Action Movie Fanatix Review: Skin Trade

Action Movie Fanatix review banner for Skin Trade

Every Scar Tells A Story

Starring: Dolph Lundgren, Tony Jaa, Michael Jai White, Ron Perlman, Peter Weller, Celina Jade, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Conan Stevens, James Chalke

Director: Ekachai Uekrongtham

2014  |  96 Minutes  |  Rated R

“How the hell do you sleep at night? How can you do this?” – Nick Cassidy

Synopsis:
After his family is killed and his daughter is kidnapped, New Jersey Detective Nick Cassidy (Dolph Lundgren) travels to Southeast Asia and teams with a Bangkok cop to bring down the international gangsters that destroyed his family.


Movies have the ability to raise awareness of injustices happening around the globe.  Occasionally action movies attempt this great feat but it’s tough to do while also featuring badass action.  Dolph Lundgren seemed to be passionate about bringing Skin Trade to light and it should be pretty clear by now that I support everything he does.  The addition of Tony Jaa and Michael Jai White sealed it.

Skin Trade’s cast is frickin’ phenomenal.  Dolph Lundgren, Michael Jai White and Tony Jaa are the obvious names to action movie fans but the addition of action movie regulars like Ron Perlman, Peter Weller and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa – even if his appearance is rather limited – make this something really special.

Living up to its cast, the movie features some pretty amazing action sequences.  As they should, they allow Tony Jaa to do some of his awesome stunt work even if it isn’t to the quality of The Protector or Ong Bak.  The guy is really incredible.  And without spoiling too much, we get a couple dream fights in Skin Trade.  We get Dolph Lundgren vs. Tony Jaa and Michael Jai White vs. Tony Jaa.  Both fights are worth your while.  There’s also a few decent gun fights along the way too.  And after both of those amazing fights are out of the way, the finale still manages to feel appropriately grand.

So, does Skin Trade effectively raise awareness of the atrocities going on literally everywhere around the world?  I don’t know, honestly.  There are moments that certainly come close by showing the living conditions of the film’s sex slaves.  The problem, I think, is that it feels a little too detached from reality.  I’m sure there are people living in these disgusting conditions somewhere on this earth but it’s too easy to just say, “It’s just a movie.”

There are a couple stats about human trafficking at the very end but I really wish they would have taken it a step further.  I think the vast majority of people turn a movie off as soon as they see the standard white text on black background credits.  Had this movie sprung for some more interesting credits, they could have inserted more information than two lines.  Maybe they could have even gotten an international organization involved that helps girls out of slavery… give them some publicity.

Is Skin Trade an effective action movie though?  100% yes!  It takes a bit to get to the action but once it gets there, it was SO worth the wait.  Skin Trade is a movie I am glad to add to my collection and will definitely be showing it to friends.

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