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Yes, It's That Bad and Funny
Michael_Elliott8 June 2015
Miami Connection (1987)

* 1/2 (out of 4)

Some college kids from Central Florida not only play in a rock band but they're also masters at martial arts. Good thing for them because one of the members begins dating a girl whose brother just happens to be the leader of a violent motorcycle gang involved in all sorts of illegal activities.

It's strange how movies are usually forgotten only to later be rediscovered for some reason. The history of Miami CONNECTION is pretty fascinating as it pretty much died as soon as it was released and no one even knew about it outside the filmmakers and cast. Twenty-two years later a programmer for the Alamo Drafthouse ended up buying a copy of the film on eBay for $50 and soon he was booking it and out of nowhere a large cult following started. Today, Miami CONNECTIOn has a rather large cult following and it even got a special edition released to DVD and Blu-ray.

So, why do so many awful movies get forgotten and others ones like this end up with a cult following? My only guess is that some movies reach the "so bad they're good" level because the filmmakers went into the project not thinking they were making a low-budget bad movies but instead they go in thinking they're making the next CITIZEN KANE. I'm sure they believe that everything from the acting to the directing to the screenplay is just something special when it fact it's all very, very bad. This film is certainly awful on just about every level from the performances to the incredibly awful rock soundtrack but thankfully there are some moments that are so awful that you can't help but laugh.

There are many highlights (or lowlights depends on how you see it) here including some stereotypes that are just so cringe-worthy that you can't help but laugh. The rock band has different ethnic members but the Asian and black guys are so laughable that you can't help but wonder what they were thinking. The subplot dealing with the black guy not knowing who is father is is just priceless. Another highlight is the over-the-top violence including a "death" scenes towards the end, which has to be one of the funniest ever filmed. I'm not going to ruin what major character it happens to but I dare anyone watch it and not laugh.

Miami CONNECTION is an awful movie, there's no question about it but thankfully there are enough bad moments to make it worth viewing if you're a fan of this type of thing.
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7/10
Pretty Amazing 1980s Action Film
gavin69422 July 2013
A martial arts rock band goes up against a band of motorcycle ninjas who have tightened their grip on Florida's narcotics trade.

I think that plot summary more or less says it all. As another reviewer noted, from a critical standpoint this is not a good movie (and hardly deserves my 7 rating). But from the point of view of someone who loves 80s cheese, this is a forgotten gem for sure.

Can you beat a group of misfits who like to rock out, with one looking like Freddie Mercury? The songs are not good, but actually not all that bad, either... if you like 80s action films like "Commando" or "Cobra", this might be right up your alley.
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7/10
not the best-worst movie, but one of the better ones
Quinoa198414 June 2015
I had the suspicion that the lead actor YK Kim, who also directed the film (uncredited) and basically backed the making of the film, wasn't a professional in the movie industry, and I was right. He was a Tae-kwon-do instructor, apparently (according to here on IMDb) very popular in Orlando (though the movie is shot there and Miami) and there's even a point in the middle of this movie where everything just stops - whatever there was in the story that one could follow, if barely - and we see a demonstration of his skills. And I don't mean in a fight, I mean with him and John, played by Vincent Hirsch, demonstrating their skills in like practice mode. Not that there still isn't some requisite slow-motion cinematography of course, and (as if anticipating Zack Snyder by 20 years) sometimes going into slow-motion just briefly in a shot, and then going back to regular speed. Because you got to see that foot grab on to a dude's nose!

Miami Connection is some silly stuff, but done in the 1980's, and the movie never lets you forget it. Despite Kim most likely being more into the fights than the actual filming or acting, he did know to get some production designers and just, you know, people off the streets from Florida at the time to get that 80's FEEL. The hair is there, the clothes, the music... good lord the music. There's a moment when one of the bands is playing on stage - not the 'friendship' one, the 'Against the Ninja' song with the girl singing, and I swear if you look around the room it's not smoke going up around the air, it's cocaine. It's somehow made the room smoky.

There is a plot involving coke deals, and rock-n-roll ninjas, and bikers at some point, and other ninjas who looks like a lift from every other ninja movie ever made (with the fleet of black-suited ninjas with the white-suited master - because, you know, camoflauge), and characters who you kind of see some relationship going on, and then the one black guy will get a letter and pour out a monologue about his parental troubles and... plot? Perhaps it's so simple but it goes to show that the filmmaking muddies it all up. Far as I can gather is this: the motorcycle ninjas are the bad guys, smuggling in drugs, and the rock band Dragon Sound (haha) is tired of it, and their master (played by Kim) is going to take it to them and stop what they're doing for good.

The French Connection this certainly is not. And if you're by chance going into it thinking it'll be any good, you will be mistaken; this 7/10 rating is in large part due to the guilty pleasure factor. Actually, that's not true in that I don't feel much guilt in laughing about this movie, and staring at times in slack-jawed disbelief at the ineptitude of things like audio dubbing of lines (it's so bad it makes The Room look professional), and the moments when in the fights (and those make up most of the running time) things just get ridiculous. Watch when any time super-violence gets into the mix, anything to do with blood and gore, and the filmmakers don't skimp on that, not in the least.

But why it's so pleasurable is that there's a kind of innocence to the whole enterprise. This Tae-kwon do master just wanted to expand his horizons and try something different, and somehow with his collaborators - most of them as inept as he at making movies, but passionate about martial arts and, you know, all things 80's and wussy rock & roll (seriously, these songs, the Ninja Turtles do a better job in Coming out of Our Shells). It's bad, but you don't feel bad watching it, and with a bunch of friends at home, or with the right crowd in a theater, I'm sure it's a blast. Oh, and watch for any LONG montages, including one on a beach where they're just driving along, and they cut to a shot of a couple supposedly meant to be still on the beach... after the tide's come in!
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6/10
Friends forever!
BandSAboutMovies30 May 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Y.K. Kim earned his black belt in taekwondo black belt at thirteen years of age, making him one of the youngest in all of his native Korea. He moved around the world to bring the message of martial arts to the people, from Buenos Aires and New York City to finally Orlando, where he'd set up his fighting empire with his school Martial Arts World and founding the American TaeKwon-Do Federation.

Then Kim met Korean film director Richard Park and they created Miami Connection, a movie that Kim funded with loans, money from friends, his life savings and by mortgaging his school. Sure, he'd never made a film before and had no idea what he was doing. He saw this as another way to get his message out to the people, but every major film distributors and several independent ones basically told him to throw it all away. He responded by spending another $100,000 to continue making the movie perfect.

In August of 1988, the movie opened in eight theaters around Greater Orlando and a few in West Germany, of all places. Even in his adopted hometown, the Orlando Sentinel said that it was the worst film of the year. Kim had thrown $1 million dollars into the film and nearly lost everything.

He continued to be a martial arts teaching success and also learned how to become a motivational speaker, all while ignoring any requests to discuss the film. However, in 2009, Alamo Drafthouse programmer Zack Carlson bought the film on eBay for just $50 and was amazed by what he had purchased. After struggling to connect with Kim - who continually hung up on him - he was finally able to convince him to let the movie play. The rest is history.

It all gets started with a cocaine deal being interrupted by ninjas led by the evil Yashito, who steal the drugs and take it back to Orlando to party it up. Of course, one of them forgets the money and gets killed. Yashito is not to be trifled with.

Meanwhile, Jeff - who leads a gang of scarf and bandana-wearing camouflage loving bikers that are friends with the ninjas - watches his sister Jane play on stage with the band Dragon Sound. He's not happy.

I have no idea why - Dragon Sound are the coolest 80's soft rock hair metal funk band that does martial arts to ever exist. Yes, this ethnically diverse group of five men are all best friends - trust me, they wrote a song about it - as well as roommates, University of Central Florida students, Taekwondo masters and, yes, orphans. They are John, who comes from Ireland and plays bass when he's not falling in love with Jane. Jack is the drummer and he's from Israel. Jim is half Korean and half African American, but all kick ass and loves to dibble dabble on the keyboards. Tom didn't get the J naming convention, but he sings, looks like John Oates and comes from Italy. Their father figure is Mark, the Korean rhythm guitarist and Y.K. Kim himself.

Jeff and Mark get into a fight that's interrupted by another band who are angry that the owner of the club replaced them with Dragon Sound. They are easily defeated. The film that descends into a series of either music videos, fights, training footage or long scenes of people opening their mail. Please don't take that as a read that I hated this. Quite the contrary.

After Jeff and his gang are all killed by Dragon Sound, Yashito and his ninjas attempt revenge. Jim just wants to get to the airport to meet up with his deadbeat dad, but he's nearly killed. No worries, though. Dragon Sound easily - and at times messily - kill all of the ninjas, because murder is obviously not a crime in Miami (to be fair, Y.K. Kim was so well-known and beloved in Orlando, the local government and law enforcement allowed him to film anywhere in the city without permits).

Hardly anyone involved ever made a movie again. Which is a shame, because this movie is true innocence, the glory of making something even though you really have no clue. It succeeds in spite of itself and features songs that will get stuck in your head for, well, forever. Songs like "Friends," "Against the Ninja" and "Tough Guys." I waited a long time to see this and my life is better from having sat through it.
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8/10
Agreeable absurdity.
Hey_Sweden11 January 2015
There's knowingly silly low budget garbage and then there's the sublime "Miami Connection". So far it's the only movie that this viewer has seen where the heroes are also the musical attraction. "Dragon Sound" are an ethnically diverse group of martial artists who moonlight as a pop rock band. They sing ditties such as "Against the Ninja" and "Friends", and believe me, these songs will be stuck in your head long after the movie is over. When they're not rocking the house, "Dragon Sound" take on villainous motorcycle riding ninjas and other assorted lowlifes trafficking in drugs in the Miami area.

If you want high class or real technical proficiency, look elsewhere. But if you just want a fun time, relax and enjoy the goof ball pleasures of "Miami Connection". The music alone commands a viewing. The action is all that it needs to be: good fun, and people who stick it out to the final bit of fighting will be rewarded with some hilarious bursts of splatter. Also ensuring hilarity are the attempts by our not quite A list cast to emote, in particular Maurice Smith as Jim and co-story author Y.K. Kim as Mark. There are also a number of bare breasts on display in the last half hour.

The bad guys are far from being the scariest you'll ever see in this kind of diversion. Angelo Janotti as Tom sports a glorious mullet and often parades around without a shirt on. Kathy Collier as Jane adds valuable sex appeal, playing the love interest to group member John (Vincent Hirsch). It seems that Janes' brother Jeff (William Ergle), who happens to be one of the villains, is possessive of her, and who can blame him?

The script, written by director Woo-Sang Park and cast member Joseph Diamond, has a couple of howlingly funny lines, such as "They don't make buns like that down at the bakery" while the guys ogle the lovely ladies at a beach.

Grand entertainment for one and all. The fact that it's inept is essential to its appeal.

Director Park also has a small role as Uncle Song.

Eight out of 10.
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You can't hate this movie, as bad as it may be
Wizard-823 May 2014
It doesn't take long into watching "Miami Connection" to come up with a sizeable list of various kinds of ineptness to be found in it. But I want to start off by listing a few positive things about the movie. It is well photographed and lit, including the night sequences. Plus, the themes of friendship and loyalty found in the movie are commendable. And I can't say that the movie is *boring*. But more often than not, the movie gets away from being boring by being amusingly inept. The acting is incredibly bad; it's easy to see that none of the cast is a professional actor. The fight sequences are awkward. The songs are awful, but catchy enough that you won't be able to get them out of your head. And don't let me get started on the motorcycle ninjas! Is this a classic so bad that it's good movie? In my opinion, no - it isn't *quite* that aggressive in its badness. But with modern so bad that they're good movies being nearly impossible to find these days, this is adequate enough to feed your appetite for cinematic silliness.
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1/10
Should Make a Connection Between a Cement Floor and a Foot.
anaconda-4065829 September 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Miami Connection (1987): Dir: Woo-sang Park, Y.K. Kim / Cast: Y.K. Kim, Vincent Hirsch, Joseph Diamand, Maurice Smith, Angelo Janotti: Martial arts embarrassment that should bring shame to anyone practicing it. Here we have martial arts, ninjas and a rock band. The results is a band that sucks ass and ninjas that look like they just emerged from a horrible costume accident. And let's not get started about the bad dubbing. The plot basically boils down to a group of friends who form a band but while they aren't making the world's sh*ttiest music they are busy kicking the living sh*t out of morons whose job is to be laughably threatening, wear stupid clothes highlighted by earrings that draw attention, and talk in a way that leaves more reasons outside the plot to kick their asses. Y.K. Kim not only has a poorly dubbed speaking role in this garbage but he also shares blame with Woo-sang Park for directing. What they conjure up has less ambition than the average commercial selling shampoo products. This film is hailed a cult film by those that regrettably discover it. What they should do is bury it in a mine field somewhere in hopes that it meets a nasty end. This is a pointless charade of bad acting and special effects that are on par with a third grade art student. Forget Miami. The only connection that this film should be met with is the receiving blow of a baseball bat. Score: 0 / 10
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2/10
I don't get the connection...
Aaron137512 June 2020
Warning: Spoilers
This film has a 5.8, are you kidding me? This was like the 80's bad side all balled up in a yucky concoction! We have ninjas, hair metal bands, Miami, drugs and we really do not get all that much Miami. The film seems to take place near Central Florida University who probably had to pay a huge sum of money to undo the damage done by this horrid film. The film took a while to even get to the point of the story as it starts by showing random scenes, but they soon take shape and the movie still sucks!

The story, well ninjas raid this drug deal and pretty much have no problem taking out drug dealers wielding uzis the most 80's weapon ever! Soon we are in a club in Orlando, the only scene taking place in Miami the opening scene and we are treated by a horrid band called Dragon Sound as Oates from Hall and Oates seems to be the lead singer! No, not really, and these guys cannot sing as they later sing about their friendship as the band is like brothers! Speaking of brothers, there is one guy who is apparently jealous of his sister dating one of the guys in the band which is beyond weird and strange! The brother and the guy she is dating run afoul of each other and suddenly the band keeps going to street fights and winning despite being outnumbered and outgunned!

The film must of been like a commercial for tae quon do as these guys take out everyone in the film! I seriously think a jackass I went to school with had to have seen this movie as he always talked about how he knew it and could kill if he wished to. Well, if this movie is any indication, two tae quon do black belts can take out a huge horde of ninjas! The same ninjas that had no problem taking out guys with machine guns! There is suspension of disbelief, but c'mon man! What is also strange is the lead ninja is trying to get revenge because the band killed his brother who was the one guy's sister, but he had no knowledge of the sister at the beginning. I guess he meant they were like brothers, but wouldn't he still know the guy had a sister!?!

So, if watching a band play horrible music and taking out entire crowds of street thugs this film is for you! For me, it was such crap! I mean, two of the members sucked at fighting, so it was literally three people against the hordes! Meanwhile, many in the group did not know how to wear a shirt and this has to be one of the few films that would show people opening mail quite often as this band had to do everything together. Honestly, I think more than a couple of them needed to be portrayed as gay because as a straight guy I just would have no urge to live with four other dudes that were as clingy as this group was. At least it would of made sense if they were dating each other.
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7/10
Hysterically bad
zetes23 June 2013
An incredibly awful movie, but it's awful in the best way possible. Holy cow, do they get everything just perfectly wrong here. The nonsensical plot is as follows: a rock band made up of taekwondo experts (led by director Y.K. Kim) crosses a gang of coke-dealing biker-ninjas ("bikers by day, ninjas by night," as the intro song informs us) and has to fend for their lives. The acting is hilariously bad - one guy clearly keeps turning to read cue cards, for instance. The editing frequently cuts far too soon or lingers on far too long. The glorious 80s music I have already mentioned. There's also a song about how awesome friendship is (the five heroes all live in a house together, go to college together, play in a band and practice taekwondo - which they pronounce tayKWONdo - together) and a song about dancing ninjas. Most of the actors are actually martial artists, but the choreography is stilted (people pause awkwardly with swords to wait to get kicked in the face), and the film goes into slow motion for no reason. It's all very laughable and it moves quickly, which makes it quite watchable. This can be watched on Netflix - nay, must be watched on Netflix.
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8/10
The bright side of bad movies
Mr-Fusion5 September 2015
"Miami Connection" is the sort of movie you can't wait to see the Rifftrax guys get ahold of. It's got it all: nonsensical plot, awful acting, confusing fight scenes, nowhere near on-beat dance numbers. But here's where it's got the edge: it's fun. A lot of fun, actually. Pretty much nothing going here makes any sense, the editing is rough, and the martial arts herein go from super fast to slo-mo, giving things a hallucinatory buzz. There are two big songs in the film - the lyrics to both are asinine - but hell if the music isn't a toe-tapper.

But you can't help but get behind characters who champion friendship, loyalty and teamwork. There's just something wholesome beneath the severed limbs, blood and harsh language. And I do love the postscript urging peace through nonviolence. That's beautiful.

Put simply, this is a blast.

8/10

Also, it's got motorcycle ninjas. Because who needs stealth?
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5/10
"Listen to me. I don't want to have any trouble."
bensonmum227 October 2017
Here's my simple and short plot summary - A group of dorky Taekwondo practitioners, who also happen to be college roommates and bandmates, find themselves doing battle with a group of motorcycle riding drug dealers, who also just happen to be expert martial artists.

Miami Connection (not sure why it's called Miami Connection - most of it is set in Orlando) is a real stinker. Just look at that plot. The story is beyond ridiculous. It's actually more stupid than it sounds - singing college-going ninjas battling drug lords - yeah, right. Words fail me when trying to describe the ineptitude on display. The acting and direction are abysmal. Why am I not surprised to discover that almost no one involved with Miami Connection has any other credits on their resume? The music will annoy you long after the film ends. The song about friendship reminded me of something straight out of an ABC After School Special. It's an earworm that keeps on giving. Finally, the fight choreography is surprisingly bad. I say "surprisingly" because it's obvious that Y.K. Kim is actually a solid martial artist. Unfortunately, it doesn't translate well to the screen.

So, if Miami Connection is as bad as I say, why the 5/10 rating? Well, despite the plethora of problems, this movie is still entertaining. It may be entertaining for all the wrong reasons, but it's still entertaining. I honestly laughed out loud several times. I watch movies for entertainment and I got a fair amount of entertainment out of Miami Connection. If you "enjoy" bad movies, this one should not be missed.
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6/10
The Vidiot Reviews...
capone66611 March 2017
Miami Connection

The best thing about being in a bar band is that you know your groupies are of age.

Unfortunately, one of the boosters in this martial arts film is in league with ninjas.

Five taekwondo trained club musicians called Dragon Sound face off against a clan of motorcycle ninjas when the band's bassist (Vincent Hirsch) dates the wrong girl.

Under the guidance of their lead guitarist Mark (Y.K. Kim), the lethal musicians set out to rescue their vocalist (Angelo Janotti) who has been kidnapped by the cocaine infused assassins and the girl's brother (William Ergle).

Riding the crest of the mid-eighties ninja wave, this low-budget entry features a lesser- known fighting style but has the added bonus of bad musical numbers. Written, produced and directed by Kim, this vanity project is a ridiculous romp that cannot be taken seriously.

Incidentally, the most popular drugs sold in Florida are blood pressure related.

Yellow Light

vidiotreviews.blogspot.ca
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10/10
They REALLY don't make 'em like this anymore.
tarbosh2200014 July 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Jeff (William Eagle) and Yashito (Si Y Jo) are cocaine runners who are close to dominating the world with their drug trade. There's only one thing standing in their way, but it's of monumentally awesome proportions: a rock band called Dragon Sound, consisting of members of all different ethnicities who all practice Tae Kwon Do and perform in Karate Gi's (when not sporting their sleeveless band logo shirt). Jeff's sister Jane (Kathy Collier) just happens to sing for Dragon Sound, and he severely disapproves of her Pat Benatar-like vocal stylings, so he summons his army of biker ninjas to fight the "friends forever" in mortal combat. So while keyboard player Jim (Smith) sorts out his own personal family issues, it's up to guitarist (?) Mark (Y.K. Kim in a stunning performance) to take on the baddies, while keeping his band of brothers together. Can he do it? (P.S.: BIKER NINJAS.) Wildly enjoyable, Miami Connection defines what cinematic fun is all about. Man oh man does this movie deliver the goods you want. National treasure Y.K. Kim's line readings are worth their weight in gold, so much so that G. Gordon Liddy and William Devane are going to start recommending them as the standard U.S. currency. Sadly, this was his only film, putting him up there in the stars with Matt Hannon, Jay Roberts Jr. and Andy Bauman. His, and everyone else's acting/fight choreography is mind-boggling, and thank God for the new DVD release, which is loaded up with features, including deleted scenes and an alternate ending, so we can truly experience Miami Connection in all its glory.

Yet more proof that the 80's was uber-awesome, in order to properly soak up the copious charm of Miami Connection, you have to mentally transport yourself back to the golden days when guys and girls with feathered hair wore Ratt and Motley Crue T-shirts with blue and/or black 3/4-length sleeves, Pink Floyd painter's hats existed (and baddies wore them), and Oates rocked out a wailin' guitar solo while wearing white Karate pants while Y.K. Kim did a Martial Arts demonstration on stage by grabbing a dude's nose with his toes. It's not actually possible to get more radical than that.

But yet, there are action scenes with gore and violence, and a baddie saying "No More Mistakes". This from his hideout which looks like a little slice of Japan in the middle of Florida. Who knew Miami had such a large ninja population? That's just one of many life lessons you'll learn from Mr. Kim and the gang. That's the thing, there's a positive vibe, emphasizing friendship and camaraderie that you really don't see in movies anymore. And those classic songs! The songs by Dragon Sound, and the others on the soundtrack are extremely catchy and you can't help but love what you're seeing and hearing. A CD soundtrack needs to be released.

It's funny, it's winning, there are great classic computers, the guy who plays Jeff looks like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (if he had been a mid-80's Florida drug dealer, of course), and there's even a Godfrey Ho-style Final Field Fight. Truly this is the movie Godfrey Ho always wanted to make, but rarely reached the heights of. Truly YKK isn't something that's cryptically imprinted on all of our zippers anymore. He's a flesh and blood man who has found his way into all of our hearts.

They REALLY don't make 'em like this anymore. We would like to personally thank Drafthouse Films for reviving the majesty that is Miami Connection. We look forward to what they're going to do next. It's going to be hard to top this. Miami Connection isn't really the type of movie you see. It's the type of movie you live. Against the Ninja. We will fight the battle to win.
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8/10
Ninja Connection
hellraiser75 May 2015
This film is one of my guilty pleasures, I've seen my share of so bad their good films, to me this is my favorite one because of all the things it done wrong it did one thing right, it actually entertained.

This film is a very odd duck indeed. This could almost be an amateur film that the Dead Gentlemen/Zombie Orpahus group could make if they decided to do an action film on the cheap. Well OK, their film are actually content and quality wise I personally think a lot better. But still despite the films low budget it really felt like the makers were trying and their hearts were in the right place they wanted to make a fun martial arts action film and in a way they succeed well kinda sorta. In a way this film is like watching a live action Shonen Anime or even an 80's cartoon show since those series consist mainly of action and very little time for melodrama. It's no doubt a product of the 80's since MTV, Miami Vice, and even Ninjas were in.

The story is colorful but yeah non sensical almost like something out of a bad pulp action novel. There are plot holes let alone doesn't really make much sense when you think about it, like for example there is some subplot of one of the band members trying to find and reconnect with his lost father which I'll admit was just out of the blue and the way it was handled felt like a stock plot for a soap opera. I couldn't help but both cringe and laugh a little at this at the same time, in a way you could say that could be a parody of the kind of subplots in most TV show even Shonen Anime that sometimes just pop out of nowhere just as a cheap shot at drama or just filler. And of course some of the dialog along with some of the line delivery is just terrible but in a good way that makes you almost both groan and laugh. Most to all of the cast weren't really actors in the first place but it did look like most of them tried even though they fell flat. And even the writers tried but couldn't cut it.

The action is solid, the chirography is pretty good Y.K. Kim is a talented Tae-Kwon-Do martial artist even if he clearly can't act, at least not very well as it seems like his face is always stuck in intensity mode let alone seems like he still needed to learn more English as it looked like he had trouble delivering lines smoothly . But still I do like his skill in that style of martial art which is cool since I've taken that art and I'm a black belt in it.

I really like the battles like one in the construction yard but mainly my favorite one was with the ninjas in the jungle area, we got to see some sword effects as well as some sword action, the ninja we could easily see and acted like ninjas even thought these ninja were clearly using the Tai-Kwon-Do style. And there were a few gore effects which were effective like a beheading scene. Though like I sad choreography is pretty good didn't say it was great, there are places where the choreography is off let alone some people in the fights looked like they needed to train more. But whatever it still delivered the goods.

But also what stands out is there is some style the locations were all real they do take place in Florida and not somewhere else which is what most films do sometimes. So in a way when you watch this it could be like a travel guide for anyone that wants to go there.

But also that music, this film has one of my favorite movie soundtracks ever. The songs are memorable, two of them are "Friends" and "Against the Ninja". Yeah their cheesy but catchy and just a lot of fun to dance to. On a side note the song "Friends" was in the end credits of the game "Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon" which is cool and fit perfectly for that game since it was a celebration of the eighties.

Miami Connection is a kick, well sort of.

Rating: 3 stars
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7/10
Truth in advertising
Fluke_Skywalker24 April 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Plot; Cocaine smuggling ninjas battle a rock band of taekwondo masters in the neon-soaked streets of Miami.

Nothing quite says "80s" like ninjas and cocaine, but rarely do we get them both together in the same film. Miami Connection is notorious for being one of the best "So bad it's good" films of all-time. Unearthed by the folks at Alamo Draft House in '09, it's since been restored and released to the public to many laughs and genuine critical acclaim.

The amateurish production values and cringe-worthy acting certainly make Miami Connection a hoot to watch, but what makes it sing is that at its core beats a sincerely earnest heart. On one side you have cocaine and ninjas and nonstop martial arts action with doses of gratuitous nudity thrown in for good measure, and then on the other you have this infectious enthusiasm from all involved that gives the entire affair a likability often absent in the genre.

This is by no means great cinema, but it makes a promise of cocaine, rock 'n roll and ninjas and delivers in spades.
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6/10
A ridiculous collection of bad acting, action, editing and whatever else goes into a movie--and I enjoyed every ridiculous moment
Agent1021 November 2012
When I first saw the trailer for 'Miami Connection," my mind was literally blown. I knew the 1980s was a wasteland of Troma garbage and horrible B films, but this film had something more than your run of the mill awfulness. It was epic. It was beautiful. It was bad 80s pop music, complete with bad feel good lyrics you might see in some TV show, the kind of song a writer comes up with on the spot because that's what they think the "youth" music sounds like. Never mind the bad acting, editing, and overall quality of the film transfer--that was something I was expecting. What I wasn't expecting was the bad after school special side- plots, the rampant homo eroticism, the most bizarre and random gang of thugs ever assembled and the sheer 80s-ness of the film. What I really loved was the over acting by the extras in the film. They must have known that they would never get another chance to be in a film, so they hammed it up for all to see.

Now I will remind you, if you aren't into watching films that are bad enough to make Mystery Science Theater 3000, then you surely will not get the sheer awesomeness of this awful movie. If you like straight comedy or action films, then I suggest you stay away and save your money. As for the rest of us, enjoy.
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10/10
brick-obliterating, six-string rocking, Hell's Angel's Ninja destroying, B-movie deity!
Weirdling_Wolf30 January 2021
The fascinatingly earnest, immediately gratifying 'Miami Connection' (1987) is not undeservedly becoming somewhat of a word-of-mouth bad movie legend, perhaps even rivaling schlock supremo Bruno Mattei's eternally deranged 'Strike Commando' or David A. Prior's 'Deadly Prey'; a querulous, dipsomaniac midnight movie mash up evoking the 'worst' of Richard Pepin, the more frenzied cut n' paste antics of Ninja impresario Godfrey Ho and a heady dash of Filipino trash master Teddy Page's legendary 'Blood Debts', but to be fair this sublimely screwball skull cracker has a truly gonzo, goodly vibe-inducing energy all of its own, with each hyperbolically rendered dramatic sequence being no less punchy than the plentifully bloody, throat-gougingly gnarly street fight scenes exploding off the screen like 'Deadbeat at Dawn' on bathtub Doxitol. The searingly persistent pathos and bare-chested emotion powerfully exposed by the mercurial martial arts-trained musical combo 'Dragon Power', delivering jaw-dropping verbiage like a hail of savage scissor-kicks to the dome, and endowed with such exquisitely crafted songs, the film's ear-wormingly sublime music by Synth-master General Jon McCallum is a constantly effervescing highlight and one of the film's more actively transcendent elements that strongly suggests that 'Miami Connection is the shark-jumping genius of truly exemplary B-Movie minds. Taking a new wave riff on the age-old, frequently told story of Dojo trained, ice cold Ninja Biker dope peddlers and redneck, Uzi-sporting suburban street gangs torn violently asunder by the sweet, songbird sister of a rival gang performing in a truly international group of jujitsu trained musical peaceniks is given a vivid make-over as Jane's (Kathy Collier) smouldering love tryst with tall drink of water John (Vincent Hirsch), part-time 'Dragon Power' bass player and full-time equalizer which devastatingly provides the deadly spark that ignites the red-hot, blood-red trail of knuckle-dusted retribution that calamitously culminates in quite possibly the very best Jujitsu, jive-talking punks vs. Biker Ninjas showdown that Brian Trenchard-Smith never shot! 'Miami Connection' has an uncommonly magnetic, serotonin-pimping effect on the unsuspecting viewer's brain, unleashing an exceptionally vivid, uncompromisingly exhilarating bonanza that not infrequently reaches metaphysical levels of hyperbolic martial art-less madness that raises the diminutive death-dealer Y.K Kim to that of an almost mythic, brick-obliterating, six-string rocking, Hell's Angel's Ninja destroying, B-movie deity! And you are more likely to step in fresh Sasquatch dung than discover another freaked-out masterpiece to match Woo-sang Park & Y.K Kim's almost unimaginably righteous movie!
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3/10
Watch this movie and you too will be "Against The Ninja"
lemon_magic13 May 2016
Rocker Karate Guys vs Biker Ninjas. Does this really need elaboration?

I rate this as 3 stars out of 10 because it's has the feel of something written and acted by a bunch of amateurs who wanted to star in a movie about themselves and their friends.

But I have to admit: there's an earnestness and a positive message throughout the movie that makes "Miami Connection" quite likable...in a silly and half-baked way. And while the movie wastes a lot of time in pointless cul-de-sac scenes with the band members hanging out (and one member in a "missing father" subplot that would make Godfrey Ho scratch his head) , the energy level is usually pretty high.

The performances and songs are hilariously 80s anthem/Cheese Whiz that will stick to all the crevices in your brain and gum up your mental works. Apparently, being "Against the Ninja" is a "thing", did you know that? (Or was it "Kill The Ninja"? I couldn't tell. But the singer sure was Celine-Dion-level serious about it!)

Worth seeing once if you are a fan of directors such as Andy Sedaris.
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6/10
Lol!!
reddiemurf8112 January 2021
Well, the RIFFTRAX versions of this movie are hilarious!
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6/10
Terrible film, but I like it
adamscastlevania212 September 2014
(51%) A crazy, 80's to the limit, Warriors/Streets of fire/biker movie/Godfry Ho style mess, filled with awful writing and laughable performers from actors that really should never feature in front of camera with more than one line each. On a plus side some of the action sequences are quite good, and the direction does draw out some nice shots from time to time, plus it's very simple fun. Anyone with any affection for 80's cheese that can see past the quite major problems (acting/writing/editing/quite terrible rock music sequences) will likely enjoy at least some of what this has to offer, while others should stay away.
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8/10
The best marketing taekwondo ever get
phanthinga7 April 2018
Miami Connection is a trashy movie that got everything I mean everything make the 80s era awesome.A rock band on the ride to success caught up in a string of cocaine and motorbike riding ninja so they have to fight they way out using taekwondo the best martial art in the world according to this movie.The acting is horrible with some of the most absurd lines you need to watch to believe and a series of awful but over the top fight scene really make me wonder how the hell people not like this movie when it came out in 1987.
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5/10
Hilarious Bad and Gloriously Insane
williampsamuel4 May 2020
Now I know what you're all thinking. No, despite what the title may suggest, Miami Connection not a rip off of the French Connection. It's much, much crazier. You see, this movie tells the timeless (read, only in the 80's) tale of a martial arts rock band battling a gang of motorcycle ninjas who are taking over Miami's narcotics trade. That story. Think Chinese Connection meets Scarface and maybe a Chuck Norris movie, with lots of bad original music.

The stars of this show are Dragon Sound, the aforementioned rock and roll band. In addition to being in a band together, they also attend the same college, teach at the same dojo, share the same apartment, and just happen to all be orphans. They're practically brothers! Hence the frequent lectures about the importance of brotherhood and friendship. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if most of them were actual college buddies who signed up for the movie together, since none of them can act and only one of them can do martial arts particularly well.

Not that the other characters are much better. The ninjas and their leader are threatening enough, but few of them can act either. You'll also notice pretty quick that everyone in this movie talks like an awkward teenager or a douchebag frat bro. Which many of them probably are, given that much of this movie is shot around the University of Central Florida. Yes, aside from a few beach scenes, none of this movie was shot anywhere near Miami. It's actually the Orlando connection.

Now you've probably already guessed this, but none of the plot makes sense. For instance, the band introduces their new "hit" song, Against the Ninja, before they've fought or even met any ninjas. And even though the bad guys are killing people and dealing drugs all across town, most of the conflict is over who the villain's sister is dating and which band got the weekend gig at the local club. The guys in Dragon Sound honestly don't seem to be aware that the ninjas are killing off all the other drug gangs.

Perhaps it's understandable that the plot would be minimal, since most of it is just an excuse for martial arts fights and rock numbers. Only the fights are nuts, and the music sucks. By nuts, I mean the fights are a mix of fairly competent martial arts and random flailing, interspersed with some of the most over the top screaming and bizarre facial expressions you've ever seen. Most of them involve all of the good guys fighting a whole mob of ninjas or random thugs, so the director frequently loses control of the action, until everything degenerates into a giant free form brawl. Add in some massive spurts of the fakest blood possible, and it's just hilariously insane..

There's nothing glorious about the music though. It's just the most awful, watered down hair metal you can imagine. You can't even understand half the words. Winger rocked harder and had better lyrics than these guys. But hey, it adds to the overall goofiness and fits pretty well with the rest of the movie. This whole thing is just such an insane, hilarious mess, from the ridiculously violent opening scene to the jaw dropping end tital card. It's a bad movie in every respect, but it's a very fun bad movie. Be sure to check out the Rifftrax version.
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9/10
D.I. Why?
Scott_Mercer4 May 2013
Analytically speaking, this film sucks hard. But I can't kick at it. I can't hate it. I cannot do anything but love it. Like the the best outsider artist filmmakers of history, like Ed Wood or Tommy Wiseau, what we have here is someone with very little talent, but a love of movies and plenty of passion. I'm not talking about some kind of careless hack like Jerry Warren or K. Gordon Murray, grinding out product to make money.

Y.K. Kim needed to have passion to complete a movie against all odds (even this movie, as low budget as it is, I'm sure cost several hundred thousand dollars to complete, something you could use in 1987 to buy two or three decent houses or about two dozen new cars), especially when you have so little going for you: no actors that anyone has ever heard of, crappy talent on all levels, and a dung ball of a script.

What Y.K. Kim DID have, beyond enthusiasm for Tae Kwan Do, for the USA and for the awesome asskickingness of anonymous action/martial arts films that played on Cinemax at 3:00 in the morning, was an absurdly fantastic idea: Our Heroes, Dragon Sound: five college students and roommates by day, lousy Rock/Pop club band by night, badass Tae Kwan Do warriors later at night.

How'd that all turn out? Let's take a look.

1) Script: As I said, the idea is an impressively weak but awesomely gimmicky story used as an excuse for an ongoing series of fight scenes, ranging in tone from bar/nightclub/greasy spoon fight, to street brawl, to crime thriller full-tilt ambush mixing knives and guns, to finally a climactic Ninja battle with giant swords, spurting blood and heads being sliced off. Great idea, but too bad the plot is ridiculous, the motivations for the bad guys are really petty and stupid ("they got my band fired, I need them dead"), and the dialog contains exactly nothing ever said by a human being.

2) Directing: Let's be generous and call it competent. Occasionally. Too bad it is undermined by the:

3) Editing: Fricking awful. Tons of jump cuts, mismatched shots, and incidents where the editing actually makes the story more confusing, not more clear.

4) Music: The incidental music is all done on 80's synthesizer, trapping the film in that particular decade. To my ears, having lived through that time period, this stuff is beyond awful. It might be fun cheese for other people though, so whatever. The songs "performed" by Dragon Sound on camera are slightly less awful to me: at least I can laugh at the cheesy lyrics and the girl singer, who, in another Eighties touchstone, looks like Pat Benatar and even sounds like her a little (she wishes).

5) Acting: Uniformly bad. Y.K. Kim being the worst offender, having a less than solid grasp on the language, but the supposed native American English speakers don't hold up much better, especially hairy Tom, the lead guitarist who looks like Baba Booey from the Howard Stern Show (or really more like John Oates, but hey, same thing). I would be surprised if ANY of the cast were professional, or even semi-professional actors. Which brings me to the one semi bright spot:

6) Choreography: At least passable. Some of the fight scenes are put together marginally well. The rest of the movie has set such a low bar that this part of the proceedings cannot help but impress on a relative scale. And of course, in a martial arts film you have to have at least one training montage, and this film has several. These are fun and do get the point across.

There it is. I found this film through the Everything Is... Festival, and those folks have once again dug up a worthy obscurity from the trash heap of history. If you go into this film in the right frame of mind, you will have fun. Remember, the reason that this is fun is that Y.K. Kim thought he was making a straight-ahead low budget martial arts action film, the likes of which came out Cannon Films or the Andy Sidaris filmography at that time. The fact that this ended up being a trainload of fail is what gives you the enjoyment.

By the way, did ANY part of this movie take place in Miami? I think most of it took place in Orlando and Daytona Beach. Did I miss that?
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7/10
Hilariously Bad!!!
bayardhiler30 January 2015
What do ninjas, bikers, drug dealers, and a martial arts themed band have in common? Well, everything, according to 1987's martial arts cheese-fest "Miami Connection"! It's a movie that I expected to be bad, but in a good way and man was I right. The basic plot of the film-if you can call it that-involves a gang of motorcycle riding ninjas taking over the drug connection in Miami with the help of their allies. For some reason, one of the drug big wigs has a real problem with a cool sounding (At least if you like cheesy 80's songs!) martial arts band Dragon Sound because his sister's in the band. Determined to shut them down, the crooks go to any lengths to shut the group down, even going so far as to supply some thugs to a wild-haired lounge singer who has an ax to grind with the band for stealing his show time! Taekwondo master Y.K. Kim stars as the band's leader and sensei Mark and you can tell the man's never had a single day of acting class in his life. Still, that doesn't stop him and his fellow cast mates (some of whom were his students, others just some bikers off the streets) from giving it their all. Can Dragon sound prevail or are they destined to fall?

It's obvious this isn't an Oscar worthy picture folks. But with that said, that doesn't mean you can't enjoy this masterpiece of cheese. I mean who doesn't find the idea of a martial arts themed band battling a gang of motorcycling ninjas hysterical? The one true cinematic praise a person can say of this is the quality of martial arts used throughout the film. The part where Kim and his students are practicing their craft on the college lawn is simply breathtaking due to the amount of skill and dedication they have. Plus, it's a treat to see them riding around in their white Thunderbird (At least I think it was a Thunderbird), serving justice to any street scum that comes their way, including the leader of the biker ninjas himself, who's just as much at home in his dojo as he is in a dirty biker bar (For some reason I really get a kick out of that scene). While watching the film, though, I'm not going to lie when I say I feel a bit sorry for Mr. Kim. By all accounts, he's a real nice guy and really wanted to do a good film. Well Mr. Kim, if you're reading this just know that while the film may not get any praise from critics, in terms of entertainment value it rocks. When it's all said and done, folks, "Miami Connection" is one for the ages. True, it's no "Ben-Hur", but then again, did you really expect it to be?
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2/10
Y.K. Kim and his band of badasses stupefy the masses in a barrage of thundering punches, high-flying kicks, stellar showmanship and incomparable musical vision!
Idiot-Deluxe31 May 2017
A towering testament to amateurism and a laughable movie from start to finish, let's delve into - The Miami Connection!

Firstly, as far as bad movies go this is one of the best. Period.

What we have here with The Miami Connection is one of the ultimate examples of when sheer enthusiasm exceeds talent many times over. The brainchild of one Y.K. Kim (karate expert and in-demand motivational speaker) who as you'll notice back when this was made in 1986, could barely speak English and he routinely butchers his lines, in fact he has some worst sounding speech you'll ever hear in any movie. However with the way that this movie rolls, it doesn't really seem to matter much, as the plots of martial arts films are never complicated affairs. It must be said when speaking of The Miami Connection and terrible acting, well... Y.K. Kim had plenty of company, because the movies entire cast is comprised of virtually nothing but amateur actors, who have a minimal amount skill or experience and that fact is proved to be true in every single scene of the movie. Think of The Miami Connection as a master class of terrible acting. One of the big dilemma's that this movie creates in the wake of it's sheer awesomeness is picking a favorite scene. Is it the fight scenes that involve ninjas on motor-cycles or is it the rip-roaring "Dragon Sound" scenes, which showcases Y. K. Kim and his band-mates jamming, while showing off their laughably lame skills of pretending to play bad music. When you watch The Miami Connection your subconscious will constantly be telling you "Only in the 80's" over and over again and to such an extent that this movie seems like a time-portal to the 80's; because in virtually every scene there's at least one or two things that directly ties it to the 80's, such as clothing, hair-styles, music, movie references, cars, and let's not forget that the 80's where the golden era of ninja flicks and The Miami Connection is absolutely crawling with ninjas! I also find it impossible not to be stricken by a few Miami Vice flashbacks when watching this ridiculous movie (particularly the opening sequence), so once again The Miami Connection draws up yet another 80's parallel, this film racks them up like no other. I won't bother to go into the plot, it's nothing more then a generic power-struggle, that centers around their band and a certain romantic relationship that causes friction with a rival gang, but to it's credit it does seem to have a bit more going on, plot-wise, then most other martial arts films. Another great thing about this movie, is the high degree of camaraderie that freely flows between Y. K. Kim and his fellow band-mates, together they exude an irrepressible spirit, that's equally matched by the bands infectious, no-holds-barred enthusiasm for their music and it's quite obvious that their a very tightly-knit group. One could say Dragon Sound offers up a glowing example of what a true band mentality is all about. ROCK ON!!! Even if their music does suck.....

To mention a few more specifics about this awesome icon of crap cinema, I urge you to sit back and observe the acting of Jack McLaughlin whose credited as "Old Rock Band Leader", he's hard to miss because he's the loudest and angriest guy in the movie. I hold the opinion that he's also the worst actor ever, watch this movie and you'll see what I mean. Also be ready for this movies "Totally 80's" soundtrack, which is composed of a laughably bad collection of 80's rock/pop songs. My favorite cut (apart from Dragon Sound's own incomparably awesome musical statements) would have to be "Tough Guys", which is the tune heard during the biker rally scene, about in hour into the movie. Now that song utterly oozes with sweat, grit and badboy swagger - definitely the type of tune that'll put hair on your chest. In light of all the sarcastic admiration that this movie inspires, I almost forgot to mention the fact that there are a lot of genuinely good martial arts on display throughout the movie. Y.K. Kim and a few others are multiple-degree black belts and their fight choreography often shines - just don't expect Mr. Kim to be the second coming of Bruce Lee, no risk of that being the case. From a merchandising angle, one that's highly limited I suspect, the soundtrack to the movie is available on CD but better yet I've also seen, hilariously enough, some action figures that are based directly off the films characters! Unfortunately, I believe those were essentially prototypes, that were never produced in any great number, which when you apply stone-sober logic to the matter, makes sense, because who in their right mind would invest a lot of money in a toy-line that's based on The Miami Connection. But if your're a big fan of this movie, as I am, those action figures are a great and awesomely nostalgic sight to behold.

Lastly, for those seeking additional laughter, I highly recommend that you watch the "Rifftrax:Live" edition of The Miami Connection, for it is undoubtedly the ultimate incarnation of this movie.
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