Critics mostly dissed Walter Hill’s hip-hop take on John Huston’s Forties classic The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Early box-office returns indicate audiences know better. Trespass is an action powerhouse, brimming with high style and low cunning. The script, by Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis, is merely serviceable, but Hill directs with a ballsy zest missing since the glory days of The Warriors and 48HRS.
In Treasure, Humphrey Bogart and Tim Holt dug for gold in Mexico. In Trespass, William Sadler and Bill Paxton find a map to a gold stash in a gutted Illinois factory. Bogie and Holt fought bandits, led by the chilling Alfonso Bedoya. But Bedoya’s a wimp compared with Ice Cube and Ice-T, playing crime lords who can draw a cellular phone (to close a drug deal) as fast as a gun (to close an argument). It’s a standoff until the violence escalates and Art Evans — tops as a squatter modeled on Walter Huston’s crafty old prospector in Treasure — gets the last laugh. Both Ices are dynamite, giving Trespass the poetry and potency of rap.