by Adam M. Wilcox
What would a quintessential 80s film be comprised of? Rock and roll with a lot of keyboards, ninjas, cocaine, mullets, martial arts, cocaine, motorcycles, cocaine, a lot of gore, and did I forget to mention cocaine? Somewhere in Miami, in 1988 this film came out and was laughed out of the theater. In spite of that, Miami Connection is my spirit animal.
For me to poke any fun at this movie would be mean spirited and just wrong even by my standards. While this movie is definitely badly shot, badly acted, and heavy on laughs, it is very clear that this movie though misguided, does come from a place of love. It has a lot of heart. Tae Kwon Do expert Y.K. Kim believed in this movie so much he put mortgaged his martial arts studio, his house, borrowed every last nickel he could to make it. Unfortunately it wouldn’t find its audience until 2012 when Austin TX’s Alamo Draft House pulled this album out of mothballs. The film was so well received that the Draft House gave it a second release on digital streaming services, limited VHS, DVD, and Blu-Ray.
The premise is pretty simple really, take all of your favorite parts of Eddie and The Cruisers, Enter the Ninja, and Miami Vice, and assemble a wicked action flick. A pack of motorcycle riding Ninjas (the Harley Davidson kind, not the sport bike kind) decide to ambush a coke deal, and steal the coke “somewhere in Miami” that’s the actual caption on the establishing shot. Later the biker ninjas go to a club where “The Dragon Sound” is playing. The Dragon Sound is the most goodie two shows bunch of Tae Kwon Do black belt pop music playing dudes you will ever see. One of the brothers of the biker ninjas is pissed off because his sister is in the band. Eventually this brother’s anger gets the band and the ninjas into a war with each other. The rest of the movie is over the top martial arts, bad acting, full length songs by the band faking the music playing very badly, limbs being sliced off with blood squirting out, shirtless dudes feeding each other grapes, a guy that looks like he got kicked out of Hall & Oates, some insanely bad accents, some really over the top bad acting. Honestly to the movie’s credit, the action is really good! I mean it is fucking great! Obviously the movie was shot on a budget, but I am always super impressed at how many extras are in this movie. The fights are always spectacular, and the effects are the good kind of practical blood and guts effects that we took for granted in the 80s. Not to mention the synth scores that are trying to emulate the works of the famous Michael Mann TV show, does a pretty good job of being catchy and trendy. Speaking of trendy, I guarantee that at least one of the stupid songs “performed” by The Dragon Sound will be stuck in your head for weeks. For me it’s “Friends Through Eternity”.
This movie is a laugh a minute and it makes me so happy every time I watch it, that it is my new favorite film to watch when I am having a bad day, and I need something to make me happy again. For a really good time, go to YouTube and type in: “Dragon Sound: Friends Through Eternity” and watch the full length video that is actually a part of the film, or just type in “Miami Connection”, and watch the official 2012 trailer. To quote the film “Only through the absence of violence can we achieve peace”, well only through laughter at watching Miami Connection will you achieve nirvana? This movie gets nothing lower than 5 out of 5 cheese curds; it’s an instant classic, a crowd pleaser, totally worth skipping the rental and going straight to Blu-ray, I cannot say enough good things about it. If you have Amazon Prime, you can watch this one for free with, or without the RiffTrax commentary. Either one works. If you have Vudu, you can also currently watch this one free with ads. If you grew up in the 80’s think of all the money you save now by not having to buy Aquanet hair spray, and Ninja repellent.