Late last year we were sent the true story of Frida Farrell, a woman who was conned into visiting a photographer’s apartment and then sold into the sex slave industry.
Traffik attempts to highlight this problem once more, only this time with a story that is pure fiction and a lot more ‘Hollywood’.
Brea, Paula Patton (Warcraft: The Beginning, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol), and her boyfriend John, Omar Epps (House (TV), Alfie), take a romantic getaway offered to them by John’s friend Darren, Laz Alonso (Avatar, Detroit).
They head on out to backwater USA and, on stopping at a gas station, have a run-in with some local hoodlums on motorbikes. Just as it looks like it might turn nasty the sheriff, Missi Pyle (Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle, Galaxy Quest), turns up and saves the day.
However, that’s not the end of it as, upon arriving at the house, Brea discovers a girl she bumped into in the rest room has dropped her phone into her bag. Remembering something the girl said to her, the gang (now four of them as Darren and his girlfriend have turned up unexpectedly) work out the pass code for the phone and take a look.
What they find are a bunch of photos of young, white girls, not wearing much and with a lot of bruises. They arrive at the trafficking conclusion just as the bad guy, Luke Goss (Blade II, Hellboy II), arrives to get his phone back.
What was supposed to be a nice, relaxing few days away, turns into a nightmare as burly, tattooed (aren’t they always), bikers with guns turn up to “sort ’em out”.
If it seems like I got a little bored writing the description then you would be correct, though not a bored as I was watching this film.
It’s all very noble to create something that highlights a problem, whether it’s something as serious as sex-trafficking or as trivial as people not washing their hands after they’ve been to the toilet.
However, you still need to keep the story interesting, particularly if it’s a work of fiction, and you absolutely need to stay away from any awful cliché’s, particularly if your subject is as serious as sex-trafficking.
Sadly, writer and director Deon Taylor (Meet The Blacks, Chain Letter), doesn’t do any of this. Traffik is like watching any, generic, Hollywood thriller. We’ve seen all the characters before, we’ve seen the ending before, you’ll have guessed the majority of the film before the halfway point.
As for the cast, Epps looks distinctly bored throughout, Goss is, well, Luke Goss, Alonso – I don’t even want to know what he was thinking – Pyle is a walking cliché and Patton does ok but it’s far from the best thing you’ve seen her in.
Not even the addition of William Fichtner (Crash, Black Hawk Down) as Patton’s editor, boss, can save the movie, given he too is your cliché movie boss and chronically underused.
Traffik attempts to shed light on a serious subject that needs to be in the spotlight further. Sadly, if this is the way Hollywood attempts to handle things it will be a while before it gains traction this way.
There are some extras on the DVD, making of, the look of, that sort of thing. The transfer looks ok though the movie is very, very dark in places (as in colour, not tone).