Miami Connection


‘…somehow far more than any of its singular parts suggest….’

I’m late to this particular party, but there’s no shame in that when the brouhaha is as lively as it is in Miami Connection, a barely seen indie from 1987 which has now become a deserved cult classic. You’ll come to scoff, but you’ll leave enraptured by the sheer gall of the cast assembled here by martial arts artist YK Kim. The shambolic Miami Connection somehow says more about the 80’s than a dozen better films, and yet appeals to our sense of the underdog, somehow getting absolutely everything wrong in a way that feels just absolutely right.

The setting is Orlando; yes, Miami Connection doesn’t take place in Miami, and that’s where we’re at; just go with it. After a crazy drug deal organised by motorcycle-riding ninja Yoshito (Siyung Jo) goes sour, we catch up with the romantic fankles of the younglings at Orlando’s Bayside High, where Yoshito’s sister Jane (Kathie Collier) is performing her stone-cold banger Against The Ninja with her red-hot band Dragon Sound. Dragon Sound are a disparate bunch of highly trained orphans who act like brothers, including the film’s co-director YK Kim, a top martial artist pioneering a unique, never-before-seen acting style. Yoshito is the big man on campus, but Jane manages to get the boys in the band to come to her aid, and face off against their motorbike-riding ninja drug-lords.

I’d read a few glowing reports about Miami Connection from the likes of Nathan Rabin, but no words could have prepared me for the remarkable alchemy of this movie; the performance levels of the entire cast are cheerfully raw, the story is childish and both music and dancing are truly mind-boggling, and yet somehow this all plays well rather than badly. Songs like Friends, Against the Ninja and stoic anthem Tough Guys all have that good/bad charm, with the soundtrack issued on vinyl midway through the pandemic and possibly a major factor in humanity’s recovery from that specific predicament.

Snark is often in the eye of the beholder; some people just don’t get what’s funny about a good/bad movie. But Miami Connection’s fumbled attempts at aping film and tv staples ends up winning and charming with computer ‘processing contests’, sub-Pet Shop Boys synth riffs and laughable fight sequences. This title has defo off-Broadway musical potential, but for now, getting into a Miami Connection state of mind is a must for ironists everywhere. Nothing so bad has any right to be this good, but Miami Connection is somehow far more than any of its singular parts suggest.

Bikers by day, ninjas by night

Swift and fierce, not afraid to fight

Steal all your cocaine along with your life

Strike with no mercy into the night

Striking the victim, escaping by bike

Leaving no trails deep into the night

Look in your shadow, meet life’s last breath

Violence the motto, no fear of death

Strike with no mercy into the night

Escape from Miami, escape with your life



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  1. Coke dealing, motorcycle riding, ninjas. You know, I am ok with that premise.
    Who is the guy in the center on the cover pix? He looks a little old to be in highschool. hard living or not.

    • The members of Dragon Sound all appear to be about twice the age they’re meant to be, but I guess they had tough paper rounds.

      That man is martial arts guru YK Kim.

    • It’s got heart, spirit and music you will never forget. Scoff at your peril. You are clearly no true friend to the idiom. I could smash you!

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