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A few nights ago I found myself in the mood for a horror movie. I recently read something about Jordan Peele's upcoming Candyman sequel. In a trend that has become quite popular, I beleive it is a direct sequel to the original; ignoring all other sequels. Something wasn't clicking for me, because I stopped watching, which I almost NEVER do. I found it extremely melodramatic. I usually like over-the-top stuff, but this just felt second rate.

It was still a decent enough hour where I could start a movie and not risk falling asleep. I couldn't find any horror flicks that interested me, but this urban-centered action thriller would do.

Vince(Bill Paxton) and Don (William Sadler) are just a couple of regular guys. They are working class people. They’ve got bills to pay just like the rest of us. So when they get the opportunity to strike it rich, they go after it. They are firefighters you see and one evening while on the job, they come across this crazy old man who pulls a gun on them; and in the middle of a fire no less. They’re trying to save him from a fiery death and first thing he does is point a gun at him. How ungrateful of him. So, he’s got the gun in one hand and some newspaper clippings in the other. He’s rambling something about Jesus, how he’s sorry for something, and how he never told nobody nuttin. Sounds like the confessions of a dying man, huh? Then he thrusts the papers into their hands, and runs into the fire to meet his maker, which was hilarious by the way.

After the dust settles, the guys start going through the pile of papers he gave - more like thrust at - to them. Amongst the items in the pile is a gold cross. One of the articles mentions something about a church being robbed several decades ago. They quickly figure out that the old man was a part of a group that robbed the church when they were younger and were never caught. He stashed the items - all of which are solid gold - in a building he used to live and work in - and he was even nice enough to draw a map. The two of them decide to go check it out. Why the hell not? They are a couple of working class schleps and could use the extra dough.

The building is a few hundred miles away in St. Louis. It’s far, but not a major obstacle. The real issue is where it’s located. The building is in a secluded part of the GHETTO. At first, it seems ideal. They don’t really want to brag about the fact that they are looking for buried treasure, but problems start to arise when they witness a murder.

 A gang – led by King James (Ice T) – has planned a "meeting" in this secluded area made up of old warehouses. They are attempting to catch a rat in their group. They suspect one of their own of betrayal and have set up a get together with him to straighten the situation out. He has taken King James’ brother Lucky (De’voreaux White) as a hostage to ensure his safety during these negotiations.  It doesn’t work out in his favor, as it is his murder the two firefighters witness. The gang, not wanting any witnesses, immediately starts shooting at them, but not before Don grabs Lucky (ironic nickname) and the three of them barricade themselves in a room.

Oh, I forgot to mention there was another person with them. Earlier in the movie, while searching the building for treasure, Don and Vince run into Bradlee (Art Evans). Bradlee is a homeless man who lives in the building and was not happy when these two white boys come in and start tearing up his home. Despite the fact that he attacks the both of them, the two have different ideas what to do with him. Vince simply wants to let him go, but Don just wants to shut him up, so he ties him to a chair and shoves a gag in his mouth. Vince is very against this. So they now have two hostages, but only one that the gang cares about. Bradlee is the most likable of the entire cast. He's just a victim caught up in this turf war. He's funny too. I like him.

It’s at this point in the movie where things get really hairy. You’ve got the initial conflict Don and Vince have with Bradlee. That gets put on the back burner, but doesn’t really ever completely go away when the gang shows up. The pressure starts to get to all three of them. Don and Vince start to crack, and go at each other as a result. Bradlee wants to be untied, but he doesn’t really want to leave either, because he fears the gang is simply going to assume he’s with Don and Vince; and being a local isn't a fan of gangs in general. Adding to the stress of the situation is Lucky, who tells them they’re all dead, because his brother is King James and this is his territory! You’ve got Don and Vince arguing with one another, both arguing with Bradlee, and all three of them arguing with Lucky; and they occasionally decide to stick their heads out the door and shoot at the gang. There’s some major tension and paranoia going on here and it makes for some quality entertainment.

Trouble is a brewing everywhere on this night though. The gang isn’t exactly on the same page either. King James wants to play it cool. They’ve got his brother and he isn’t going to do anything to risk Lucky’s life. One of his guys, Savon, completely disagrees. Savon (Ice Cube) is a hothead. He wants to go in there guns blazing and take care of the problem quickly and violently. His loyalty to King James starts to wane as tensions rise. He's such a hothead and eager to control things that I'm surprised he ever took orders from anyone. Wickey (Stoney Jackson) is very loyal to KJ, so he often butts heads with Savon. There’s another guy named Raymond (Bruce A. Young), who is hilarious. He's a pimp and weapons dealer. He's a weasel from top-to-bottom. He is more of a mercenary. KJ calls him in as backup because he oftens sells them guns; and they need guns right now. Raymond is not a member of the gang and could care less about Lucky. He is only involved because KJ is paying him to be. Just about everybody dislikes this guy. They’re all criminals, but even the other criminals seem to distrut Raymond the Pimp, ha!

This movie is entertaining as hell. It’s got tons of paranoia, tension, and some great action as a result of both. The acting is over-the-top at times, but there are a lot of colorful characters, so it really works very well. Some of the performances are legit too, especially for an action flick. Bill Paxton is probably one of my favorite actors when it comes to over-the-top performances. He just owns those kind roles. This one is a classic. William Sadler is simply awesome playing unlikeable people. He was great in Die Hard 2 as the villain, disturbing as the pervert in Kinsey, and equally as entertaining as Don in this movie. Don seems like something of a prick, but there's no signs he's an outright bad guy. But the second things get hairy, he turns into somebody out of the Wild West. He gets jittery and his moral compass goes right out the window. Art Evans (Die Hard 2) was hilarious as Bradlee. He just wants these two white MFers to get out of his “home”, but is forced to form an uneasy alliance with them when the gang shows up. Ice Cube and Bruce A. Young stand out amongst the gang members. They were all just fine, but those two stood above the rest. Ice Cube was simply an angry looking man about 95% of the time - and it seems to be who he is if you follow him on social media. His anger translates very well into this role. The Raymond character seems like a grade-A sleazebag. King James might be a gangster, but he seems to have a more rational personality than the rest. But Raymond is simply a money man. He doesn’t care about King James, Lucky, or anyone else in the gang, he just wants to get paid. He’s very unlikeable, but extremely entertaining to watch.

Oh, and there’s also some awesomely bad 90s clothing in this movie. I am far from a fashion guru, but some of the gang member’s clothing is just tragic. The 80s always get ragged on for bad fashion, but the 90s were so mcuh worse imo. They look like costumes, not clothing. 

Even though Candyman wasn't doing anything for me, it got me in the mood for something with an urban setting. Weird, but true. Trespass isn't a horror flick, but it has a great atmospheric look and feel; and director Walter Hill excels with this particular environment. All the old abandoned buildings coupled with the thrills and paranoia really tapped into whatever it was in me that wanted to watch a horror movie. The sets in this movie is very cool. Old buildings in the middle of the ghetto - I'm actually very fascinated by the urban jungle setting - a hunt for "buried" treasure in an nontraditional environment, it all works very well for me. The first time I reviewed this movie, I had come home from work on a Friday was looking for something that would entertain me. I had a fire going in the living room, a cheesesteak and fries in my belly, and a beer in my hand. The only other thing I needed was something to occupy me for the next few hours and this fit the bill perfectly. I recently found myself in a similar situation. I was fed and was on my second drink. I had tried to get into Candyman, but couldn't. Despite the fact that it was after 8:30, and starting a movie that late is against the law when you're 40, I sought this one out. I watched maybe

Rating: Thumbs up.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on February 21, 2013. It was updated on July 6, 2020.