Miami Connection (1987)
Film review #579
Director: Richard Park, Y.K. Kim
SYNOPSIS: A drug deal in Miami is intercepted by a gang of motorcycle riding ninjas. Meanwhile, the Sister of one of the ninjas has joined the band “Dragon Soul,” and her brother disapproves, leading to a lot of martial arts fighting between just about everyone on the streets of Miami.
THOUGHTS/ANALYSIS: Miami Connection is a 1987 martial arts film. The film opens up with a drug deal being intercepted by a gang of motorcycle riding ninjas: just in case you’re wondering what kind of film you’re about to experience. The plot of the film is no less bizarre, as it revolves around a band named Dragon Soul, whose members are orphans and best friends, and learn taekwondo with their mentor and fellow bandmember Mark, played by Y.K. Kim, who co-directed, produced, wrote, and nearly bankrupted himself to get this film made. There isn’t really much of an overarching story here, other than everyone in Miami just wants to pick a fight with the band for one reason or another, so they usually have to fight their way out. There’s a plot concerning one of the bandmembers finding his biological Father as well, but nothing really leads to anything or goes anywhere. There’s a message about the band wanting to travel over the world spreading peace and love or something, but that seems rather drowned out by the mass fighting on the streets they get involved in every ten minutes or so.
Despite all the woeful dialogue, bad acting, and lack of any real story, there is something very charming and enjoyable about this film: its cheesy and nonsensical, but it’s always entertaining as you never quite know what it is going to attempt next. It is a “so bad it’s good” film, and earnestly one of the best. You can tell Kim was deeply passionate about making this film and spreading a message about Taekwondo and brotherhood, but he had absolutely no experience making films in any capacity, and the fact that he had complete control over this film shows. There’s nothing mean-spirited or any sense of a cash-grab, and the good intentions of the filmmaker shine through.
I think it’s safe to say you won’t see anything else like Miami Connection: it exists in its own universe of 80’s martial arts action and music that, while makes no sense and lacks any kind of filmmaking knowledge, still manages to make a cinematic event that’s still authentic and chaotic enough to make it entertaining, and worthwhile to watch. It’s really not the kind of film you can sum up and review, and perhaps that makes it a bit of essential cinema.