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Monday, May 11, 2015

Skin Trade Review Peter Weller Needs To Play Every Old Man in Film

Cast at he premiere
Robocop is in it. Hellboy is in it. Black Dynamite is in it. What am I watching? Oh and it stars Tony Jaa and Dolph Lundgren. I'm watching a brutal butt-kicking, buddy cop, action, thriller that takes you from the streets of the New Jersey to Thailand with a friend who loves the same genre and it's at the world premiere with Dolph Lungreen sitting behind me. Damn, do I love LA.

Skin Trade is going to be one of those beloved cult classics you'll find on Netflix or DVD and go, " When did this come out?!" It's not going to win any Oscar, but it's going to win over those who love seeing people get beat-up, it's going to win that type of viewer over fast.

That's in no small part to the amazing cast the Dolph Lungreen got together. Dolph plays New Jersey Detective Nick Cassidy trying to stop the "Skin Trade",  the selling and exporting of people from around the world. At the same time  Tony Jaa, playing Thai Detective Tony Vitaykul, is doing the same thing in his land. They're connected by the same skin trade mastermind, Ron Pearlman who plays Viktor Dragovic. Michael Jai White plays FBI Agent Eddie Reed working on the same case.

Nick Cassidy is trying to clean up the human trafficking problems caused by Viktor Dragovic and his four sons. So is Thai Detective Tony Vitaykul, in his own country. While Tony has a informant, whose his girl, infiltrating a strip/sex club front for one of Dragovic's sons. Nick plans to bust Dragovic at the New Jersey docks with a shipment of new human merchandise, things go bad and Nick kills one of Dragovic's sons. Soon Dragovic get his revenge by going after Nick's family, his wife and daughter, that sends Nick on a revenge tour of  Dragovic's restaurant and to Thailand. There he butts heads with the FBI and Tony for going over the law. The only law he has left is the revenge he seeks now can he team up or will he get beat up before he even gets his revenge.

Though not the biggest part of that story. The best role, though it's only minor, is Peter Weller as Chief Costello. A tough-as-nails police chief whose already angry and steals his scenes with the best moments and lines. If somebody wants Dragovic off free of charges because he has connections to the embassy will Costello care? No, he won't and he'll tell that stooge off. Another scenario, though the trailer kind of tells you this, your family is dead, murdered and your barely clinging to life, your house is destroyed. What will Costello do?  He'll leave you a card that was signed by the guys at the station. Weller's change to hate in a heartbeat make me hope he'll be popping up in cameos as a police chief in films all over the place. This man is angry and he needs to share his anger with all of us.

Those moments, those moments of what make you remember Dolph Lundgreen wrote the script and that for some reason he thinks elderly women will let complete strangers into their house to clean up when the look like they just murdered someone, those moments are littered throughout the film.

How did Lungreen get so bloody? A fight between him and his co-star. These two action movie masters wail on each other as though pain doesn't exist in their worlds. It's not only them as every choreographed fight has moments of  "What?" and "Ohh." I said, "Ohh," a lot at the same time as my compadre next to me and the rest of the audience.It was a chorus to the symphony of bones breaking. When you hear that crunch or that sound that sounds wrong coming from a human body, it's like hearing such beautiful music.  Lungreen has his size and strength on his side for fights. While Tony uses his speed, swiftness and of course killer kicks. He kicks fast and to the head. When they brawl, you'll be knocked over with how great the fights are.

It not only them, when they take out a group of traffickers are even a mid-boss, you'll be loving every moment of their pain and they pain of their enemies. And those fights aren't over in thirty seconds, they last the right amount of time for you to get into the fight.

They also don't shy away from guns, many martial art films take them out of the picture, not this film. Lundgreen blasts away hands and heads. Tony is a little more clean with his kills, even when he was using a shotgun.

Comparing the film to the just released Kung Fu Killer, it's kind of sad that Kung Fu Killer was less entertaining with so many talented martial artist in it.

The chase scene between Lundgreen and Jaa through the tiny open markets of Thailand with tight corners was great to watch. You have Lundgreen on a motorcycle barreling through make-shift buildings while Jaa uses his speed and acrobatic skill to follow him on the rooftops. Highest marks for that chase.

We would have loved it if it wasn't so serious, but it wasn't on the lightest subject. Human trafficking of young girls is a good reason for Dolph Lungreen to get angry and want to kill bad guys.

Look for a cameo from someone from Mortal Kombat too.

Skin Trade is perfect for viewing if in the mood for an action thriller and to see some top tier fights take place between some of your old favorites of action films.

Now, I'm just going to leave this "Feel Better" card here for all those killed by Jaa and Lundgreen in the film.

Skin Trade is in select theaters and on VOD services.