Saturday, July 6, 2013

Instant Action: Miami Connection (1987)

Just what the world needs, ninjas on motorcycles!

Screenplay By: Joseph Diamond
Directed By: Y.K. Kim & Woo-sang Park

Some people may be surprised with what I am going to choose to talk about when it comes to Miami Connection. Surely the amount of men with their shirts off, the wonderful speech pattern of Y.K. Kim, or the fact that Miami Connection is about a band called Dragon Sound pitting their tae kwon do versus a motorcycle gang of ninjas are where my priorities should reside. I'll get to those topics, in short order as a matter of fact, but they are not the reason why Miami Connection is a pretty awesome film. No, the reason why Miami Connection succeeds is because of how earnest the film is throughout its run time. There was never a moment where I didn't believe in what I was seeing in Miami Connection. A band of orphans who all practice tae kwon do and sing about loyalty should be cringe inducing. It should not work, and yet in Miami Connection I believed that Dragon Sound was a collection of orphans, who practiced tae kwon do, and who made it their life mission to be loyal to one another. The earnestness and love that went into making Miami Connection is why I was able to believe and why the film is able to lay claim to its great status.

I'm not about to sit here and type that Miami Connection is a great film without any flaws. On just about every level Miami Connection is an awful film. The acting is bad, the story is laughable, and the characters lack any sort of real substance. Yes, Miami Connection is a film so bad that it is great. But, it's also a different sort of film thanks to the belief of all involved that they were making thee film to end all films. Miami Connection isn't truly so awful that it's great. The heart displayed in every facet of filmmaking helps Miami Connection to turn a corner and enter the sacred realm of an awful film that is so lovingly crafted it becomes great on its own merits.

One area where I would never think of nay saying is that of the action. John F. Escobar, the stunt coordinator, has teamed up with the two directors to deliver some finely filmed action. The fight scenes have energy to them and they have a hard hitting nature that I wasn't expecting. The character of John is a lanky dude who doesn't look like he could hurt a stick. But, when he fights the choreography manages to make him seem fierce. That dude takes his short off and he throws down in a way that only a great martial arts film can bring about.

I knew that Miami Connection had the potential to be something special when the opening scene featured a guard who was permanently in the ready position. The guy was surrounded by oodles of his comrades and yet he was in crouch mode with his uzi ready to fire off some rounds at a moment's notice. That's an example of the unintentional comedy that is present in Miami Connection. The trip to the beach is supposed to be funny, but it's even funnier when you realize that Tom is determined to solidify his status as a low rent Magnum, P.I. who rocks the stache and only cares about the ladies. Miami Connection had me laughing when it wanted me to laugh and even a few times when I clearly wasn't supposed to be laughing. I'm not really feeling triumphant for Jim when he is at the hospital at the end of the film, but I am laughing because of his fathers awesome line delivery. I was laughing with Miami Connection though, because even in the unintentionally funny scenes the film seemed willing to concede that it was kind of funny.

You give me a movie that has some truly stellar music, heroes who take their shirts off every five minutes, and former Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight Champion Maurice Smith flexing his acting chops and I'm bound to be a happy camper. Miami Connection is the lone film for Kim xiānshēng, as a director or an actor. I'm not sure why he never made any more awesome 1980s straight to video action, but I do treasure the one film he did make. The honest belief he had in all the elements of Miami Connection being great bleeds through in every moment of the film. I'm happy that Miami Connection has started to pick up a cult following, it's a film that definitely needs to be seen by more people.



Bill Thompson

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