Sunday, June 13, 2010

Trespass - 3/5

If you look closely at the film credits one will find a few things to raise any film fans eyebrows. The urban violence plotline is written and produced by usually family friendly Robert Zemekis (Back to the Future, Polar Express) and directed by tough-man film expert Walter Hill. Zemekis and Hill together? Mix that with a cast that includes Bill Paxton and Ice Cube and you have a bizarre liquor that will make any drunk take at least one shot.

Our plot opens with two redneck firefighters (Paxton & Sadler) who are given a treasure a map by a man trapped in a burning building who then commits suicide (which is a very bizarre, almost unintentionally funny sequence). Doing research they find the guy stole a shit load of gold from a catholic church and hid it in a factory... the only problem is that the factory is now abandoned and located in a very dangerous section of St. Louis. While looking for the gold, Paxton witness a gang murder and gang leader King James (Ice-T) and his posse trap them a room (with King James' brother as a hostage) and it's a tense struggle to get out alive, with the treasure of gold if possible.

Walter Hill's direction is the strong point of this film as he makes a rather simple story tense and suspenseful. He also crafts a lot of claustrophobia by having most of the major sequences take place within the confines of the abandoned factory's walls. I also dug some of Hill's hand-held black and white shots from the gang camera which also added to the tension. The colorful cast is great especially Ice-T and William Sadler. Sadler never got any respect as an actor and it's a damn shame as he plays the money hungry down-on-his luck burnt-out firefighter wonderfully. He made me believe he was willing to kill anybody in order to get his gold. Paxton, on the other hand, tended to annoy me. That's a damn shame also as I usually like Paxton. I can't blame him as it could be how his character is written and his portrayal and character is just wishy washy. I also wasn't impressed with Art Evans' vagrant and his character spent most of the film tied up in a chair spouting off profanity. The film would have been much more suspenseful if it was only up to the wits of Sadler and Paxton without this leftover character shouting from a chair.

Despite some character issues and a thin plot I found this "two worlds collide" action film to have plenty of edge of your seat sequences and a likable cast. Some of the serious sequences can come out a little campy but thankfully Trespass came out better than most of Hill's other late 80's and early 90's action outings, namely "Red Heat" and "Another 48 Hrs."

Written By Eric Reifschneider

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