Bill Paxton squares off with Ice Cube and Ice-T in this classic ’90s thriller
This slickly crafted 1992 film features Bill Paxton (Twister and numerous other films) and William Sadler (Tales From The Crypt: Demon Knight) taking on a ruthless gang as they search for a lost gold stash. One of Paxton’s more memorable leading roles, Trespass is a fine part of the acting legacy he left behind after his early passing this year. It’s The Treasure of the Sierra Madre updated for the 1990s with an urban twist, as Ice-T and Ice Cube play gang members looking to take both men out. Released when the two celebrities were more known for their music careers than their acting skills, Trespass holds up remarkably well as fluid action filmmaking from the 1990s.
Two Arkansas firemen accidentally discover a map leading to a fortune in stolen gold artifacts. Vince (Paxton) and Don (Sadler) narrow the gold’s location to an abandoned East St. Louis industrial building. What they don’t know about the building is that it hosts the criminal activities of a vicious gang, led by the notorious King James (Ice-T) and underling Savon (Ice Cube). When the rural firefighters accidentally witness the gang executing someone, they become trapped and unable to contact the outside world as they become the gang’s next target. Can they survive this onslaught with just one gun between the pair?
Trespass never relents with its gripping set pieces and taut suspense
Trespass never relents with its gripping set pieces and taut suspense
Trespass works because Vince and Don aren’t scripted as morally pure good guys. The protagonists are surprisingly greedy and make a series of morally questionable decisions, especially Don. They have gold fever, which puts them into mortal peril when they cross paths with King James. It always feels like this could be their last stand against an increasing horde of gang members under King James’ control, including loose cannon Savon. Paxton’s timid, cautious Vince keeps getting pulled into more and more dangerous situations by Don. The lust for gold will drive Don over the edge, dragging Vince down a violent and potentially deadly road.
It’s funny to consider how much modern tech today would require changes to the script. Vince and Don get trapped with no ability to contact the police, as cellphones were still rare in 1992. The key plot-point would require big changes in a remake. It’s a bit of irony but certainly appropriate for the time that King James, head of the gang, is the only character with a cellphone.
Walter Hill’s sure direction makes Trespass a kinetic piece of action filmmaking. Once the central scenario is in place, Trespass never relents with its gripping set pieces and taut suspense. Each side of the conflict even gets their own bits of humanization, aided by the most sympathetic character in the movie. Bradlee (superbly played by Art Evans) is a hapless homeless man that gets caught up in this deadly skirmish. Two rednecks battling it out by themselves with a ruthless gang in an isolated urban environment, Trespass has that something extra which keeps it fresh and lively. One of Ice-T’s better movies and a strong lead performance from Bill Paxton, it has something for everyone.
Shout Factory licensed the 1992 production from Universal. Trespass receives a solid, film-like presentation from stable elements with mild filtering. The main feature runs 101 minutes on a BD-50, encoded in AVC averaging over 30 Mbps. The 1080P video is presented at the movie’s intended 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Fans should be pleased with this edition’s video quality.
The movie’s 1080P video has satisfactory definition and undamaged clarity. The film transfer is consistent with fine shadow delineation and expected black levels. Its contrast could be punchier, flesh-tones lack some life and vitality. Close object detail is fairly average even by the standards of older 1990s movies. Trespass isn’t incredibly sharp, the film scan looks a few years old at this point. It’s great for a catalog presentation but doesn’t have the tack sharpness of 4K efforts.
Short of a new transfer made for a future UHD release,Trespass passes as an excellent catalog presentation made from pristine elements. It could have a tad more detail and color, but those are really nitpicks.
Two identical soundtracks are included, one in 2.0 PCM and the other in 2.0 DTS-HD MA. Featuring the original theatrical soundtrack’s stereo mix, it’s a solid offering with strong audio design.
Coming alive with frequent gun shots and explosions, there is a healthy amount of resonance and action. Dialogue is suitably clean with impeccable fidelity. Trespass was a Universal production made by veteran studio hands and it shows in this excellent audio recording from the early 1990s. Ry Cooder’s energetic score is offset with a few rap tunes by acts such as Black Sheep and Sir Mix-A-Lot.
Optional English SDH subtitles play in a white font.
#24 in Shout Select’s line of collector’s editions, Trespass receives a substantial allotment of new interviews, including actor William Sadler and co-writer Bob Gale. Shout Factory has even seen fit to bring every supplement over from the old Universal DVD, including the music video by Ice-T and Ice Cube.
This is an engaging, enlightening set of special features. It’s a shame this set was done after the recent death of actor Bill Paxton as his absence can be felt. It was announced that Bill Paxton was scheduled for an interview before his premature passing back in February.
Fool’s Gold (12:31 in HD) – A new interview with actor William Sadler as he discusses getting hired on the film and working closely with Bill Paxton.
Born Losers (13:14 in HD) – A new interview with co-writer Bob Gale, who helped come up with the original idea and script known as “The Looters” back in the 1970s with Robert Zemeckis. He goes over casting choices and some of the changes made in the revised script when it became Trespass.
Wrongful Entry (13:49 in HD) – A new interview with producer Neil Canton on the film.
Gang Violation (06:09 in HD) A new interview with stunt coordinator Allan Graf discussing the preparation needed on set for the bigger pyrotechnic moments.
Trigger Happy (06:27 in HD) – A fascinating, one-of-a-kind new interview with weapons supervisor Mike Tristano from the film. He goes into detail on each gun used in the film, covering each character’s gun of choice.
Behind The Scenes of Trespass (04:06 in upscaled SD) – The original making-of featurette from 1992. Each lead actor, including Ice-T and Ice Cube, are featured in brief interviews. More promotional in nature than anything else.
Trespass music video (03:24 in upscaled SD) – The original music video with Ice-T & Ice Cube as featured rappers on a hard-hitting track.
Theatrical Trailer (01:59 in upscaled SD)
Deleted Scenes (04:48 in upscaled SD) – A series of deleted scenes in fairly rough shape, some longer than others. This isn’t particularly vital material, though a bit of Lucky’s background gets expanded in one scene.
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Great action and tight suspense from the early 1990s. Bill Paxton and Ice-T are excellent as opposing forces.
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