2 December 2002 | Kastore
Walter Hill goes gangsta.
The main focus of this movie is the set-up of various action sequences, the debating over what to do in the characters' situations, and what Walter Hill has always been especially good at the overall machismo. Most of "Trespass" is a drawn-out standoff between the bad guys in a remote, long-abandoned warehouse and the grossly outnumbered good guys in a tightly-sealed room with the bad leader's brother as a hostage. David Fincher may have wanted to watch this movie and taken notes, since "Panic Room" has got absolutely nothing on this movie. The action begins very quickly and doesn't let up until the fiery, casualty-counting conclusion, making the film's 101min length seem like not even half that. "Trespass" is ripe with Hill's inimitable style and pace, combining with Ry Cooder's score and Lloyd Ahern's sepia-toned cinematography to create a sense of desolation and high tension for the setting.
Add to this an excellent cast of genre and character actors for a very captivating film. Bill Paxton and William Sadler ("Die Hard II") turn in intense performances as the lone protagonists, especially Sadler whose career unfortunately never reached the level it should have. Ice-T is in one of his more effective roles as King James, the gangsta leader. Ice Cube also stands out as the upstart, rebellious follower of James, Savon; his "king of the streets" speech is the monologue highlight of the movie. Art Evans (also from "Die Hard II") is perfect as the wise old angry homeless man, who reluctantly helps out Paxton and Sadler despite their initial treatment of him. And the criminal elements include noticeable performances from De'voreaux White as the unfortunate hostage 'Lucky'; Tiny 'Zeus' Lister Jr. as the musclebound henchman 'Cletus'; and the underused Stoney Jackson as the overly-suave crony 'Wickey'.
This was the last of a string of box office disappointments (including "Johnny Handsome" and "Another 48 Hrs.") that Hollywood allowed Walter Hill to make before relegating him to the role of mainstream hack. "Trespass" was released with little fanfare, having its release date postponed from summertime to after Christmas as a result of the 'crisis' that was the LA riots. Besides its original title of "Looters", "Trespass" also includes the recurring theme of seeing events via videocamera (which would have been a troubling reminder of the Rodney King and Reginald Denny beatings), not to mention a heavy, uncompromising racist slant not too common in modern-day action movies.
Though not Hill's best, it is far from his worst. A must-see for fans of stylized action. 8/10