Friday Night Movie: Skin Trade (2015)

It’s been a long week but it’s finally Friday, the baby is asleep, my wife is out at the movies with a friend, and I sit here with a glass of Argentinian Cabernet and a freshly purchased rental from Amazon:

09bc8-skin-trade-affiche_480678_40105I had blogged about wanting to see this a while back, and now it’s a reality.  Not only do I get to watch it, I get to see it before it’s in the theatres!  As if this will ever make it to any theatre near me!

It’s been a while since I’ve sat down and watched a movie for this blog.  The reason for this blog’s existence was to chronicle every inspiration for the shirts at, which is basically tech, bad movies, music, beer, and literature.  Lately doing movie reviews has become almost impossible with our schedules.  Tonight is the perfect night to watch this movie, and possibly get inspired to come up with a new shirt idea.

Roughly 90 Minutes later…

What a masterpiece.  So here’s the deal.  From what I’ve read, Dolph was inspired to tell this story because of an article he had read in the paper regarding a cargo container full of girls that died from heat exhaustion and suffocation.  He pays tribute to this incident in the film when a shipment of girls arrives at a loading dock.  Ron Pearlman plays Viktor Dragovic, the godfather of the sex slave industry.  In the scene at the loading docks, they discover the shipment of girls was a disaster, as they were all dead and covered in flies.

This is the scene that makes Dolph’s character, Nick Cassidy, obsessed with shutting down this industry.  He has a daughter of his own which further motivates him, as he can’t stand the thought of a young girl getting forced into slavery.

Everyone in this film has a terrible accent.  Ron Pearlman’s Serbian accent, is one of the worst I’ve ever heard.  Dolph Lundgren speaks in, what appears to be, some sort of regional American accent.  It’s so bad, that I wasn’t a 100% sure.

Tony Jaa plays a cop in Thailand that is also obsessed with shutting down the industry.  His English in the movie is so terrible that there must have been a discussion as to whether or not his scenes should have subtitles.  I’d also argue that Ron Pearlman should have had subtitles as well.

skintrade3Without getting into spoilers, Dolph ends up getting extremely wrapped up in this game, becoming a pawn in police corruption, and causing Dolph and Jaa to partake in numerous fight scenes before discovering that they share the same goal.  The fight scenes are great, well choreographed, and realistic in that Jaa takes some Ivan Drago style blows which do some heavy damage.

IMG_1363.CR2Dolph Lundgren continues to write and participate in awesome action movies.  While guys like Van Damme and Seagal struggle to make anything worth watching, Dolph remains on the cusp of breaking back into theatres.

A few non-spoiler notes that I took during the movie:

-When Tony Jaa rescues a random sex slave at the beginning of the movie, he tells her that she can go home.  He then gives her a tiny stack of bills from a bag full of cash like a total cheapskate.

-When Ron Pearlman first appears in the movie, please be careful not to have liquids in your mouth while he speaks his first set of lines.

-There is a scene in the movie where Dolph is stressed out from his job and comes home to his wife.  She ask’s him if he forgot something, hinting that it’s their 13th anniversary, which he missed.  He tells her that when they wake up in the morning, he will go out and get her a dozen beautiful roses.  She then gives him sex.  I’m pretty sure this would never happen for any guy who pulled that one.

-There is a chase scene with Jaa chasing Lundgren, where Jaa is on foot running, and Lundgren is trying to escape him on numerous vehicles.  Somehow, throughout the entire chase scene, Jaa remains about 15 feet behind him with no explanation other than: “He must be the fastest guy on earth.”


-There is a great scene where Dolph needs to extract information from a guy who was just shot numerous times in the chest and appeared to be dead.  Dolph revives him with compression CPR…

This movie is worth watching if you want to see a fun action movie.  Without giving away the ending, it’s definitely not an ending you can guess.

The movie is on Amazon for a $9.99 rental because it’s a “rental before the theatrical release.”  It’s well worth it.  If you decide to check it out, rent it from the Amazon link below as a small portion of that goes to me and it helps keep my sites up and running!

Click to be taken to Amazon for this rental as I get a commission from Amazon to support this blog. Thanks!

Action Movie Watch: "Skin Trade"


Action fans, the scene has been dull as of late.  Unless you are a fan of comic book movies, the only action films you might see these days are probably from your own collection.

Last night I was surfing Hulu, taking a look at the new trailers that were added, and one caught my attention.  The film is called, “Skin Trade,” and is staring Tony Jaa, Dolph Lundgren, and Ron Pearlman.

Detective Nick Cassidy’s (Dolph Lundgren) family gets killed by gangster Viktor Dragovic (Ron Pearlman.)  Cassidy heads to Bangkok for vengence and teams up with Thai detective Tony Vitayakui (Tony Jaa) to hunt down Dragovic and destroy his human trafficking network.  Meanwhile, FBI Agent Eddie Reed (Michael Jai White) is sent to bring Cassidy home.  But as the crossfire ensues, Cassidy has to determine who his true allies are.

Dolph Lundgren wrote the script for this, starting it in 2007 after reading the news about a van “full of girls” being smuggled into the United States from Mexico.  The van was left at the boarder by the smugglers along the boarder, and all the girls inside died of heat stroke and suffocation.

The film is set to be released on May 8, 2015.

"Rambo: Last Blood" is coming.

    Sylvester Stallone is one of my favorite action stars on earth. He is amazing.  As a kid, I watched everything he did, R-rated or not, I would find a way to watch it.  I love that I’m in my 30’s and I still get to see his movies.  Not only is he still making movies, but he unrealistically is still the bad ass hero in them, they look like they were made in the 80’s, and they are still awesome.
  According the the N.Y. Daily News Stallone has tweeted that he had just finished working on a Gangster movie, and that he was wrapping up a new (and possibly last) “Rambo” movie.  Stallone is also set to bring back Rocky Balboa in a movie called “Creed.”  Rocky will be training Apollo Creed’s son.

  I have to say, another Rocky sounds terrible, even if it’s technically about Apollo Creed’s son.  In this day in age, boxing is an afterthought.  The sport has been so badly damaged, that I’m just not sure who would even care. Another Rambo though? Most definitely!  The last Rambo movie was one of the most memorable movies I had ever seen in a theater.  “John Rambo” was one of bloodiest action movies ever.  I could best describe it as a tasteless “Saving Private Ryan.” The movie was filled with an over-usage of blood, severed limbs, a nasty rape scene, and even a seen where a baby is just casually thrown into a burning hut.  My favorite scene of the movie, and probably the most memorable, involves a jeep full of Burmese soldiers pulling up to Rambo, who is in the middle of mowing down an entire fleet of soldiers coming at him with a Gatling style rotary machine gun which has two giant shields on it to protect his eyes from other peoples brains.  The jeep pulls up within a few feet of him, and he just turns this massive gun around and unloads it into the jeep at point blank range.  A volcano of blood shoots out from the top of the vehicle.  The theater erupted in applause and laughter.  It was one of the most unintentionally funny movies I had ever seen on the big screen.  I’m hoping “Last Blood” will follow tradition.

  How should this end?  I think that Rambo has to finally die, it’s only fitting.  But he needs to die in the most manliest of ways possible.  That is going to be one hell of a brainstorming session!

Two Shows Coming to Netflix That Should Get You Excited

    The over-saturation of comic book adaptations has not really done anything for me.  I’m a comic book guy.  For some reason, the whole mega-blockbuster Marvel movie thing got away from me.  I’m not quite sure why.  The actors they get are fantastic, the effects are visually stunning, the sound is incredible – there are so many reasons why these things make hundreds of millions of dollars.  I just don’t seem to care about them.  When it comes down to it, it basically has more to do with the fact that I like a good series better than a movie.  These days I rarely sit down and watch a movie, but I’ll binge watch an amazing series.  They just have way more time to tell a better story.

    April 10, 2015 will be the date that Daredevil comes to Netflix in a 13 one-hour episode series.  “Marvel’s Daredevil” will follow the journey of Matt Murdock who became blind as a kid but had extraordinary senses, fighting injustice during the day as a lawyer and at night fighting crime in Hell’s Kitchen as Daredevil.  The show will star Charlie Cox as Dare Devil, Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page, Elden Henson as Foggy Nelson, with Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple and Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk.

    I have to admit, after the Ben Affleck Daredevil movie disaster, I had pretty much given up
 all hope that we would ever see “the man with no fear” ever again.  Getting to see this in a 13 hour long series is going to be awesome and will hopefully breathe new life into one of Marvel’s most fascinating characters.

    The second show coming to Netflix that has me excited is “Sense8” a new sci-fi drama by the incredible Wachowskis’.  “Sense8” will follow eight characters around the world who, in the wake of a tragic death, find themselves linked to each other mentally and emotionally.   According to Andy Wachowski, “They can not see and talk to each other as though they were in the same place, they have access to each others deepest secrets.  Not only must they figure out what happened and why and what it means for the future of humanity, they must do so while being hunted by an organization out to capture, kill or vivisect them.”

From the description of this, it sounds like its right up the ally of the Wachowskis’.  They missed completely on a few projects (especially “Speed Racer”) but if they can capture the feel that “The Matrix” had, this show could be awesome.

Netflix Alert: Review – "Homefront"


     I’ve been waiting for this one.  I meant to go see this in the theatre when it initially came out, but couldn’t get the time.  The plot is simple.  Statham is an ex-cop that wanted to get away from it all, took his daughter, and moved into the country so that they could ride horses in the country.  They unfortunately chose a place where everyone has horrible southern accents and where James Franco’s character “Gator”, is a ruthless, feared, psycho meth dealer.  Of course paths cross, and Statham can’t escape becoming a target.

     From the very beginning of the movie, I noticed a common theme in all of Stathom’s movies.  There doesn’t seem to ever be a character that I think would ever beat him in a fight, accept maybe Expendables 3 when he goes toe to toe with Scott Atkins.  Other than that, never.  This movie is even worse.  Throughout the movie Stathom fights overweight trashy hillbillies.  There is rarely a suspenseful scene where you sit there and think, “Oh no, how’s he going to get out of this?”  Instead, you sit there and watch as he gets surrounded by like 8 guys, and you can’t wait to see them all get completely destroyed like characters in a video game.  Its awesome.

This fight in the beginning (which lasted maybe .5 seconds started it all…

   There were a few points in which the film dragged on a little too much, but with such a simple premise, they had to fill it with something.  I had no issue with the movie, my wife found it to be boring in some spots.  They did a good job of hiding Franco from looking like a little kid picking a fight with a grown man by portraying him as “crazy.”  If you’re in the mood to watch something that involves no thinking what-so-ever, definitely relax to this film.

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Film Review: "The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz"

   I’ve been waiting for this film since the day I heard it was being released.  You may have heard of Aaron Swartz, and depending on what you have read and what source you read it from, you may have a radically different opinion then someone else.  Aaron was a brilliant kid and deserved to have his story heard.  This film does a great job of doing what the rest of the media failed to do.
   “He was the internet’s own boy, and the old world killed him” said a friend of Aaron Swartz.  I found this film enraging.  If I didn’t have a wife and a kid, I would be way more active in being a pain in the ass to our government.  At 35 years old, I have a wonderful wife and a fantastic little girl, so my passion for life is devoted to them above and beyond.  But there is a part of me that wants to be a defender of the Internet and to fight for free information.  That part of me is obviously not going to surface because I don’t want to get myself into trouble.  Aaron Swartz is a true hero and his true story is told in this film.
   When Aaron was 12 he developed a version of wikipedia (before wikipedia) that was so cutting edge, his teachers thought it was ridiculous.  They were obviously wrong.  At 14 he developed the standards for RSS.  He was so ahead of everyone else, that when he spoke in front of an audience at this young age, people found what he said captivating and that it made sense, but that they couldn’t not laugh as 80% of his head was hidden behind his laptop screen when he spoke.  He was a young kid with a vision for things internet related that the rest of the world just didn’t get.

   As Swartz got older, his focus became more political.  He became obsessed with freedom of information, primarily publications of academic research, and the fact that it should be available to everyone.  Instead publishers have taken documents and journals funded by tax dollars, and charge ridiculous amounts of money to access them.  In the end, Aaron hacked into MIT’s academic database and downloaded millions of articles with the intention of making them available for everyone.  Soon he was the victim of an “example” being set by our government during a time when legit black hat hackers were getting busted simultaneously.  He did the wrong thing at the wrong time.  The government was set on killing this kid no matter what his intentions were.  This film catches the raw emotions of his family, friends, and colleagues as they all look back on Aaron’s life during this time.
    I highly suggest watching this film. You get a really good look into this kid and his life.  The films touches on his analysis of a reading and collecting court documents that had case decisions that went hand in hand with benefiting major corporations.  You may go into this film thinking that your are about to watch a film about the kid responsible for Reddit.  You will come out of it knowing much more.

Netflix Alert: "The Last Stand"

    When I saw that this was on Netflix, I was super excited.  First off, the people that made the trailer for this should be fired.  The trailer was so hoaky, that even I had my doubts about the movie going into it.  I was wrong.  This movie was exactly what I could have hoped for.  Arnold’s first full blown movie back from politics is nothing more than your typical Arnold action film.  That’s all a guy like me can ask for.
    One thing I noticed while watching  this, was that it took me a little bit to get used to what Arnold looks like now.  He’s not like other actors, where you didn’t really notice the ageing much because you have continuously watched their movies year after year.  He was literally gone from movies for a very long time.  The initial shock of how old he actually is goes away after a little bit.  Once that leaves, its easy to get sucked into this simplistic but entertaining action thriller.  It also helps that Arnold plays an old sheriff and isn’t exactly trying to be what Stallone makes himself out to be in the “Expendables” movies.
    The movie’s plot is simple.  Arnold plays an ex-cop from the LAPD who basically decided to go the simple route after being involved in some heavy shit back in LA.  He is now the loved Sheriff in a wholesome little town full of old people, family diners, and hot country girls.  Every girl under the age of 30-35 looked like a model in country clothes.  The Police department consists of one Sheriff and four deputies.  Johnny Knoxville also has an entertaining roll in the movie as a citizen of the town that is kind of whacky and just so happens to collect weapons (obviously).  I think that this is were the trailer went wrong.  It’s very Knoxville/Arnold heavy, almost as if its a buddy flick, when in reality, Knoxville isn’t even in it that much.  Its like they made the trailer and didn’t care about getting the story across but only wanted to sell it by showing the only two stars in the movie in a sequence of scenes that made no sense.
   The ball gets rolling when an escaped convict who just so happens to be very dangerous and has a racing background, escaped custody in an elaborate sequence of events, and is racing to the border of a bridge his men made, into Mexico.  He is travelling in this modified Corvette that apparently has 1000 horsepower and can out run helicopters.  So many of the scenes involving this car gave me flashbacks to the old Knight Rider show, I often laughed. 

   Of course on the way to this bridge that they made, the convict must travel through this town, where Arnold has just become aware of this guy and has basically told the FBI to eat it as he wants to handle it himself. 
   I enjoyed this film way more than I expected to!  It was an awesome “welcome back” movie for Arnold and has gotten me even more excited for his future projects.  The action scenes were awesome, the film was really violent, and the battle scenes involving Arnold were just as bad ass as they used to be.  He’s still got it.

I definitely recommend this one.

Netflix Alert: Film Review "Overkill" (1987)

We here in Buffalo, NY are currently experiencing an actual blizzard.  Everything is shut down, major roads are closed, and its pretty much a lazy day.  I picked up the Roku remote and flipped through my recommendation list on Netflix.  This list is usually pretty absurd due to the variety of things that get watched in this house but one thing caught my eye.  You can almost guarantee that if you show me a sideshow of images and one of the images just so happens to be someone with mulleted curly hair and a Tom Selleck mustache doing karate, I’m probably going to look at that with interest.  The film was called “Overkill”, and it was a colossal pile of awesome shit.

A Tokyo cop is sent to Los Angeles to help an LAPD detective break up a yakuza (Japanese organized crime syndicate) ring operating in the city“- IMDB

    You knew the movie was going to be awesome when the beginning sequence set the stage with a police chief narrating the introduction to the story with an over the top voice straight out of an old gangster movie.  The movie basically revolves around this California cop “Mickey” who looks absolutely ridiculous.  He is constantly either shirtless or wearing completely unbuttoned vests with no shirt on underneath.  He occasionally wears this generic wind-breaker coat, but still ceases to put on any shirt under it.  The best is when he is just casually doing work at the police station, as everyone else is adequately dressed accept for him.  He looks like a male exotic dancer throughout the film.  There is even a scene were he has to go undercover as a male stripper and performs.  Any normal person filming this would have at least had him act semi awkward performing his dance, but this guy goes all out like he had been doing it for 10 years.  His dance moves reminded me of when Slater used to  break it down on “Saved by the Bell.”  The guy clearly had dancing in his skill set.
    Basically Mickey is noticing increased activity from the Yakuza (Japanese Mafia) and wants to put a stop to it.  They make it clear that nobody else at the police station even cares about it accept for him.  He states multiple times that he doesn’t want California to turn into 1920’s Chicago and that he would defend California himself if he had to.  Mickey and his partner then break every law on the books to get information on the Yakuza.  The movie is loaded with terrible action scenes where you barely get to see guns fire.  The would do quick cuts and you would often see people bleeding from areas they weren’t even shot in.
    Perhaps the most ridiculous sequence in the movie is the last 3 minutes (this doesn’t even really spoil anything).  In about 3 minutes, Mickey quits the force.  They show him walk into a karate school where he watched the sensei perform with a sword for maybe 20 seconds.  Mickey is then shown in his living room, soaking with sweat holding the sword and yelling while doing simplistic strikes with it.  Then Mickey is working at the Sushi restaurant of the kid he meets in the movie.  It was like a terribly done montage to make Mickey “just a little Japanese”.  They cap off this 3 minute sequence by having the kid that owns the Sushi Restaurant ask Mickey if he would ever be able to walk again (he was in a wheelchair).  The scene quickly changes to the beach where Mickey places the paralysed kid onto a horse, and they literally go riding off into the sunset.  A paralysed kid riding full speed on a horse…….
    This is a great film to laugh at and wasn’t bad enough to make me turn it off.  If you end up getting stuck home because of a blizzard, I would recommend this for a good laugh.

“The Body Count is Overwhelming”

Netflix Alert: "Messenger of Death"

    There are some beauties on Netflix this month.  Here is one from one of my favorite actors of all time, Charles Bronson.  I have seen most of his films but somehow missed this one.  “Messenger of Death” is the story of this family in a private Mormon community that was was slaughtered by two evil and mysterious visitors wielding shotguns.  They destroy 3 women and 6 little children.  Like most Bronson movies, there isn’t much left for the imagination in this brutal scene (although they spare you the imagery of the kids actually getting hit with bullets).  Bronson plays a station wagon driving (with wood paneling) reporter who covers the story, and (big shocker) decides to take matters into his own hands.

    Like most Bronson movies, the police fail to handle the case correctly due to the laws holding them back. In this case, they have to release the prime suspect from custody unless they planned on charging him with something, plus they say that the crime was outside their jurisdiction (which is kind of hilarious because they worked the crime scene.)  Of course Bronson thinks all of this is bullshit.  Even though Bronson knows the prime suspect they let go isn’t the killer, he is convinced that its one of two Mormon brothers, both blaming each other for the crime.  Bronson eventually gets wrapped up in trying to prevent a group of angry Mormons from hunting down who they believe committed this crime.  Things heat up when an elaborate scheme starts to unfold revealing the real motive behind all that has taken place.  
    Not my favorite Bronson movie by no stretch, but definitely not a stinker.  I think my problem with the movie was just that Bronson was way to laid back in this.  He lacked the bad ass element and horrible dialog that he was known for, especially for being a Cannon release which was known for being his worst (best) work.
    Perhaps the icing on the cake in this movie, is when a character during a fairly climatic scene puts a gun up to his temple and pulls the trigger which results in a bang, s teeny puff of smoke, and perhaps the weakest bullet on earth as it doesn’t exit his head.  One of the more ridiculous scenes I’ve encountered in a movie.  You still get to see a few classic Bronson hand to hand combat scenes so the movie doesn’t totally disappoint.  This is one to watch on a lazy Sunday.  Not a classic, but enjoyable.
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Netflix Alert: "Miami Connection" – Possibly the best "worst" film ever.

    Sometimes the new kid sleeps on my chest, one of the things I love to do with the new spawn.  Every time she falls asleep on my chest, I fire up the Netflix and watch something totally sweet.  Normally I’d feel somewhat guilty wasting time doing this, but in these cases, “I have to”, right?
    This time, I watched a film I had read a ton about, “Miami Connection.”  The story behind this film (correct me if I’m wrong) is that it was made in the 80’s and but then wasn’t really seen for decades until Drafthouse Films took the film and restored it for blue ray release in 2012.  Here is the plot description from IMDB:

A martial arts rock band goes up against a band of motorcycle ninjas who have tightened their grip on Florida’s narcotics trade.”

I was hooked on this movie after the first few minutes.  It was so terrible, that I loved every second of it.  The music, the costumes, the terrible acting-this movie had everything.

One of my favorite lines in the movie came after a scene where this guy and his goons were trying to get the martial arts rock band, “Dragon Sound”, to stop playing the club.  They of course got their asses kicked so they went to this other guys clubhouse (which appeared to be just a gym/dojo) to ask for their assistance and to strike a deal with him and his gang.  After they make a deal, the guy tells him:

“One more thing I should warn you about.  These guys are black belts at Tae Kwon Do and are pretty bad.”

I nearly pissed myself

This movie is a riot, and when the Black Belt Band plays their music, you get full performances.  Normally I’d be annoyed with something like this, but in this case, you can’t wait until you get to hear the next song! The band plays full performances shirtless with Karate pants and black belts.  It’s unreal and I suggest you watch it now!

First the trailer:

A few clips from this masterpiece:

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