Friends

September 3, 2013

Miami Connection

FRIENDSHIP

Miami Connection – Friendship

Being born in the early 1980s, I really missed out on that grand decade of acid-wash, cocaine cowboys, and mustaches.  Even though the early 1990s were simply an extension of the late 80s, I really wasn’t cognizant of what the 80s had to offer until I was much older.  Once a decade of ridicule, the 80s have come back in a big way.  Between styles that hipsters are co-opting for their own gain, the revival of new wave pop, and of course the film “Drive,” the 80s are back; at least in spirit of course.

Aside from the fashion, the 80s had no lack of action films.  For every “Die Hard” there was another “Surf Nazis Must Die.”  For every “Predator” there was a “Krull.”  The list goes on and on when it comes to cheesy 80s action films.  However, there was another constant in action films from the 80s; and that would be friendship.  From “Tango and Cash” to the bond between Riggs and Murtaugh in “Lethal Weapon,” where would the action genre be without a great friendship?  This brings me to the forgotten classic from 1987, “Miami Connection,” a study in how not to make a movie, but at the same time, the exact way every movie should be made.

“Miami Connection” is at heart a film about friends playing in an awesome band, “Dragon Sound,” practicing Tae-Kwon-Do, chasing girls on the beach, and helping one of their own find their long last father.  There’s a minor subplot about ninjas that sell cocaine, but never mind that…..because it makes NO SENSE!  If you’re going into “Connection” looking for anything that doesn’t fit a stereotype, you better return your VHS to your local Blockbuster Video.  However, if you want to experience the 1980s in all its glory there is no better way to celebrate the decade you’re either trying to relive or forget than with this masterpiece.

The story behind “Connection” is nearly as entertaining as the film itself with star Y.K. Kim nearly bankrupting himself trying to make his masterwork  The Korean immigrant, and Tae-Kwon-Do master with no film experience whatsoever, decided to make a film, which at the time was considered a slap in the face to the industry, had to wait nearly 25 years to receive the credit that he thought he deserved back in 1987.  While that credit is entirely ironic, since “Connection” is really a schlock-fest cashing in films like “The Karate Kid,” any credit it better than no credit at all.

What sets “Connection” apart from other action dribble from the 80s is it’s earnest and sincere message.  Hell, during the closing credits a message pops up essentially saying “The only way to obtain world peace is through the elimination of violence;” a cheesy message that could only be said in decade that also introduced into our lexicon “Peace in the Middle East.”  I just love the irony that the only way to stop violence is with violence to start.  But hey, the day you’re in a pop-synth band playing the keytar shirt-less fighting cocaine-dealing ninjas from Miami, you might feel the need to be a little violent as well.

Bottom line, “Miami Connection” at heart, is a film about the bond of five orphans who are fed up with “stupid cocaine” looking for a friend’s long-lost father, while playing some awesome music and fighting ninjas in Orlando.  What could be better?  Well, a lot, but it wouldn’t be as rad as “Miami Connection.”

Fun Fact: The song “Friends” was used in the retro-grade spin-off to “Far Cry 3;” “Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon,” starring 80s hunk, Michael Biehn.

Also, make sure to check out Slaughter Film’s live “riff” of “Miami Connection” on September 6th at midnight (so technically, September 7th) through this link, Click here dummy!

December 15, 2012

Crappy Holidays: The Shooting in Newtown, Connecticut

*This is purely a commentary on the tragedy in Newtown, CT.  In no way do I condemn the 1st and 2nd Amendment, or any amendment of the Constitution.  Now is the time to reflect and be with friends and family, especially during this holiday season.*

This is Matthew Stewart from Simplistic Reviews.  On behalf of Simplistic Reviews and my two friends and co-reviewers, DJ Valentine and Justin Polizzi, I would like to send my heartfelt sympathy and compassion to all the fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, grandparents, and friends affected by the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.  This is another tragic reminder that we continue to live in a dangerous and jaded society where it’s not only easy to obtain a gun (either through theft or legal means) and that mental illness and its treatment are sadly undervalued in this country.

Yes, people have drive and desire, and will do anything to get their point across, no matter how sick and deplorable it might be. However, you can’t tell me with a straight face that Adam Lanza, the individual that carried out an atrocity that killed nearly 30 people, including 20 children between the ages of 5-10 years old, wasn’t in need of some help. Yes, I do not know the facts of the crime at this point, and none of us will ever know what was going through his mind before, during, and after his crime was committed, but when will Washington, both Democrats and Republicans, see that we obviously have a problem in this country with the ability to obtain guns so easily and with our healthcare system for the mentally ill.

*Link to Review for Elephant*

I recently had my grandfather pass away nearly two weeks ago and I attended his funeral last Saturday.  It was a sad day for my family.  It always hurts to lose a love one, but imagine losing your child, at school, during the holiday season.  Imagine you get a call from an emergency official that you need to hurry down to the school you just dropped your son or daughter off.  You gave them a kiss and a hug before they jumped out of the car and handed them their lunch.  “I love you, I’ll see you at 2 o’clock.”  No, that parent will never see their child alive again.  No more walks to the park to play on the big yellow slide or fly a kite.  You won’t get to see their face when they open their gifts on Christmas or Hanukkah, or ride their bike for the first time.  You won’t see them walk down the aisle at their high school and college graduation, or their wedding.  Families have been broken, forever.

This isn’t the time to discuss politics, we need to have respect for the families and friends who have lost their innocence and loved ones.  Reporters also need to have respect for the children and families and lay off the old adage “If it bleeds, it leads.”

Will we have another tragedy of this magnitude in the future?  Unfortunately, we will.  Its sad to say that, but if you’re prepared to accept the truth, the action will be just a little easier to swallow.  I’m not a father or a brother to a much younger sibling (my sister is 24 right now) and in no way can I comprehend the gravity of this horrific event, but as a society we can’t let this stop us from living our lives.  We can’t shut ourselves off to the world or stick our head in the sand.  Our kids will continue to go to school, we’ll continue to go to the movies, we’ll continue to live.  Hug your kids, love your family, but also tell them what happened.  Make them aware of the world that they live in is a dangerous and at times, unforgiving place.  Be honest with them, and treat them like kids, but with a little more respect.  Kids are smarter than we give them credit for, even the ones that run into plate glass windows and blow spit bubbles.  Be the parent that will tell them the truth and prepare them for the world they are going to inherit one day.  The tragedy is that the parents of 20 children will not be able to tell their children the same.

If you would like to help the families and the community of Newtown, CT, please click here to find out how to assist. 

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