Review: Miami Connection (1987)
Starring Y.K. Kim, Vincent Hirsch, Joseph Diamond, Kathy Collier, Maurice Smith, Angelo Jannotti, Woo-Sang Park
Fight Choreography by Y. K. Kim
Directed by Y. K. Kim and Woo-Sang Park
Drafthouse Films, the film distribution arm of the legendary Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, TX (and in other locations, but whatever. They aren’t the original.) found this little 80‘s nugget, cleaned it up and re-released this little gem for our collective pleasure. A creation of Y. K. Kim, a Tae Kwon Do Grandmaster, this is the only film he ever did, and without a doubt it’s not necessary he makes another, as he’s made an epic B-movie classic …
Miami Connection opens with a drug deal gone bad, which typically happens when ninjas crash the party. This scene is full of badly acted death scenes, the best of which is the poor sucker who gets his arm cut off and overacts so badly…you just have to see it for yourself. After ward we meet Yashito (Si Y Jo) a ninja who wears white(!) and leads the…ninja biker gang. Dammit, I did just say that. Along with his brother Jeff they aspire to rule the Miami and Orlando drug scene, but one thing, and god knows why this is, stands in their way.
A Tae Kwon Do band (I can’t believe I just typed that) made up of a collection of guys, starting with Mark (Kim) a master of martial arts, John (Hirsch) a black belt himself and in love with fellow band mate (not to mention Jeff’s sister) Jane (Collier), Tom (Janotti, who you’ll never convince me isn’t really John Oates of Hall and Oates.), Jack (Diamond) and finally Jim (Smith), who is searching for his father. Jeff and Yashito plot to have the band killed in a series of escalating confrontations, until finally Dragon Sound meets them head-on for a final confrontation…
Miami Connection is without a doubt a bats***t crazy film, and God bless Y.K. Kim for making it! The acting, for lack of a better word, is terrible, especially from Kim himself, but hell, no one else is much better, but that’s part of the charm of the movie. In fact, my favorite character is Jim, who holds what I suppose is the B-story of the film, as he searches for his father (the entire band are all orphans), and Maurice Smith gives a line reading of the ages after he checks his mailbox:
“I found my Father! OH MY GOD!!”
Think I’m exaggerating? Watch this scene below:
This film is full of WTF?!! moments like this, and I say that in a good way, such as the bad guy, who says in one moment:
“He will not escape…The Miami Ninja!” I commend the actor for keeping a straight face reading that line.
Another WTF moment occurs when a group of..thugs, let’s call them, attacks Uncle Song, a friend of the band, at a restaurant Dragon Sound goes to, and he hauls up and uses martial arts to beat them down.
Another WTF? The beach scene. I’ll not say more than that. The songs of Dragon Sound, “Friends” and “ Against the Ninja” are classics that will burn themselves into your memories, whether you want them or not!
The fight scenes are not great, but better than most American films. Y.K has the best fight scenes, which is just as well as he the best fighter in the film, but the stuntmen are simply terrible, but like everything else in the film it just adds to the charm. In fact, you could say that about every moment of this film. By all accounts it should be terrible, but it’s also some of the best fun I’ve had with a film in a long, long while.
Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 8
This film is a Gift from the Gods that needs to be shown at every movie night everywhere. Y. K. Kim ‘s masterpiece is schlocky fun that’s not to be missed!
The film is currently in limited release. To see if/when the film plays in your area, check here: Drafthouse (You can purchase this film too, but you really want to see this with a theater audience!)
NEXT: Vincent Zhao and Fan Siu-Wong will take you to Wu Dang!