Jeez, how the mighty have fallen…Mickey Rourke, Michael Madsen, Daryl Hannah, Eric Roberts, Alan Ford…Skin Traffik (aka A Hitman in London) features an all-star cast (if this were 1983) and has so much scenery chewing it needs a dental plate.
The artwork is Seagal-esque. Not a good sign. But instead of the Pony-tailed Guru of Glacial, the less Expendable (and less expensive Expendable) kickboxer Gary Daniels stars as a hitman, Bradley. He gets mixed up in a human trafficking ring that is so dangerous, it replaces letter Cs with a K.
We’re familiar with Daniels’ work via the absolutely dreadful straight-to-video clunker Hunt to Kill (what other kind of hunting is there?) co-starring alongside the Texas Rattlesnake himself, Stone Cold Steve Austin. Here, he’s tasked with looking stoic, then pensive, then stoic, while occasionally leaping sideways and firing guns (our least favorite action cliche along with falling from from great heights after being shot instead of just crumpling forward).
In Skin Traffik, Mickey Rourke is Vogel, which means bird in German and Rourke, like a phoenix, was reborn in The Wrestler. It seemed his career was back on track. But here he flames out badly, and his face is so pancaked with foundation it needs a side of blueberries.
Vogel is a London gangster in possession of a “disk” (that MacGuffin of spy movies). And hitman Bradley’s job is to procure the disk. But something goes terribly wrong. And there’s an obstacle in his path: a slew of goonish human trafficking baddies. Bradley lays waste to most of them and finds himself the guardian of a Russian prostitute whose sister has been turned out in Amsterdam.
She has a vicious Russian pimp named Sergei, whose accent is more Chekov than Chekhov, and this film boldly goes to various locales (Holland / UK), as if it’s some kind of internationalist spy caper. It isn’t. It looks like a License to Kill SNL sketch. And it’s comparably overlong.
From what we can gather, in London, Daryl Hannah and Michael Madsen (Zhanna and The Boss respectively) oversee a sex trade ring themselves (it’s hard to hear the dialogue over the eardrum-crushing soundtrack). Skin Traffik is worth seeing if only for Madsen’s zany World War II speech about a German army division’s hats. If only we were making this up.
Through some convoluted machination, we find out that the trafficking cappo di tutti cappi is Eric Roberts, who leads an Illuminati-type organization called The Executive. If he were a member of an acting executive, the Board of Directors would seek his replacement. He’s hammier than a hamster and mostly sits behind a desk, grinning. Nice work if you can get it.
With a body count rivaling The Bard’s finest work, this tragedy ends up in a showdown between Bradley and The Executive in an airplane hangar (one of the favorite locales for gun fights other than abandoned warehouses in crappy action flicks.)
Guns drawn, pistols at dawn. One big yawn.
Who comes out on top?
Certainly not the viewer as this is bottom-feeding stuff.
*1/2 (out of 5)