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Miami Connection

1987 | Not rated | 1.85:1

Miami Connection


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User reviews

1 user review

Movie appeal

Martial arts42%



Theatrical release date

 09 November, 2012

Country of origin

 United States



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Screenshots from Miami Connection Blu-ray

Miami Connection Preview  

 / 10
Preview by Brian Orndorf, November 7, 2012

Cult films are a difficult thing to force on audiences. Typically, cinematic junk needs time to cure in obscurity, developing a fringe appreciation before widespread acceptance arrives, along with all the necessary media attention. "Miami Connection" isn't a DOA offering that's been basting in the juices of bad moviedom for decades now, it's a harmless, clueless 1987 Floridian production that's been recently plucked out of obscurity, paraded around on a brief theatrical tour so film geeks and students of schlock can point and laugh at its awfulness, developing a new midnight movie secret language. There's no doubt that "Miami Connection" is awful, but a celebratory, gut-bustin' awful? Not exactly. In fact, you might walk away feeling sorry for the amateurs who pieced this effort together 25 years ago, with their collective mistake coming back to haunt cinemas once again, reigniting the humiliation.

The story, and I'm using that word loosely, concerns trouble in Orlando, where a group of orphans/University of Central Florida college students live together by day and rock the city at night as the band Dragon Sound. Swearing to an oath of friendship forged in the collected mastery of Taekwondo, Dragon Sound rules the Park Avenue Nightclub, where their hot tunes have driven out a rival band, and the goons aren't taking the news well. Mixed up in a nightmare of cocaine smuggling, motorcycle-riding ninjas, and merciless street attacks, Dragon Sound, and their unofficial leader Mark (Y.K. Kim), harness their strength to fight back against oncoming evil, trusting in their impressive self-defense skills and the power of positive thinking.

The great thing about recent cult favorites like "The Room" and "Birdemic" were their relative Z-grade authenticity. Guided by filmmakers who genuinely didn't have a clue about what they were doing behind the camera, the features rode a wave of appreciation founded on derision, with audiences eager to laugh at the unpolished shenanigans, cheering as they snowballed into late night legend. "Miami Connection" is equally ignorant of storytelling needs and visual skillfulness, yet there's an earnestness here that's a tad heartbreaking to see marched to the gallows, with co-director/star Kim looking to alter the rotation of the planet with his picture, issuing broad scenes of friendship and tragedy to push his worldview on the audience. There's even a closing card expressing hope for a peaceful future. Of course, this comes after 80 minutes of hardcore violence featuring sliced throats and chopped limbs, but his point is endearing, packaged in a movie that means well, yet can't help but fall flat on its face with every forward step.

"Miami Connection" is an odd one, with little room for coherency. In fact, it's not actually attempting to assemble a plot, just a random collection of antagonism from loosely defined outside forces, allowing the production a chance to show off its martial arts skills. Campus demonstrations and battle zone displays litter the film, and the low-wattage showdowns work as intended, puckered with brutality that keeps the hits hard and fast, with Kim's fist-first language of pain (as opposed to the Korean's utter butchery of English) especially impressive. "Miami Connection" doesn't have to make sense to orchestrate this literal battle of the bands, but the general incoherent atmosphere of the effort tends to dial down the electricity Kim is aiming to project, making the picture little more than a commercial for an Orlando Taekwondo school.

The feature lurches all over the place, with a few minutes of the movie set aside to take in the revelry shared by a group of drunk bikers, while time is also spent with Dragon Sound as they conquer an Orlando bar with their positive music, with only a few of the cast members familiar with the instruments they're playing. "Miami Connection" goes goofy from time to time, especially anything involving the ninjas who periodically show up to cause trouble, with most of the picture attempting to find a balance between Disney-style emphatic affection for its sincere characters (the keyboardist is especially amped to meet the father he never knew) and fantastic presentations of bloodshed. With bad haircuts, bad edits, and bad ideas galore, there are plenty of '80s cornball happenings to devour. However, "Miami Connection" doesn't strike me as particularly hilarious or outrageously inept, just woefully misguided by individuals out to launch a nuclear bomb of positivity with their furious work, only to discover they barely knew how to turn on the camera.

Starring: Vincent Hirsch, Joseph Diamand, Maurice Smith
Directors: Y.K. Kim, Woo-sang Park

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