30th Jun2015

‘Skin Trade’ VOD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Dolph Lundgren, Tony Jaa, Ron Perlman, Michael Jai White  | Written by | Directed by


Since his role in the blockbusting ensemble piece The Expendables, Dolph Lundgren has been somewhat of a tour-de-force in the world of direct-to-market action flicks. From straight forward action movies like Hard Rush and A Certain Justice, to more fantastical films such Battle of the Damned and Legendary, Lundgren has been tolling away in the genre starring in films that, whilst not all are entirely successful, are ways apart from his pre-Expendables career.

The reason for his recent success, in this reviewers opinion, seems to be his willingness to share the limelight. Where once he may have demanded the mot screen time, a headline on the poster etc., these days his films are more about the ensembles within them. He’s starred alongside the likes of Vinnie Jones, Randy Couture, Cung Le (an underrated action star if ever there was one) and Scott Adkins. However, at least for action fans, Skin Trade may be the pinnacle of this trend in Lundgren’s recent oeuvre…

Here he stars alongside another action movie behemoth – and one that has the actual fight skills to back up his performance – Tony Jaa. Yes, he of Ong Bak, Warrior King and, most recently Fast & Furious 7. But that’s not all. Skin Trade also stars Ron (Hellboy) Perlman, Peter (RoboCop) Weller and another direct-to-dvd action superstar, Michael Jai White (Falcon Rising). It’s a veritable smorgasbord of action movie stars, all appearing together in one better than average action/revenge flick.

Skin Trade sees Lundgren star as New Jersey detective, Nick Cassidy, who kills human trafficker Viktor Dragovic’s (Perlman) son in a sting operation on the New Jersey docks. Dragovic responds by attempting to kill Nick and his family. However, as is per revenge flicks, Nick miraculously survives the brutal attack, but his wife and daughter are killed. With nothing but vengeance to live for, Nick heads to Bangkok in search of the elusive Dragovic. Meanwhile, FBI Agent Eddie Reed (White) is sent in to bring Nick home… Only Reed is not what he seems and sets a vengeful Thai detective, Tony Vitayakui (Jaa) on Nick’s trail.

If you ever wondered what it would be like if an old-school action star went toe-to-toe with a modern day butt-kicker, then Skin Trade is for you… For seeing Lundgren fight Jaa is the only real highlight here. The story is lacklustre, packing in as many dirty cop flick / revenge movie cliches as it can whilst in all honesty wasting the fighting talents of Tony Jaa, who only gets to throw in his awesome martial arts skills at a couple of key points in the film when facing off against Nick. For the rest of the time he’s busy running after Lundgren’s framed cop Nick and grimacing when he fails to catch him… For shame.

It’s not all bad. The action is fast and furious, the pace never lets up and the fight choreography is most definitely on point. On top of that both Dolph Lundgren and Tony Jaa are on great fight flick form, Lundgren in particular shines here with one of his best performances in some time. In short, for undiscriminating action fans like myself, there’s plenty to enjoy about Skin Trade.

Skin Trade is available now on iTunes.


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