Disclaimer: ’20 to 30 million individuals are trafficked worldwide annually. An estimated 98% of sex trafficking victims are women and children.
There are many things in this world that we face every day and many of us pray that none of it comes our way, but what if the worst case scenario were to happen to someone you loved? What would be your first course of action? For many of us we are powerless, but for Nick Cassidy who is a loving Husband and a devoted father, when his family was put in danger the only thing that went through his mind is revenge. That situation where the bad guy has pushed a noble man to the brink of ultimate destruction and anyone gets in his way is going to pay.
Skin Trade is more than just a revenge story movie, it takes on the role of telling you a story of young women being fooled into a promised dream only to be tricked into the sex trafficking ring. It is an important subject that is still going on till this day, but luckily there are those trying to fight against it anyway they can. I mentioned Nick Cassidy (Dolph Lundgren) early on, but I didn’t state that he is a cop working to stop a brutal trafficking ring run by a Serbian mobster named Viktor Dragovic (Ron Perlman). Cassidy is teamed up with fellow agent Reed (Michael Jai White). They both finally crack down on this monster Viktor while on his son’s birthday to show him the family business only to foolishly go in guns blazing to be gun down by Cassidy in the line of duty. From here this is where the plot takes a turn for the worse as Cassidy tucks his little girl into the bed and spends a lovely anniversary night with his wife. The Sons of Viktor invade his home blowing up half of it, killing his wife and taking his little girl leaving Cassidy left for dead with three bullet wounds in his back. Not the best way to celebrate an anniversary if you ask me.
Soon enough Cassidy wakes up from the hospital focused on his goal and that’s when the world hunt begins as he finds out that Viktor escaped custody and has left the states. Now we take another turn to an overseas cop trying to make the same difference as Cassidy. Tony Vitayakul (Tony Jaa) is a Thai detective working the same case since it hits closer to home, but he acts out some brutal justice with his Thai kickboxing skills. As Cassidy closes in on Viktor, their paths cross since Cassidy is dropping bodies left and right, but things take a turn for the worse when Cassidy is framed for the murder of Tony’s partner. Now there are two people on a misguided quest for revenge in which one of them will die in the process.
Skin Trade delivers when he comes to the martial arts, gunplay and all around fast paced excitement. I was getting match ups that I never expected to see. Tony Jaa is a master at his craft when it comes to doing his own stunts and giving the audience some exciting scenes. When it finally came down to the showdown between Tony and Dolph or Michael Jai White, I was very impressed, but I will show you a clip below.
How did the Actors do?
For an action movie you have to see it as such and if you try to read too much into the acting portion of the story then you are going to be disappointed. I felt that Dolph Lundgren’s character had no real depth and felt kind of bland even when he was sitting in his daughter’s room listening to her poem. He felt more uninterested and bored more than emotional. Ron Perlman as the man villain of the story was quite touching and they picked the right man for the job. He brings a certain flare to all of his roles and really brought light to the story. He didn’t even feel bad for any character that was under his thumb and I felt his ruthless nature was spot on. There are too many times there is a sensitive side to villains in stories and I am glad this one was true to his craft. I don’t want to give up too much of the role played by Michael Jai White, but he was impressive, even though he didn’t have much lines. I felt that his acting portion could of been a bit more in-depth, but the martial arts was on point.
But wheres the Love?
Skin trade tries to throw in some love interested between Tony and his undercover girlfriend Min (Celina Jade) who finds sex traffickers for him, being that she once was a victim. Her story was touching and had truth in it because she was sold by her mother as a child to traffickers and that is not uncommon. It was semi-touching and understandable why she wanted to do what she did for him and other girls to prevent them from being in her situation, but it felt like a drop into the story to bring something sensitive. Dolph Lundgrens love story falls short to the beginning of the film with the follow up demise, but the anger was better shown than his love. The saving grace was his ambition to save his missing daughter and when he finally steps into a room full of caged girls. The message becomes clear when he sees them all captive. That made the movie important to watch.
Skin Trade delivers as an action film with a deep message that is still a major issue. I found the movie had a bit of low points when it came to the acting, but the all around story came to life from the emotions of the captive girls and the deception that they go through. There is nothing more sad than someone trying to go for a better future only for it to be ripped away and tossed into a deadly world. The cast of characters actually well with one another and we get a match up that many martial arts and action fans can enjoy.
In the end Skin trade gets 4 out of 5. I hope you enjoyed this review and be sure to check out Skin Trade when it officially comes out May 8th. Stay frosty!