review by Bobby Blakey
Westerns are a genre that is really trying to make a comeback, but still doesn’t offer up a ton of big hits. The latest Traded has a pretty good cast including Michael Pare, Trace Adkins, Kris Kristofferson, Tom Sizemore, and Martin Kove, but does it offer anything to help it stand out or will it be gunned down at sundown?
Traded follows sharpshooter turned rancher Clay Travis who goes from happily married father of two to a man on a mission after the tragic death of his son and the disappearance of his daughter. Determined to bring his daughter home safely, and to protect what little family he has left, Clay leaves his quiet ranch and heads to Wichita and then to Dodge City while tracking an evil brothel owner, LaVoie, with the help of an unlikely companion, Billy. Together they set out to destroy LaVoie and his henchman and save Clay's daughter while leaving a trail of gun smoke and dead bodies in their wake. As a whole this film lays up as a pretty standard western, but does try to step up the revenge action in hopes to make something stand out. It doesn’t quite push it to that next level like they may have hoped, but there is some great action moments that show signs of what it could have been. The cast all do a good job and despite the strange decision with the box art this is Michael Pare’s show. I know he hasn’t been the draw he was earlier in his career, but he does a great job in the role and I feel this kind of box art is very misleading and could hurt the finished product for those expecting a different film. Getting passed that there is an old school gritty western here that brings the action and fully plants itself into a good revenge flick that while has some shortcomings with the pacing and holding back at times, still manages to entertain.
In the end this film isn’t doing anything to take the western genre to the next level, but it is one that is worth checking out if you love the genre. Outside of Pare note that most of the cast are supporting players or just cameos. While this may not seem important it will likely help you to enjoy the movie more knowing this and not getting the disappointed feeling as though you were cheated. In addition to the film this release also includes deleted scenes, commentary and a making of featurette.