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Review Skin Trade (2014): Tony Jaa versus Michael Jai White, Fight, 5 seconds later, what over so soon???

genre: martial arts, action

Long before the film came out there was a lot of hype build around this and even I was looking forward to seeing this title because I mean Tony Jaa, Michael Jai White and Dolph Lundgren in one movie has to be at least interesting action wise. And I am sorry to say I am very disappointed. I never expected Skin Trade to be a masterpiece. But I had hoped that this movie would bring Tony Jaa back on the map. His last movie Tom Yung Goong 2 was beyond horrible. It completely destroyed the original with it's badness and made a mockery out of his skills by resorting to cgi and wireworks. In this flick he goes back to basic which is good but apart from a few moves it remains very basic. Tony Jaa is an amazing martial artist but he has made some bad choices career wise. The sequels to Ong Bak were certainly ambitious only it made him lose sight of what he was good at. Tony Jaa should just devote his time to martial arts in films and nothing else. Everything else is only distracting him. It's not like the action scenes are bad. They are adequate and decent. But they are never truly exciting, thrilling or spectacular. Dolph is too old to do some decent fighting so he most of the time sticks to shooting and glaring into the camera. Tony Jaa struggles with his English so much that it affects his martial arts. And Michael Jai White is not in the flick long enough to show what he is capable off. I think everyone was waiting for him to face off against Tony Jaa. And it certainly is one of the highlights of the film. But it's over before you know it and pretty generic if you ask me. To top it off they tried to give this movie a social and political message. Please, was that really necessary?  It pains me to see martial artists like Tony Jaa and White underused so much. White certainly can act but then you do have to give him something to work with. But his acting is not what he was in this movie for. Same goes for Tony Jaa. He is at his best when he gets to show of his skills. Then why don't you let them shine? It's a B movie. There is no place for pretension or seriousness. How can you ever take a film starring Dolph Lundgren serious? I mean just look at the guy. So let go of what resembles a plot and focus on the action. 

Overall Skin Trade is decent enough. But for people like me who love the genre this film simply does not deliver. I don't mind bad acting, bad plot and all of that as long as the action is good. And Skin Trade as dropped the ball on this. Real shame, since the potential was there.

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