – the late, great Powers Booth, is always a scene stealer. (Can’t forget Michael ironside.)
A side, mention must be made of the late, great Rip Torn, also part of this – one of the best shoot-outs in movie history. Rip Torn the person, roommate of Burt Reynolds, was a quite a brawler and character in real life. Co-stars and Burt recall Rip’s crazy life. In this movie, Rip, in his few minutes of screen time, really captures an old-school, Texas sheriff-investigator.
(and another side note, The best, true-ist, Texas Ranger-ish, movie I’ve seen is John Fusco’s “Highwaymen,” available on Netflix.)
Stetson’s off and here’s to Extreme Prejudice! A CLASSIC 1980s action flick.