'Traded': Film Review

TRADED still 2- Kris Kristofferson -H 2016
Courtesy of Cinedign
A solid cast of familiar faces brings gravitas to this old-fashioned oater.

Michael Pare plays a reformed gunslinger called back into action when his daughter is kidnapped by a white slavery ring in Timothy Woodward Jr.'s Western drama.

A strong cast of familiar faces provides much-needed gravitas to Timothy Woodward Jr.'s Western drama delivering cinematic comfort food to fans of the venerable genre. Starring Michael Pare (displaying a weathered but still formidable charisma that moviegoers will recall from the likes of Streets of Fire and Eddie and the Cruisers), Traded features nary an original element but nonetheless registers as a solid if minor oater.

Set in 1880s Kansas, the story concerns Clay Travis (Pare), a reformed gunslinger living a peaceful life as a rancher with his wife Amelia (Constance Brenneman), 17-year-old daughter Lily (Brittany Elizabeth Williams) and younger son Jake (Hunter Fischer). The family's life is torn apart when Jake is killed by a rattlesnake, sending his mother into a deep depression and driving Lily to leave home unannounced and pursue her dream of being a "Harvey Girl" (Google it if you haven't seen the 1946 Judy Garland musical).

Following his daughter to Wichita, Clay discovers that she's been captured into white slavery and forcibly brought to Dodge City. Needless to say, this doesn't sit well with him, so he continues his pursuit while confronting a variety of villains along the way, including a ruthless brothel owner (country singer Trace Adkins, making for a convincing bad guy); a scoundrel (Martin Kove) who's sexually abusing his stepdaughter; and the white slaver played by (who else?) Tom Sizemore. One of the few sympathetic figures he encounters is elderly barkeep Billy (Kris Kristofferson, whose Western bona fides include Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid), who offers philosophical advice along with a gun and a horse when necessary.

Western fans will gleefully embrace every clichéd element offered up here, including the requisite quick-draw shootout in the middle of the street, in this case ominously prefaced by a man admonishing Clay, "You killed five men in Abilene!" And when Clay gets into an altercation with a less-than-helpful stagecoach clerk, he thoughtfully advises the man, "Take your glasses off," before punching him in the face and breaking his nose.

Even the look of Traded is comforting, thanks to the use of such well-worn shooting locations as Paramount Ranch and Big Sky Movie Ranch. It practically gives you the feeling that if you had shown up at the right time and been outfitted with the proper period garb, you might have been recruited as an extra.

Distributor: Cinedigm Entertainment Group
Production companies: Status Media & Entertainment, Puppy Entertainment
Cast: Michael Pare, Trace Adkins, Kris Kristofferson, Tom Sizemore, Constance Brenneman, Brittany Elizabeth Williams, Hunter Fischer, Martin Kove
Director: Timothy Woodward Jr.
Screenwriter: Mark Esslinger
Producers: Jose Alvarado, Lauren De Normandie, Craigar Grosvenor, Michael John Long Jr., Timothy Woodward Jr.
Executive producer: J. Mark Grosvenor,
Director of photography: Pablo Diez
Production designer: Christian Ramirez
Editor: Ned Thorne
Costume designer: Nikki Pelley
Composer: Samuel Joseph Smythe
Casting: Lauren De Normandie

Not rated, 98 minutes