There are moments in moviedom (yes, I said moviedom) where you get Twin Films. Twin films are movies that essentially have the same premise that come out during the same year with the film studios racing to put their movie out first. Examples of twin films: Armageddon and Deep Impact, Saving Private Ryan and Thin Red Line, Volcano and Dante’s Peak, Showgirls and Striptease, Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down. Now we have Skin Trade and Skin Traffik. Both movies have a story about human trafficking, both star action stars and typically one is in every way better than the other. Even though Skin Trade was announced first Skin Traffik was the first to be released so here it is...my review for Skin Traffik.
Skin Traffik is about a tortured hitman named Bradley (Gary Daniels) haunted by an assignment that goes wrong and cost the life of his target’s daughter. Now out of the game, he lives a life of solitude until one day he stops a pimp from abusing one of his prostitutes which leads to him taking on a prostitution ring that has higher criminal ties than he thought. While taking on the criminal underworld, he’s also trying to locate the sister of the prostitute he saved with the assistance of his former employer, who is happy that his top assassin is back in the game.
A few changes aside, this movie is pretty much Kiss of the Dragon (you remember that Jet Li movie that came out in 2001 with the Mystikal-heavy soundtrack) with a “you know we’re gonna do a sequel, right?” ending. I will give it this: Gary Daniels did seem to be fighting opponents that gave him a bit of a challenge but it was clear that he was the superior fighter. I could harp on the story but again this movie is Kiss of the Dragon and even that movie didn’t have a great story, let alone a decent one. The only difference between this and KOD is that the action in KOD is way more exciting.
Skin Traffik just didn’t hit the way I wanted it to and it being an independent movie isn’t a viable excuse. I’ve said before that, in this day and age, not having a huge budget isn’t an excuse for your film being just plain bad. I guess when your director is doing everything like writing, directing, editing and fight choreography you get what you get, but that just goes to show the importance of having a film crew.
The gore from the visual effects were obviously CGI and it wasn’t even worth the touching up to make it believable. The fights were OK at best, but one thing that bugged me to no end was the whole speeding up the fight effect. It didn’t make anything better. In fact, it just made the fights bad.
Gary Daniels does the best he can with the script he’s given and you can tell that he cares like he does with most of his movies, but it’s just bad. Even with a list of legit former A-list actors (Eric Roberts, Mickey Rourke, Michael Madsen, Darryl Hannah and Jeff Fahey) you still couldn’t let the bad dialogue slide (though I did find Michael Madsen mildly entertaining at times). I really don’t care for the character Bradley or the prostitute, Jessica, who he’s helping. For the most part, I found myself sitting through the movie just for the sake of getting through it.
Okay I’m going to go on a short rant but I’ll give you the score: 2 out of 5.
Warning: RANT INCOMING
Now it’s short rant time!!! I like Gary Daniels I really do. I think he’s an amazing martial artist but damn it these low-budget movies he keeps doing aren’t doing him any favors. I know Daniels from his hilarious fight scene with Jackie Chan in the live-action version of classic anime City Hunter to the cringe worthy live adaption of Fist of the North Star. When they announced he was going to be in The Expendables I was like “Finally Gary Daniels is about to get the shine he deserves” but did he? NOPE! He gets barely any screen time - a fight with Jet Li that they gloss over until the end of it where he gets a double ass whooping by both Statham and Li (this wouldn’t be the first time The Expendables let me down *cough* Statham vs Adkins *cough*).
Then there was Tekken. I think he did a great job as Bryan Fury but too bad the movie is a piece of shit. It’s like in these indie action films he gets his Wesley Snipes on. I’ll explain: he fights opponents that pose no real threat and when they try and make it seem like the main antagonist is a major opposition for him you’re sitting there unconvinced that Daniels’ character is in any real danger. I just want to see him in better because he deserves to be in better action films whether it be Hollywood or indie.