Duel in the sun, or lust in the dust?
Walter Hill's 1987 homage to Sam Peckinpah
movies in general (and The Wild Bunch
in particular). Texas Ranger Jack Benteen (Nick Nolte) is struggling to stem the tide of illegal drugs in his Texas bordertown. Making his job even more difficult, his former childhood friend Cash Bailey (Powers Booth) is now a major drug kingpin, his girlfriend Sarita (Maria Conchita Alonso) still has feelings for Bailey, and a Hey, It's That Guy!
dream team of black ops commandos
, Clancy Brown
, William Forsythe, to name but a few) keep getting underfoot.
This film provides examples of:
- Agony of the Feet: With extreme prejudice. During an ambush, Jack (who is trapped under his truck) takes out a mook by shooting his toes off.
- Avengers Assemble: The film opens with the commandos meeting each other at the El Paso airport.
- Anachronism Stew: "Here we are, space-age, high-tech, and we get taken down by a stone age cowboy. Texas Ranger no less."
- Bandito: Pretty much all the Mooks once the action shifts South of the Border.
- Bank Robbery: The commandos stage one as a cover to retrieve records of Cash's drug business. It does not go exactly as planned. Replete with Black Dude Dies First.
- Big Bad: Cash.
- Boom, Headshot: Cash executing an underling who was skimming from the till.
- Border Crossing: Jack and the commandos, after Cash does likewise with Sarita in tow.
- Bottomless Magazines: Subverted with a few scenes of characters (mostly Jack) reloading.
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Subverted — both protagonists wear white hats, perhaps as a sign they're Not So Different. Furthermore the ranger wears a black uniform, while the drug kingpin wears a white suit.
- Deadpan Snarker: Rip Torn as Sheriff Hank Pearson.
Hank: You ain't just gonna walk in there, are ya'?
Jack: Oh, hell, I've known Chub since the third grade. You were just telling me what a nice kid he used to be. I'm just gonna go in there and have a beer with him.
Hank: Shit, sounds reasonable. Just sit down, talk to him about how you shot his brother night before last.
- Death Faked for You: The commandos are all officially listed as "killed in action", "missing in action" or killed in accidents with their bodies unrecognizable.
- Duel to the Death/Duels Decide Everything: Jack and Cash stage a pistol duel to see who gets to go home with Sarita. Basically a Murder the Hypotenuse With Extreme Prejudice.
- For Want of a Nail: The bank robbery fails because the man who was supposed to kill the drug money courier took a short cut and got bogged down in sand.
- Gatling Good
- Gorn: What part of "Sam Peckinpah/WILD BUNCH tribute" did you not get?
- Guns Akimbo: Sgt. Atwater, in the climactic shootout.
- Highly Conspicuous Uniform: Jack's all-black garb. In Texas. During the summer.
- Killed Off for Real/Kill 'em All: Pretty much anyone not named Jack or Sarita. The commandos get a Really Dead Montage for good measure.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Jack.
- Made of Explodium: A tanker truck and barn get blown up real good, as distractions for...a bank robbery.
- Meet the New Boss: Invoked when The Dragon is told, "You get to wear the white suit." We then see him stripping the hat off Cash's corpse and trying it on, snarling at his mooks when they get too close.
- More Dakka
- Mugging the Monster: The drug soldiers who try to steal Hackett's car.
- Ms. Fanservice/Shower Scene: Sarita.
- Neck Snap: How Major Hackett takes out a drug dealer.
- New Old West
- No Animals Were Harmed: Averted with, yes, extreme prejudice. Cash handles, then crushes, a real scorpion. Also, Sgt. Atwater may or may not have skewered a real rat... Played straight with the Made of Explodium sub-entry.
- Redneck: Buck Atwater. Subverted in that the actor playing him (William Forsythe) was born and raised in Brooklyn.
- Shoot Everything That Moves
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Hackett delivers one after getting caught double-crossing the team:
Iíve served our country for twenty years. Done every dirty job ever asked of me. Iíve been places and done things I just donít think people should have to do. There are no heros, Larry. You and me, weíre just numbers on a bureaucratís desk...You stupid asshole, when are you going to wake up and take a look around you? They donít care. Another couple of missions and youíll be just like me!
- Title Drop: Doubles as a Deadly Euphemism.
- You're Insane!: Sarita's response to her paramours fighting a duel over her.