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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Holiday Gift Guide: Miami Connection Review Best Gift for The Holidays

Miami Connection likes taking a large hammer to logic and smashing that logic away. You need to get this movie now and present it as a Christmas gift to someone who likes a triple-Decker of 80's cheesiness. This martial arts film is an instant classic to laugh at with friends. It's everything a B-action movie needs. It is the epitome of so bad that it's good. I've raved about it on the site and reported on it's showings across town. Now you can finally check it out at home and laugh your face off.

Miami Connection- Drafthouse Site
Update:50%-Off Holiday Flash Sale Now Live
Drafthouse is also releasing Trailer Wars with showings in LA Dec 19tht the New Bev. Trailers far a wide from around the globe showing off some of the oddest films you've never seen.

Reasons to see this film

Short reason

No other film has captured such an oddball take on a martial arts movie. A group of friends going to college are in a rock band that gets into trouble with a local gang. That gang is of course connected to cocaine stealing ninjas. All at brawls have the band "Dragon Sound" kicking butt around Miami. Bad acting, plot holes, over-dubbing, odd scene changes, gratuitous violence, and casting where a old Asian man is playing a college student and someone's father looks younger than them make it one of the oddest films rescued from the 80's for your pleasure. Please, please invite your friends to see this film with you. Watching it for a first time with others is magical as it's one of the dumbest things you might ever see. So few films can capture the formula of being so bad, but so good.

Long Reason

I'm a fan of L.A. Street Fighters, one of the best worst films out of LA from the 80's. It shares the same director of Miami Connection, Woo-sang Park. L.A. Street Fighters features a group of friends who know martial arts going to high school with one member being an older Asian man, who for no reason should be high school but is. Miami Connection does not deviate from this theme. Young college students and one elder Asian man are in the rock band Dragon Sound and when they aren't studying or rocking out they're kicking ass.


Why are the kicking ass? They pissed off the local gang when band member John starts dating the gang leader's sister Jane. Jeff, the gang leader... let's just stop here.  I've just given you the names of three major characters; John, Jane and Jeff. It's already silly by how boring their names are. I will remind you that the script was written by two martial artists with no prior writing experience.Even before the local gang wants to kick Dragon Sound's ass a rival band tries to, but gets beaten silly with extreme violence.

Who are the people behind Dragon Sound? Dragon Sound is composed of  a bunch of young kids, well mostly young kids going to college. There members include Mark, played by Grandmaster Y.K. Kim, who looks way too old to be playing a youth at college. Jack, a foreign looking dude with Israeli parents and in real life co-wrote the film. Jim, the overacting token black guy. Tom, the weakest fighter in the group. I've already explained John and Jane and their Romeo and Juliet like quality.

There enemies grow after really no reason at all when Jeff hates them. Jeff hates John and Dragon Sound for almost no reason other than John is dating his sister. There's not even a sick incest subplot. He just hates Dragon Sound. Jeff by the way might be one of the most unconvincing bad guys ever. He looks the part being a super hairy dude, but when first introduced acts like a vengeful art critic. Sometimes he sound like a pissed off interior decorator who needs to shave. His crew of some of the sleaziest bad guys fits right in fitting stereotypes of scummy henchmen like a nail on the head.

Jeff's boss, Yashito, who is a ninja and controls a gang of local ninjas might have the most pleasant relationship with a lackey I've ever seen in a film. Jeff and Yashito are like the closes friends ever. They hang out and party together, go to dirty bars and such. I don't think I've ever seen a bad guy boss ever treat any of their underlings so nice. Sadly, Jeff does die at one point and Yashito has a memory montage of them having fun together. When does that ever happen in a film? Bag guys usually kill underlings or their henchmen like all the time, but Miami Connection changes the mold. It's one of the many times the film isn't trying to be funny, but almost every scene is.

So many great scenes that you need to experience on your own from the legendary "stuffing grapes into other people's mouth while reading the mail" to the ninjas riding motorcycles. These ninjas were never seen of or known of until the very end of the film. So a bunch of ninjas appearing on motor cycles was a bit shocking to our heroes ans myself.

Then there's the music, two repetitive songs about ninjas and friendship could be one hit wonders if the ever had MTV music videos. The strange lyrics and odd stage work make them look like there making fun of of 80's culture, but they were really trying to look as cool as possible.

What might be considered some of the worst acting ever might only make the fight scenes better as the main actors are all really martial artists. You have fighting at the train tracks, the city at night, an abandoned factory and finally a swamp in a park?

Through fighting, rocking and reading mail will Dragon Sound ever triumph. Also, fighting ninjas... lots and lots of ninjas.

Buy it now!

For a quick reveal, Woo-sang Park was actually not the only director of the film. The ending had to be re-filmed to be distributed in the US. So Grandmaster Y.K. Kim, with no prior knowledge had to re-film it. That's one of many stories you'll find out about in the extras and commentary.

It's on Blu-ray, but it's mostly VHS quality. This film was so met with contempt at the time of it's release that the filmmakers really didn't keep a good copy when it didn't do well. However, it's perfect quality when your think 80's movie stereotype. There is static on screen and this is the best copy available.

 There's a wide range of extras. A commentary track with Grandmaster Y.K. Kim " Mark" and Joesph Diamand "Jack" going over the movie reveals that they almost don't understand why the film flopped. They're questioned about certain scenes and you'll have the answers you seek on jumps and logic. The truth is they really tried hard to make the film, but had no prior experience. My favorite reveal might be that the biker gang hide-out was  filmed with a real biker gang. They were friendly enough when the crew brought plenty of beer.

Deleted scenes show almost a homo-erotic relationship between Mark and Jim, it's one of many great moments that wouldn't have hurt film if they stayed in. The alternate ending with Jim dying is still funny. There's also a making of and two videos really showing of Y.K. Kim as a business man.A Dragon Sound Reunion Concert shows how much the cast has aged.

Blu-ray copy provided by publisher for review