testosterone were enough to solve a problem like human trafficking, Det. Nick
Cassidy could pretty much lick it single-handedly. Even with the whole world
allied against him, Cassidy will still basically take that one-angry-cop approach.
Fortunately, he will eventually team-up with Bangkok copper proficient in Muay
Thai. At that point, all bets are off in Ekachai Uekrongtham’s Skin Trade (trailer here), which opens this
Friday in Los Angeles.
gangster Viktor Dragovic stands atop a global trafficking empire, but the most
important hub is in Thailand. Much to his regret, one of his more talented sons
is killed by Cassidy during the course of an operation on the Jersey docks. In
retaliation, Dragovic gets Biblical, killing Cassidy’s wife and daughter and
leaving him for dead. The thing is, you can never leave a cat like Cassidy dead
enough. Despite about fifty bullets wounds, Cassidy drags himself out of the
hospital and hops on a plane to Thailand for some stone cold vengeance.
so far, so good. However, things get a little dicey when corrupt FBI Agent Eddie Jones
frames Cassidy for the murder of Bangkok cop Tony Vitayakul’s partner, about
five minutes after landing. While Cassidy works his way through Dragovic’s
organization, Vitayakul pursues the rogue cop. He also frets over his
girlfriend, Min, a victim of trafficking now serving as an undercover
get a load of this cast: Tony Jaa, Dolph Lungren, Ron Perlman, Michael Jai
White, Peter Weller (as Costello, Cassidy’s crusty captain), and Celina
Jade. You’re probably thinking: “what, no Michael Ironside?” He must have had a
conflict. Needless to say, if you have Jaa and Lungren fight each other and
then square-off against Perlman and White, you are on pretty solid ground.
Jaa’s moves do not disappoint. The indestructibleness of Lungren’s Cassidy
becomes almost a running gag, but let’s face, the man looks like a tank. White
clearly enjoys getting his villainy on as Jones, and he hasn’t lost a step
since the criminally under-appreciated Falcon Rising either, while Perlman chews the scenery like an old genre pro. Jade
shows off a few moves here and there, but the Legendary Assassin star is definitely the one who gets
short-changed in the action department.
Trade follows in the long, noble
tradition of taking a serious issue (often with tragic implications) and
turning it into an exploitation movie. To his credit, co-writer-producer
Lungren started developing the idea when he read about a particularly egregious
trafficking case, so consider your consciousness duly raised. He and his co-writers
display a style similar to his character’s, relentlessly plowing straight
ahead. At least it’s serviceable and the action sequences deliver plenty of red
meat. Come for the martial arts and stay for the payback when Skin Trade opens this Friday (5/8) in
Los Angeles, at the Sundance Sunset Cinemas (and New Yorkers can catch it on
June 12th at MoMI or get it now VOD via iTunes).
Labels: Celina Jade, Dolph Lungren, Human Trafficking, Martial arts cinema, Michael Jai White, Ron Perlman, Tony Jaa