Shout Select’s Trespass

The B-Movie Isle: Shout Factory’s Trespass (Shout Select)

The B-Movie Isle/Adam takes a look at the under seen actioner from Walter Hill, Trespass.  Recently released by Shout Select with a beautiful transfer and stacked with special features.  Does Hill’s fantastic action thriller still work as both an action film and biting commentary racial and economic divide?  Read on…

The Film

Trespass like many of Walter Hill’s best work though and action film is about the tension between groups of men in conflict both through actions and ideals. Working from a sharp Bob Gale and Robert Zemickis script that’s essentially a reworking of The Treasure of Sierra Madre set in the desolation of early 90’s St. Lois manufacturing area (the same place that Escape from New York had filmed a decade earlier).  Hill smartly takes the concept of white men invading a territory for monetary gain a step further.

No longer are there faceless denizens of the John Houston classic, but full on roles for burgeoning stars Ice T and Ice Cube.  The two were already famous from their respective careers in Rap.  Hill does not give either men a straight villain role, rather making them the other side of the coin that is Bill Paxton and William Sadler.  The film never takes a side which though frustrating for some audiences is a brilliant move by the screenwriters and directors.  This allows an audience to side or even root for whomever they wish.

The film smartly faces uglier truths if one wishes to dig deeper.  Hill doesn’t allow Paxton and Sadler’s firefighters on a hunt for a fortune in Catholic gold doubloons come off as shinning paradigms of heroics.  The moral gray area they surface is just as murky as the criminals they watch murder a rival drug dealer.  Part of the film is the shifting dynamic in the film of each team with a clear goal.  One to get into the room, the other to get out of the room.

As with most of Hill’s work as a director there is streamlined clean approach to everything from direction, action, pace and tone.  There is a beauty in the unadorned work that feels antiquated in a way that one wishes that his style was emulated more from younger directors.  Trespass just makes it abundantly clear that Hill and his style of action films are sorely missed from the film landscape.

You can listen to a more detailed review of the film on the B-Movie Podcast, right here.

The Transfer

Trespasses new transfer is drop dead gorgeous.  I have vivid memories of seeing this film in the theaters and there is a distinct look that never looked right on any permutation released on Home Video.  Finally with the Blu-Ray release, Shout has perfected the transfer.  The contrast levels and sharpness are wonderful.  Grain structure is near perfect.  Trespass along with Streets of Fire is making this a banner year for Walter Hill and Shout Factory.

The Extras

The special features include:

  • NEW “Fool’s Gold” – An Interview With Actor William Sadler
  • NEW “Born Losers” – An Interview With Co-Writer Bob Gale
  • NEW “Wrongful Entry” – An Interview With Producer Neil Canton
  • NEW “Gang Violation” – The Stunts Of Trespass
  • NEW “Trigger Happy” – The Weapons Of Trespass
  • Vintage Featurette: “Behind The Scenes Of Trespass”
  • Music Video
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Theatrical Trailer

Shout Factory in lieu of an audio commentary or a huge making-of documentary has put together a great assortment of extras for this disc.  Well over 90 minutes of special features the highlights that include a great interview with One of the Bobs (as in Gale and Zemeckis), the Music Video starring the Ice’s (T and Cube) and the always great William Sadler.  By far the most fun you’ll have with a special feature is both the Music Video and the Vintage featurette.  I love Shout’s commitment to putting these types of vintage EPKs onto their disc and often times the most delightful features on their discs.

The Bottom Shelf

If you don’t know Walter Hill this may be a great entry point into his work as it’s everything that fans of Hill have come to expect from him: great action, great characters, great story and above all else great direction.  Shout Factory has done right by this forgotten classic.  Do right by them (and Hill) and buy it.  Highest possible recommendations!!!

Trespass is available on Blu-Ray from Shout Factory on June 27th!

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