Bullet Points: Skin Trade
Today marks Dolph Lundgren’s 58th birthday. Now while I don’t have anything as grandiose as my colleague, Chad Cruise, had for Dolph on his birthday last year, I did want to review one of Dolph’s newer movies, Skin Trade.
I say newer movies, because Skin Trade, which was released in April of this year, is not his latest film. Dolph has actually been in 3 other movies that have been released this year. The man is definitely not slowing down and part of me wonders if at some point over the past couple years he actually became part man/part movie making machine. In the time I typed this paragraph, I believe Dolph agreed to star in 7 more movies.
Skin Trade is another film that borrows a little from the Taken formula and, as the title implies, features our heroes trying to shut down a human trafficking ring or as it also know, the skin trade.
At first blush, you may also think that this movie borrows a little from the Rush Hour formula too. You know the whole an East meets West buddy cop movie. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that our two big stars Dolph Lundgren and Tony Jaa were not on the same page for the entire film. In fact they are actually on opposing sides at one point which allows the audience to witness an awesome Jaa/Lundgren battle!
- All-Star Cast: I’ve already mentioned the two main stars of the film. You’ve got Dolph Lundgren who has been kicking action movie ass and taking names since the 1980’s. Then there’s the sensational Tony Jaa. Jaa is a martial arts experts who die hard action movie fans have been raving about since his breakout performance in Ong-bak. While he’s not known as much in the mainstream movie world, that will likely change when Jaa is a part of Furious 7. Lundgren and Jaa would have been enough for any action movie fan, but Skin Trade takes it a couple steps further and throws in Peter Weller of Robocop fame, Michael Jai White of Blood and Bone fame and Hellboy himself, Ron Perlman plays the Serbian mob boss. And last but not least there’s Celina Jade from The Man with the Iron Fists and the hit TV show, Arrow.
- His Worst Day Ever: The cops get wind of when Viktor’s (Ron Perlman) latest shipment of girls is coming into New York City. But that’s not Viktor’s only problem, when the shipment arrives he finds that all the girls have died. Next thing Viktor knows, the cops are on the scene and his son Andre, trying to prove himself to his father, is shot and killed by Detective Nick Cassidy (Dolph Lundgren). To cap things off, Viktor gets arrested.
- One Bad Day Leads To Another: It doesn’t take an expert in organized crime to know that Nick Cassidy has managed to piss off the Serbian mob in a major way. Some of Viktor’s boys shoot a rocket at Nick Cassidy’s house, while Nick, his wife and their teenage daughter are inside. Suddenly the death of Santino Corleone in The Godfather seems elegant compared to a freaking rocket to the house. Nick miraculously survives the attack, although he is severely injured and hospitalized. But when he learns that Viktor is no longer in police custody and has fled the country, Nick flees the hospital and the hunt for the man who killed his family is on!
- Meanwhile in Thailand: Tony Jaa’s character, Tony Vitayakul is a member of the Royal Thai Police and he’s working at bringing the skin trade down on his end of the world. But its not all professional for him. Min (Celina Jade) is Tony’s informant on the inside of the Serbian human trafficking operation, but she is also his girlfriend. We find out that Min was a victim of the skin trade being sold by her own mother when she was just a young girl, a common practice in certain parts of the world.
Skin Trade is a quality action movie and I’d rank it among Dolph’s best. The pairing of Dolph and Tony Jaa works well and as I mentioned earlier, both men are surrounded by a great group of supporting players who are no strangers to the world of action entertainment.
There are a twists and turns in the story up until the very end of the movie. Action movies can easily go into “auto pilot” mode, but Skin Trade puts in the extra effort and that is something I appreciated and it made for an enjoyable movie watching experience. I mentioned it earlier, but it bears repeating… the sequence between Dolph Lundgren and Tony Jaa is “worth the price of admission” alone. But from start to finish the action on display in Skin Trade is high caliber and I believe it will appease any action junkie!
Now for a few bonus Skin Trade Bullet Points…
- If You Ever: …wanted to see Tony Jaa break up a gang bang video then this is the movie for you.
- Accountability: Viktor holds the captain of the ship directly responsible for his cargo container full of dead girls and kills the captain for it. That’s pretty much the worst performance review an employee can get.
- Familiar Face: Action movie legend, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa has a small role in the movie as a crooked politician in Cambodia.
- Memorable Quote: “Never underestimate a pervert.”
- Things To Do: After watching Skin Trade, I realized I need to watch more Tony Jaa movies.
- Skin Trade 2?: The door is definitely left open for a sequel and I’d be open to watching it.