Gangs, crime, violence, two firefighters, and one million dollars in gold all converge in Trespass, an effective action thriller. Directed by Walter Hill (48 Hrs., Red Heat, Bullet to the Head), it’s set in an abandoned factory and unfolding almost in real-time. All this makes for a claustrophobic and intense atmosphere, where you just don’t know where the movie is going. Everybody might make it out of there alive or none of them will. However, as you probably can guess, the latter is a more realistic outcome. On the face of it, the plot seems simplistic and very low-budget. I mean, a shootout in a run-down factory does sound like something extremely cheap. On the other hand, there’s nothing cheap about this movie. With a hefty budget of $14 million, it features great stunts, practical effects, and an all-star cast. Stunts that look like someone actually got hurt.
Trespass is one of those low-key movies that will keep you awake at night once you start watching it. If these were the nineties, you would probably catch it on the television, proudly occupying the 3 am slot. It’s amazing that this is a movie where two white firefighters get surrounded by a black gang and race is never the issue. Mostly because there’s only one color that matters here and that color is gold. And that’s the way it should be. It only speaks of the skill of everyone involved, including the writers’ Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis, fresh off the set of Back to the Future sequels. The cast led by charismatic Bill Paxton on one side and equally captivating Ice’s on the other side was simply great. And finally, being loosely based on The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, it does have a western vibe to it.
Vince and Don are two firefighters who accidentally stumbled upon something valuable. Moreover, it might be something that will make them two very rich guys. A dying man gave them a map pointing to an old and derelict building in an industrial part of St. Louis. They think this is going to be an easy job and decide to drive there early in the morning. However, what they don’t know is that factory is already occupied. Moreover, it’s about to become a very, very dangerous place.
A movie where we have the opportunity to see Ice Cube and Ice-T together? Sign me the motherfucking up! Punk ass bitch! Trespass touches upon the gangsta culture that was prevalent in that period and uses merely as an element. For instance, it doesn’t preach about the dangers of drugs, gangs, or that kind of life. It’s very matter-of-factly and in that way, strangely empowering. Mostly because it’s not patronizing and derisive, but actually portraying this dangerous gang for what it is. A dangerous motherfucking gang. There are no good guys or bad guys here, just humans looking to get ahead in this cruel world. We saw a similar thing in One False Move, a thriller also starring Mr. Paxton, this time as a sheriff of a small town.
Finally, if you’re looking for similar movies, I recommend you check out Judgment Night, featuring a similar story. And on a lighter note, The Night Before, a comedy starring Keanu Reeves. Also, with the whole cat and mouse thing happening in one giant building, Die Hard comparisons are definitely warranted. Enjoy.
Director: Walter Hill
Writers: Bob Gale, Robert Zemeckis
Cast: Bill Paxton, William Sadler, Ice-T, Ice Cube, Art Evans, De’voreaux White, Tiny Lister
Fun Facts: The original title of the movie was The Looters. However, due to the 1992 Los Angeles riots, the title was changed along with a marketing campaign.