What even is the Miami Connection?
author: matt thompson | contributor
Making all kinds of connections. / Jeremy Davis
This film is bad. Watch it.
It was a hot summer night when I first discovered Miami Connection (Dir. Richard Park). As was my custom, I sat at my desk bingeing RedLetterMedia’s Best of the Worst series on YouTube as I guzzled down a fresh can of Tab before the show’s hosts began to discuss the film in question. From the clips they showed and the passion in their voices, I knew I had to see it with my own eyes.. For the next hour-twenty-five, my unprepared brain was subject to the most spectacularly embarrassing work of horrific art since the days of Tommy Wiseau.
Connection begins, as any good movie should, with ninjas on dirt bikes ambushing drug dealers and stealing their cocaine for themselves. After the master ninja scolds his clan for not stealing enough money, we are greeted with a credits montage while some glam-rock singer describes the scene we just watched. After the song ends, the film introduces the other antagonists, Bearded Man with Feather Earring and Mysterious Biker Gangster. I’ll be honest, I’ve watched this garbage five times now and I still don’t know if their names are ever mentioned.
Anyways, Earring and Biker walk into a club just as Tai-Kwon-Do rock band, Dragon Sound (our protagonists), step onto the stage and proceed to perform a killer power ballad about, what else, friendship. This scene’s got it all; shirtless men in their forties doing a horrible job pretending to play guitar, high jump kicks, lyrics that make Randy Newman seem deep, you name it! Next, John, the only guy whose name I remember, tries and fails to act while spouting exposition to his love interest, Earring’s sister, Jane. Here, we learn the two just started dating and that Jane hates her brother just because she feels like it (that’s almost verbatim how it’s stated in the movie).
The cringe-inducing small talk is cut short, however, when Earring drives up dressed in full camo and interrogates his sister. After a very sudden and out-of-place altercation, Earring punches John in the face before the rest of the band come to his rescue and prevent a horrid fight scene from breaking out. This is also where we are introduced to our main star, played by local inspirational speaker Y.K. Kim, a Tai-Kwon-Do expert blessed with the gift of talking with his mouth closed (the dubbing is worse than a Godzilla flick).
After two middle-aged men yell incomprehensibly at one another and have a quick Kung-Fu fight (yes, really), the band sit around and eat Korean food for three whole minutes until we’re finally graced with their second (and last) hit song, “Against the Ninja,” a song about Dragon Sound fighting ninjas rivalled only by Beethoven’s 5th. Now, if you’re getting confused by the plot of this movie, don’t worry, because there isn’t one.
Anyways, after the song, the band leaves and are quickly ambushed by a random gang that is completely unrelated to anything else in the movie. Thus, we are blessed with the first of many terri-bad fight scenes with stunt choreography and acting on par with a third-grade play. Long story short, the gang is fought off, no one is hurt, and the scene serves no purpose (sensing a pattern?). The shirtlessness continues when the band are back safe and sound at their house until, suddenly, the keyboard player gets a letter that one of his bandmate’s plays keep-away with for an uncomfortable amount of time. Keyboard grabs it, takes one look, and, with no warning, begins walking toward the camera. Through actual tears he sobs some terribly written/shoe-horned exposition in what might be the most baffling tonal shift I’ve ever witnessed.
After this magnum opus of a scene and a very uncomfortable trip to the beach, Earring makes a brief reappearance, Y.K. Kim shows off his Tai-Kwon-Do ‘skills’ to pad the running time, and about a dozen other awkward moments grace the screen only to disappear like mist over the sea. As another few pointless scenes drag on, the biker gang from earlier forms an alliance with Earring and the Drug Ninjas against the protagonists, who I remind you are just some shitty college band. A couple horrible fights later, the band member with the least lines gets kidnapped, and during the rescue, the band brutally murders Earring and his entire gang without remorse. Next, Jane declares her love to her brother’s killer, Keyboard finds out his father is waiting for him at Miami airport, and then the world is blessed with the greatest climax off all time.
On the way to the airport, Kim, Keyboard, and John suddenly find the road blocked off by an army of motorcycle-borne ninjas. As they try to escape into a nearby jungle (conveniently located in the middle of a Miami suburb), Keyboard is horribly injured which sends John and Kim into a fit of rage. Using katanas swiped off dead ninjas, the two take down the suddenly incompetent ninja clan one by one with merciless brutality and more slow motion than a Zach Schneider movie. Severing limbs with every cut, the two (now shirtless) drench themselves in the blood of their enemies and revel with sanguine pleasure amongst the gore littering the jungle floor.
With his comrades killed, the last ninja retreats to his clan leader and tells him they are the only ones left. Hearing this, the lead ninja takes a page out of Stalin’s book and, without a word, decapitates his final henchman before taking a moment to laugh hysterically. Afterward, the final show down with Y.K. Kim begins and with the power of Tai Kwon Do (and a dash of ‘Mary Sue’) our terribly acted hero kills the ninja master in the most underwhelming scene of the whole movie. Finally, after Keyboard makes a full recovery (despite having bled out for ten minutes on the jungle floor) the screen fades to black and we are left with a few parting words.
This piece of art, full of drugs, blood, gore, and hairy dudes, ends like only a true masterpiece should, with an uncredited quote stating, “Only through the elimination of violence can we achieve world peace.” With this baffling wisdom permanently etched into my brain, I stood up, removed my glasses, and clapped as a single tear fell from my eye.
Miami Connection is an absolute overdose of everything the ‘80s stood for. Every frame is plastered with bandanas, ragged camo pants, ambient synth music, sleeveless camo shirts, shirtless hairy men, middle aged guys playing college-aged characters, horrible makeup, power ballads, martial arts, and, of course, friendship. However, what makes this movie so-bad-its-great isn’t the hokey acting, the dated clothing, or even the over-the-top premise. At its core, this horrific master piece was someone’s artistic vision, one they genuinely believed in with all their hearts which they worked their incompetent asses off to bring to life in all it’s horrid glory.
When I rewatched this film, it became clear that everything was done with more genuine passion and love than half the trash released in theatres these days. When all the failed one-liners are said and done, I can only find this terribly acted, confusingly edited, plotless pile of complete and utter B-movie shlock trash endearingly heart warming.