Dolph Lundgren partners up with Tony Jaa in Skin Trade (movie review)


Ever miss those old school action films from the ’80s/’90s? After watching Skin Trade, you won’t need to look back at the older films. Produced and written by action star Dolph Lundgren, who also stars in the film, Skin Trade tells the story of New Jersey detective Nick Cassidy (Lundgren) and his quest to stop human trafficking and destroy Viktor Dragovic (Ron Perlman), especially since Dragovic killed his family. Now, he wants revenge.

Lundgren came up with the idea of the film after reading an article about girls from Mexico being trafficked to the United States who were left in the carriers, leading them to suffocate to death. He also used that incident for a scene in the film. After working with screenwriters Gabriel Dowrick and Steven Elder, Skin Trade was born.

The film begins with a sting operation gone wrong, with Cassidy killing the son of Serbian sex trafficker Viktor Dragovic. Naturally wanting revenge, Viktor has Cassidy’s hot wife and daughter killed. He barely survives and somehow gets up from his hospital bed to find Viktor in Thailand. His FBI colleague Reed (Michael Jai White) goes after him. In Thailand, we meet Tony Vitayakui (Tony Jaa), who is working on cases regarding human trafficking. After a brief misunderstanding, Tony begins to trust Cassidy and they work together to stop Viktor from transporting more enslaved girls. In between all of this dialogue, there are lots of awesome fighting sequences between Lundgren, Jaa, and White.


At 57, Lundgren still proves he has what it takes to be an action star. He takes on his opponents with his brute strength. (The guy is a monster.) During one of the scenes, he easily threw Jaa around like a rag doll. He’s truly a giant of a man, and it works. Jaa showed us why he was the perfect choice for this role with his fast martial arts moves and his ability to make it look easy, when it’s really not. The choreography between Jaa and White was really well executed. Using the entire warehouse in the film, no room was left unbroken or undamaged. I think that was the most memorable scene in the film and a good reason to watch the film.

The storyline sounds like a typical cheesy action film, but it does touch on a serious and difficult topic – human trafficking. Throughout the movie, it was difficult to focus on the human trafficking storyline. There was just so much going on within the story – revenge, fighting, strippers, family fights – until the end when you see the girls being released from the cages. Lundgren and director Ekachai Uekrongtham wanted to show the sad truth behind the dangerous underworld of the girls involved and included human trafficking statistics in the end, but it ended up feeling forced. I appreciated it, nonetheless.

Final Reaction

The film has all the elements to a great old school action cliche: the perfect daughter, the hot young wife, death of the family, the traitorous bad cop, nudity, a foreign rich villain who loves his family, the prostitute with a heard of gold, awesome fight scenes, a life lesson, and the need for revenge. This doesn’t get anymore old school. There is even a rocket launcher! A rocket launcher, guys! If you missed the old school type of martial arts/action film, I’d recommend you go see this.

Rating: 3/5 Atoms

NR 3 Atoms - C

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Laura Sirikul
Laura Sirikul 1849 posts

Trekkie. Jedi. Whovian. Sherlockian. Hobbit. Sanrio. Comics. I am Spartacus. Warrior Princess. Superhero. Nerd. Follow me @lsirikul