Trespass is a film that has a whole lot of talent behind and in front of the camera. Directed by Walter Hill, who brought us classics like The Warriors and Streets of Fire; written by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, the duo behind the Back to the Future franchise. The film stars Bill Paxton, William Sadler (Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight), Ice T and Ice Cube (arguably the last two are subjective on whether you think they have any talent or not as actors).
Everyone wants a piece of the action – and the treasure – as Bill Paxton (Twister) and William Sadler (Tales From The Crypt Presents: Demon Knight) take on a ruthless gang in this high-caliber thriller. In the rubble of a four-alarm blaze, Vince (Paxton) and Don (Sadler), two Arkansas firemen, discover a map leading to a fortune in stolen gold hidden in an abandoned East St. Louis tenement. What they don’t know is the building is headquarters to a vicious mob, led by the notorious King James (Ice T, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) and Savon (Ice Cube, Friday, Ride Along). When the firefighters accidentally witness the mob executing some of their enemies, the trespassers become the gang’s next target in this pulse-pounding thrillfest.
Originally titled The Looters, Trespass’ story is very much in the vein of other siege/greed type of films like Assault on Prescient 13 and most notably the 1948 movie The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Depending on how you look at the movie, one might be inclined to think that the film is a bit stereotypical in its portrayal of races, with the cliché all African Americans are gangsters and all white guys are dumb, southern hicks. There definitely is that sort of vibe in the movie, but of course, this was 1992 we are talking about, so back then, it pretty much was the norm for Hollywood films to typecast, so we pretty much just got to accept it.
The plot for Trespass follows two firefighters, Vince (Bill Paxton) and Don (William Sadler) who stumble upon the chance to strike it rich with a treasure map indicating the hiding spot of a bunch of stolen artefacts. The artefacts are supposedly hidden in an abandoned building in East St. Louis. Unfortunately for the duo, they head up on the same day that a gang meeting is taking place and Vince becomes witness to a murder and a standoff ensues. The rest of the film is them trying to figure out how to escape and the gang trying to figure out how to kill them.
Walter Hill is known for action and Trespass is one film that goes all out on the guns, shooting and swearing. Ice T and Ice Cube play off each other wonderfully, swearing up a storm. Paxton and Sadler also enjoy some action and slight character development, as we see Sadler’s character go from a somewhat likeable guy to a greedy bastard out for the money. Paxton’s character never truly goes above the level of a coward, but he manages to do a bit with his character near the end of the film. Everyone else in the movie, save for Raymond the gun supplier ( Bruce A. Young) is background noise.
There are a few issues I had with the flick, which mostly comes into play during the rushed ending. Characters are either shuttled off screen never to be seen again or killed quickly and unceremoniously. The only saving grace at the end is the final shot, which will bring a bit of a chuckle out of the viewer.
Nevertheless, the action stays constant throughout the 101-minute runtime, and Walter Hill’s choice of intermittent handheld footage makes for a nice change of pace. The performances from everyone are solid enough to withstand the test of time and the plot, even though not very original, is exciting enough to make me one happy viewer.
Shout! Factory releases Trespass under their Shout! Select line (number 24) and boy, are fans in for a treat. It isn’t enough that the transfer and audio presentation are solid, but the ample supplements make this one Collector’s Edition worth owning. There are new interviews with William Sadler, Bob Gale and Neil Canton. We also have a look at the stunts, the weapons, a quick Vintage Making-of, a music video, some deleted scenes and a trailer. The only thing to make this release better would have been a commentary, but what we do get it is quite nice.
As I previously mentioned, the video transfer is solid, presenting the movie in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, with an even grainfield. I noticed some slight blooming with the credits, but this could be intentional. The audio options provided are DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 and LPCM 2.0.
Trespass is action packed enough to keep any viewer entertained. The performances are all-around solid, with a few hiccups from certain rap stars. The ending falters a bit, but overall the experience is enjoyable. The Shout! Factory release has plenty of features to peruse through, and the enjoyable audio/video presentation make this one easy recommend.
NEW “Fool’s Gold” – An Interview With Actor William Sadler
NEW “Born Losers” – An Interview With Co-Writer Bob Gale
NEW “Wrongful Entry” – An Interview With Producer Neil Canton
NEW “Gang Violation” – The Stunts Of Trespass
NEW “Trigger Happy” – The Weapons Of Trespass
Vintage Featurette: “Behind The Scenes Of Trespass”