Director: Ekachai Uekrongtham
Writer: Gabriel Dowrick, Steven Elder, John Hyams, Dolph Lundgren (Screenplay)
Starring: Ron Perlman, Tony Jaa, Dolph Lundgren, Celina Jade, Michael Jai White, Peter Weller, Conan Stevens, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa
Plot: After his family is killed by a Serbian gangster with international interests. NYC detective Nick goes to S.E. Asia and teams up with a Thai detective to get revenge and destroy the syndicate’s human trafficking network.
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Brilliant Pure Action Film
Story: Skin Trade starts with a young girl running from Cambodia where she gets tricked into becoming another victim to the Skin Trade. Skip to New Jersey where we meet Detective Nick Cassidy (Lundgren) using his know how to track down a suspect. We also meet Tony (Jaa) in Tokyo trying to take down the latest Skin Trade. Both men get the information they need and show that they are on the good side of the law.
Viktor Dragovic (Perlman) is the Serbian mobster working in Russia with the Skin Trade being his primary money maker. Viktor is having his latest shipment delivered to New Jersey and all the law authorities are there waiting to finally take him down. The bust at the docks leads to plenty of bloodshed with Viktor’s son being one of the victims of Nick’s, but most importantly Viktor is put behind bars.
Viktor may well behind bars but his boys are out for revenge for the death of their brother and target Nick, killing his wife and his daughter, leaving him for dead. To make matters worse Viktor has fled the country.
Nick travels to Thailand where FBI agent Reed (White) teams up with Tony to try and stop his rampage from getting out of hand. Nick becomes a most wanted man when Reed frames him for the murder of Tony’s partner. It isn’t long before Tony and Nick learn they are after the same thing and only have each other to trust as they aim to take down Viktor as his crime syndicate.
Skin Trade is a film that I went into not expecting anything amazing but the cast make enjoyable action films so this had to be watch. What is got was a pleasant surprise with a great story that enters into the realm of reality (without the endless bullets part) where we have a real look into the horrors of the human trafficking business. I maybe well be slightly biased towards action films but I must say this one pulls you in early and simply never lets you go. We do get a few generic traits in both good and bad guys but hey, this film isn’t going to be about character building it is about fighting. I am willing to say this is the best storyline in an action film that I have seen this year. (9/10)
Ron Perlman: Viktor Dragovic is the Serbian mobster who runs a human trafficking ring around the world. When he gets captured and his son is killed he takes out the man responsible before going into hiding. Ron makes for a great villain with his blank stares when he comes face to face with Nick that show he really has no fear or regret for his characters action. (8/10)
Tony Jaa: Tony Vitayakul is the Tokyo agent trying to stop the human trafficking working with his connection in the US to stop it. Tony teams up with Nick to take down Viktor after losing his partner to one of Viktor’s men. Tony kicks serious butt here showing he is ready to take the US market by storm. (8/10)
Dolph Lundgren: Nick Cassidy is the good cop who finally gets to take down Viktor but due to a technicality ends up on his bad side when Viktor takes out his family leaving him for dead. Nick sets out on a one man crusade to kill anyone working with Viktor and anyone who gets in his way. Dolph does a great job apart from when he is running where he looks like he is showing his age. (7/10)
Michael Jai White: Reed is the FBI agent who gets involved in trying to take down the human trafficking ring offering help where it is needed, but he is really staying close to inform Viktor about investigations. Michael does a solid job in the supporting role where he gets to have a great fight with Tony Jaa. (6/10)
Support Cast: Skin Trade has a supporting cast that includes the victims of the Skin Trade as well as the people involved in dealing in it or preventing it.
Director Review: Ekachai Uekrongtham – He does a great job directing this all out action film that never seems to let you take a breath. (8/10)
Action: Skin Trade is filled with hand to hand combat, chases and firefights to keep the action rolling throughout. (9/10)
Thriller: Skin Trade starts off making you interested but by the end of the film I was at the edge of my seat waiting for what will happen next. (10/10)
Settings: Skin Trade takes the action all over the world showing just how widespread the human trafficking really is. (9/10)
Suggestion: Skin Trade is an absolute must watch for any action fan out there, dare I say action film of the year? (Action MUST Watch)
Best Part: Jaa & Lundgren together.
Worst Part: Lundgren running.
Action Scene Of The Film: Jaa versus White.
Believability: The idea behind what is going on is a very real problem but the action side it not. (5/10)
Chances of Tears: No (0/10)
Chances of Sequel: It could have a sequel.
Post Credits Scene: No
Similar Too: Taken
Oscar Chances: No
Budget: $9 Million
Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes
Tagline: All scars tell a story.
Trivia: Dolph Lundgren wrote the script before 'Taken' (2008) came out or was produced, after he had read a newspaper article on human trafficking.
Overall: When it comes to Action Skin Trade is packed with everything you want and then some, being the action surprise film of the year.