There's a special kind of bad movie. It doesn't show up very often, because it's the perfect blend of ineptitude and sincerity. It's that mix that makes movies like Plan 9 From Outer Space and The Room so magical. And now Miami Connection joins the list.
It's 1987 (and if the blue-soaked night-time cinematography doesn't clue you in to the movie's timeframe, the hilariously dated fashions will) and a cocaine deal in Miami goes wrong when it's ambushed by ninjas. Yes, ninjas, who kill everyone, steal the cocaine, then flee the scene on their motorcycles.
We then move to Orlando (yes, the home of Disney World), where we meet the band Dragon Sound, who play in a neon-festooned club and wow the crowd with their synth-rock songs like "Friends" and "Face the Ninja." As if Dragon Sound weren't already awesome enough, they are all taekwondo black belts, and even share the same house. For reasons I am still unclear on, Dragon Sound runs afoul of the local cocaine lord, a rival band, and the motorcycle ninjas, which leads to lots of bloody fights.
Now, I realize that I've made Miami Connection sound no more ridiculous than many films from the Eighties, but there's something special going on with this film. There's the amateurish acting, which ranges from the wooden to the over-the-top; the fact that it's impossible to understand the dialogue of lead actor Y. K. Kim half the time; the many scenes of the Dragon Sound band members standing around shirtless (standing around shirtless is to this movie what tossing the football around is to The Room); the weirdly improvised dialogue; the surprisingly gory fights, which include arterial spray and decapitation; the strange subplot involving one of the band members' search for his long-lost father (the monologue that accompanies this search must be heard to be believed); the late-breaking plot development regarding two characters being brothers; the really awkward training montage; the dated-beyond-belief-and-then-some costumes and facial hair (I kept waiting for that one guy's beard to just devour his face entirely); the editing that leaves scenes actually unfinished at times; the tin-eared dialogue; the plethora of characters that makes it difficult to know who's connected to who; the - you know, I can't keep up with this list.
What makes Miami Connection so delightful is actually not that gargantuan list of missteps, hilarious though they are. It's the utter sincerity of it all. It's abundantly clear that everyone involved in this movie is trying their damndest to make this movie work, and their lack of success only makes their efforts endearing. Much of the credit for this movie has to go to Y. K. Kim who not only stars as taekwondo leader Mark but also wrote the story and co-directed. It's clear that Kim wanted to showcase taekwondo (and I'd bet my next paycheck the Dragon Sound members are students of Kim's) and promote the film's message that brotherhood is awesome, that families can be created rather than born into, and that taekwondo can bring about world peace. Worthy messages all, though they're buried in a silly film (and the world peace bit is somewhat disingenuous after we've seen the body count go through the roof).
I'll just let you experience the whole thing for yourself. But trust me. If you're a bad movie aficionado, you really can't go wrong.
Once languishing in obscurity, Miami Connection is now available on Blu-Ray. The transfer is dodgy, full of dings and dents, but that only adds to the movie's charm. There is a boatload of bonus features, including commentary by Kim and co-star and co-writer Joseph Diamand, deleted scenes, a retrospective documentary, and more.