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    Mark Tolch
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  • Trespass

    Released By: Shout Select
    Released On: June 27, 2017.
    Director: Walter Hill
    Cast: Bill Paxton, Ice-T, William Sadler, Ice Cube
    Year: 1992
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    With platinum recording artist Ice-T fresh from the success of 1991's New Jack City, and multi-platinum recording artist Ice Cube still basking in the glow from 1991's Boyz N The Hood, it made total sense for the two hip-hop powerhouses to be put together in a film. Thankfully, 1992's Trespass did just that, placing the two under the Direction of Walter Hill, and teaming them up with some formidable acting companions in the form of Bill Paxton, William Sadler, Art Evans, and Tiny Lister.

    Vince (Paxton) and Don (Sadler) are two Arkansas firefighters, found at the start of Trespass taking on an out-of-control blaze in an apartment building when they encounter an armed tenant who is adamant that he's not leaving. Confessing to an unknown earlier crime, he hands Vince a newspaper article and a hand-drawn map, before wandering into the inferno and setting himself ablaze. In the aftermath of the fire, Vince and Don take the opportunity to examine this strange, deathbed confession, coming to the realization that their victim was responsible for a 50 year-old robbery that saw millions of dollars of gold religious artifacts stolen from a church. While Vince is ecstatic that he and his partner have "just solved a 50 year-old crime", Don is quick to point out the statute of limitations on robbery, and the financial gains that the two firefighters stand to gain if they can find the stash of treasure.

    Traveling out of Arkansas in a ridiculous hillbilly wagon of a truck, complete with KC lights, tractor tires, and most likely a CB, Vince and Don make their way to south St. Louis, home of the abandoned factory found on the map, ready to be urban explorers for the day. Things get off to a rocky start when they uncover the rotting corpse of a suicide victim, with Vince's natural inclination to call it quits and report the body to the police starting an argument with Don, who counters that the responding officers will find the gold during the investigation and keep it for themselves. Another complication appears in the form of Bradley (Art Evans), an elderly vagrant who overhears the two talking about the gold, and wants in on the score. But a dead body and an old transient are nothing compared to what else is in store for the two treasure hunters; as it happens, the abandoned factory is also the site chosen by King James (Ice-T) and Savon (Ice Cube), two hard-hitting gangstas and their crew, to settle an old vendetta on a drug deal gone wrong.

    Before they can say, "New Jack Hustler", Vince and Don are discovered by the bad guys, who are convinced that these out-of-towners haven't appeared by coincidence, and need to be taken out. Managing to grab a hostage and barricading themselves into a heavily fortified room makes for a fine stop-gap measure, but their captive turns out to be King James' brother, which enrages the gangster businessman to no end. Determined that the interlopers will pay dearly for such a transgression, King James calls in reinforcements and heavy artillery in the form of automatic weapons, sniper rifles, and plastic explosives. A game of cat and mouse, involving elaborate ruses and sheer firepower is played out, and only one side can emerge victorious. And with a power struggle going on between King James and Savon, and infighting over using gold as a negotiating tool going on between Don and Vince, it's anybody's guess who will be walking away.

    From the opening credits, a sequence that borrows heavily from the opening of Hill's The Warriors, it's obvious that Trespass is going to follow a similar walk; cartoonish, outrageous, and totally entertaining. All of the pieces fit perfectly here, from the exaggerated foley, Ice-T's underworld exact replica of his skits on the Power Paxton's comical facial expressions, Cube's excessive profanity and gun-waving, jerky camera, and score stingers, courtesy of Ry Cooder, Trespass is a glorious stew of awesome that fires straight out of the gate and sets the entire plot up in the first 30 minutes. The action is fast and very furious, the close-ups are plentiful, the product shots of those Motorola flip phones that everyone seemed to have back in the early 90's are abundant, and the soundtrack outside of the score is hip-hop at its finest. And while the stage is certainly set for an overload of social commentary, the advantage is only really taken one notable time...but since it's Ice-T delivering the commentary with his eyes squinted up and his delivery again echoing his album skits...oh, and it's presented via inserted black and white camcorder footage...the scene comes off in line with the film more than Spike Lee's character rants.

    Writers Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis keep the story going by throwing in everything including the kitchen sink once the back and forth between the two parties gets going, and there are some truly creative moments here, even if they do go above and beyond accepted reality, and that helps Trespass maintain its momentum...almost. Truth be told, the film could probably stand to lose 10 or 15 minutes, as it feels like it's somewhat gasping for air by the time it rolls across the finish line, but it doesn't really suffer the overlong feeling that other films overstaying their welcome exhibit. If nothing else, everything that happens in that first thirty minutes validates Trespass as a very worthy entry in Hill's portfolio, joining the aforementioned Warriors, Streets of Fire, Extreme Prejudice and others as solid entertainment.


    Shout Select brings Trespass to Blu-ray in a 1.85:1 AVC-encoded transfer that looks fantastic, considering that most of the film has a murky, indoor setting. Black levels are solid here, and detail is maintained throughout the myriad of muddy scenes, while also avoiding compression artifacts and noise inherent in many of these types of transfers. Grain is healthy but not overbearing, and I detected not one bit of dirt or damage during the entire running time. Earlier versions of the film don't hold a candle to this release, which is finally framed properly.

    There are two audio options available for the film, both in English. The first is a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 soundtrack, and it sounds wonderful for a 2 channel experience. Dialogue is clear and consistent, and the foley, score, and booming soundtrack come across as full and dynamic. It's a very immersive presentation for a non-surround track, and suffers from no distortion, pops, or his. An Uncompressed PCM Stereo track is also available, and that appears to be the original, non-remastered track, as it presents almost identically to the DTS-HD track, but lacks the punch and dynamics of the primary audio channel.

    English Subtitles are available as well.

    A number of supplements are available on the disc as well, starting with Fool's Gold: An Interview With Actor William Sadler (12:31). This HD piece features the actor discussing how he got involved with the film and his reaction to the script and his character. He also talks about working with Bill Paxton, with an anecdote of how he backhanded him during filming, and the differences between the two Ices.

    Born Losers: An Interview With Co-Writer Bob Gale (13:14) is another HD feature that sees co-writer Bob Gale discussing the origin of the script that he wrote with Robert Zemeckis, the Racial dialogue contained in the film, Hill's response to reading the script, and potential actors that were considered...Brad Pitt???

    Wrongful Entry: An Interview With Producer Neil Canton (13:40) discusses how Walter Hill was brought in after Robert Zemeckis turned down directing the film, the rumours of a feud between Ice Cube and Ice-T, and the two Ices' love of The Warriors.

    Gang Violation: The Stunts of Trespass (6:09) is an interview with Stunt Co-ordinator Allan Graf, who many will recognize as Hearst's bodyguard Captain Turner in Deadwood, talking about the stuntwork in the film.

    Trigger Happy: The Weapons of Trespass (6:27) features Armourer Mike Tristan talking about his history in working on Rap and Hip-Hop videos, and how the weapons that he chose for the film were a reflection of the different characters.

    Vintage Featurette (4:06) is an EPK for the film from the 90's, made up of behind the scenes footage.

    A Music Video (3:24) for Ice Cube and Ice-T's Trespass is also available, as are 4:48 of Deleted Scenes and a Theatrical Trailer.

    The Final Word:

    Cartoonish and outrageous, Trespass is a fine example of an action film with Walter Hill's style draped all over it, which means it's highly entertaining. Shout Select have done a superb job with this release, providing top-notch audio and video quality with some great supplements.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!

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