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!