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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 Boothe) is now a major drug kingpin, his girlfriend Sarita (Maria Conchita Alonso) still has feelings for Bailey, and a team of black ops commandos (Michael Ironside, Clancy Brown, William Forsythe, to name but a few) keep getting underfoot.


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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.
  • 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.
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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Homage: The film is basically Walter Hill's tribute to Sam Peckinpah, whom he had worked alongside with before making this film. More specifically, the film is one to Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch, especially in the final gunbattle.
  • Kill ’Em All: Pretty much anyone not named Jack or Sarita. The commandos get a Really Dead Montage for good measure.
  • Made of Explodium:
    • A tanker truck and barn get blown up real good, as distractions for...a bank robbery.
    • There's also a boobytrapped rabbit. No, it doesn't make sense in context, either.
  • 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.
  • Mohs Scale of Violence Hardness: It rates a 7, due to some splattering from the film's numerous blood squibs.
  • Mugging the Monster: The drug soldiers who try to steal Hackett's car.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Sarita especially due to her Shower Scene.
  • Neck Snap: How Major Hackett takes out a drug dealer.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: TriStar Pictures studio executives disliked the first version of theatrical trailer so they made their own. However, their version of the trailer made the movie look like it's ex-soldiers vs Texas Ranger type of movie, which it isn't. Jerry Goldsmith composed the music for original trailer but after it was rejected the track which he composed was not used. Instead the trailer which was released included two tracks from other movies; "Paul's Theme" by Giorgio Moroder from Cat People and "Evacuation" by Mike Oldfield from The Killing Fields.
  • New Old West: Used as the setting for an action movie. Emphasis is placed on how the Old West ways are being destroyed by the easy money available from the drug trade, and the violence that accompanies it.
  • 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. Pretty much everyone north of the Mexican border...
  • Shoot Everything That Moves: While preparing to attack Cash's base, Hackett gives orders to his men to Kill ’Em All including Jack. Fortunately they're not willing to do so.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Hackett delivers one after getting caught double-crossing the team:
    I’ve served our country for twenty years. Done every dirty job ever asked of me. I’ve been places and done things I just don’t think people should have to do. There are no heroes, Larry. You and me, we’re just numbers on a bureaucrat’s desk...You stupid asshole, when are you going to wake up and take a look around you? They don’t care. Another couple of missions and you’ll 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.
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