It’s 1:59 pm
The weather was pretty nasty yesterday so I suggested we watch a new movie. The cheetah was game and so I sent him down to pick the movie. Now how does Paladin pick the movie we watch?
We go downstairs to the rack holding our movies we have yet watched. I’ll pick out three,lay them down on the carpet and whatever one Paladin sniffs at first,well that is our film for the night.
Our choice was “Skin Trade” featuring some serious kick ass talent in the action genre. You got Dolph Lundgren,Tony Jaa,Michael Jai White,Peter Weller and one of our favorite bad asses in Ron Perlman topping the list.
Lundgren plays Newark,New Jersey detective Nick Cassidy,who is investigating a human trafficking ring master-minded by Perlman’s Viktor Dragovic. Cassidy’s team has developed a lead on a shipment down at the docks and hope to catch Dragovic red handed. Michael Jai White plays FBI agent Eddie Reed,who wants to help Lundgren by having the FBI take over the case which doesn’t go over too well.
The cargo of human slaves has died enroute to the harbor and as Dragovic looks to leave,his crew is confronted by Lundgren’s task force and during the firefight that follows,Dragovic’s youngest son is killed by Cassidy. Dragovic is arrested and while his attorney tries to say he is a “respected businessman”,Cassidy’s Captain Costello (played by Weller) knows that is a lie as Dragovic is a infamous Serbian war criminal.
Soon afterwards Cassidy is attacked at his home where his wife and daughter are killed and Nick is shot and left alive so he can know what he has lost. Not a good idea as Cassidy leaves the hospital and begins blazing a trail of revenge that leads him to Thailand with Reed trying desperately to stop him.
Tony Jaa makes his English film debut with his tough Thai cop Tony Vitayakul. He is also working on stopping the human slave trade that is ravaging his nation. During the course of his chasing down Dragovic and Vitayakul suspecting Cassidy of killing his partner,a clash of titans is destined to change the lives of everyone….and not everyone is who they seem to be…
I watched this film twice,the second time to hear Dolph Lundgren’s commentary. I highly recommend you do so as well. While I thought Skin Trade was a great action film,the story is why you need to watch it. While Dolph explains the whys and hows of the film,his passion about raising awareness of human trafficking is really heartfelt.
While I was aware of the high rate of trafficking in places like Laos,Cambodia and Thailand,what I didn’t know was how deeply the Serbians and Ukrainians are involved with most of it. Between 20-30 million people are victims of human trafficking and 98% of them are women and children. Heavy numbers for a serious subject.
As for the film itself,as I said,its pretty solid. The screenplay is strong and the locations are filmed beautifully by Ben Nott. His camera captures both glamour of Bangkok and dark areas where people are forced to dwell with little hope of escaping. It really helps push the story along smartly.
The director,Ekachai Uekrongtham,has directed art house films,Skin Trade was his first action film. He does a nice job and when Dolph says he decided not to direct his story,he chose wisely in picking Uekrongtham. He keeps a firm hand on the pacing but I will say he’ll need to improve on directing fight scenes,that will come with experience.
The fights are pretty good as Jaa is a living legend in the martial arts genre. He is so fast and can hit you from any and all angles. But he is also small and in Skin Trade you can see that in comparison to Lundgren who is 6’4 and even to Michael Jai White. But in the commentary Lundgren pushed that Jaa come across as very strong and while Tony takes a bit of a pounding,he also deals it as his fight with Dolph is a highlight of the film…
The cast is very strong for a low budget indie film and they all give the story and script the respect it deserves. In the special features,they interview the cast and Michael Jai White says that fanboys will go hard for this film….”You have Spawn,Hellboy,RoboCop and He-Man in it” and he is right at least in my case…
Skin Trade is a movie we both liked very much and we give it a thumbs/paw up.
To learn more about human trafficking,please visit the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking by by going here for more information.