Directed by Wych Kaosm, Zero Tolerance seems like an action feature billed as a thriller. An ex-CIA operative, played by Dustin Nguyen discovers his estranged daughter murdered in Bangkok. He hooks up with his former partner, played by Sahajak Boonthanakit, and together they delve into the city’s criminal world. They discover his daughter’s devious past and uncover her killer.
With names like Kane Kosugi, Dustin Nguyen, Gary Daniels and Scott Adkins, you easily suspect many hand-to-hand action scenes. Not so with Zero Tolerance because the movie graces only two full-length brawls. One brawl is a real karate fight, which is cool to watch as Nguyen and Adkins try to take each other down. If you go crazy over martial arts and hand-to-hand combat in movies, then you might be disappointed in the fight scenes.
The characters are strong in the movie with a weak storyline. Some plot points are left unclear and the pace is slow at times. Dustin and the other actors do a great job in playing the good guys against bad guys while dealing with amoral personalities. One aspect about the movie I did not like is the repugnant strain of chauvinism. It is not just in one scene but throughout the movie, and even the good guys were abusing the women. I was taken aback by the abuse because this is supposed to be an anti-trafficking movie.
I found out after viewing the movie that the scenes with Adkins and Kosugi were shot a couple of years after the unreleased movie was canned. I didn’t even notice, but still it doesn’t save the movie. It is decent enough if you are a diehard martial arts fan. You can rent it or catch it on cable.
Skin Trade is one of those direct to DVD movies that ends up being a really good movie, and probably would have done well in the theaters. Directed by Ekachai Uekrongtham, the story is about the buying and selling of human beings, particularly women, and two detectives from different countries trying to put an end to the human trafficking ring. One cop is from Thailand. Detective Tony Vitayakul, played by dynamic martial arts champion Tony Jaa. The other cop is from NYC. Detective Nick Cassidy, played by Dolph Lundgren. Turns out they are both after the same crime lord from Serbia. Viktor, played by Ron Perlman, runs the trafficking underworld while getting his family involved at different locations around the world.
Detective Cassidy tracks down Viktor and his youngest son. They have a shootout, and Viktor’s son is killed, but Viktor escapes. The crime lord backlashes at Cassidy by having his men kill his wife, wound him and kidnap his daughter.
Cassidy decides to go after Viktor on his own because he doesn’t trust FBI Agent Reed, played Michael Jai White. He lands in Thailand. Reed alerts Detective Vitayakul that he is in his country. Both the FBI and Vitayakul go after Cassidy, and he escapes barely as Vitayakul chases after Cassidy. Here we get to see Jaa and Lundgren at their most impressive martial arts skills. What a chase this scene offers with speeds through the streets and alleys of Thailand. It ends with an awesome all-out exchange of blows between the two. Stuff like this makes the movie impressive.
Tony and Cassidy figure out the traitor, come to terms and work together to take down Viktor, including the human trafficking ring. More hand-to-hand combat occurs, keeping the movie all action. At the same time, the story shines through and is better than most movies of this genre. The acting is good. All in all, the movie is worth watching.