There’s a certain je ne sais quoi to bad films that can sometimes make them b-movie magic acts. There’s no such thing as a formula for making a great film, otherwise, every single flick you’d go to see at the box office would win you over, inject your brain with a healthy dosage of introspective sophistication and make your wallet open itself up for a second viewing.
For every Argo or Cloud Atlas there’s a cash-and-dash stinker like The Devil Inside, which dupes you into the theater with a slick trailer that ultimately proves to be the best parts of the film inside two minutes. Bad movies today, in the 21st century, are multimillion-dollar debacles that have numerous faults and missteps leading to their totality of terribleness.
But, in the 80’s, the b-movie factory was a healthy one, pumping out an assembly line of Corman-esque, crackling low-budgeters with poorly written scripts and badly acted buffooneries. And yet, there’s something that some of these 80’s b-movie marvels left with you with a feeling of, and that’s fun. Miami Connection is one of those films.
I won’t gloss over this film’s imperfections. The sound editing is some of the worst I’ve ever seen. It’s dubbed badly—sometimes the voices aren’t synched and other times the actors are clearly not saying the words that are escaping their lips.
The acting is viciously poor. Y.K Kim, who’s obviously not an actor and the predecessor to athletic martial arts stars like Jet Li and Jean-Claude Van Damme (don’t you dare think Jackie Chan…that man is a cinematic treasure) is one of the leads here—it’s his film—and he couldn’t be worse. But, I don’t blame him, as he stumbles his way through English language scenes when it’s obviously not his native tongue. Being the director and writer of the film, his best decision was not to feature himself in too many speaking parts, just the fighting sequences. But, the other actors are clearly not graduates from the Lee Strasberg Theatre.
As for the script and plot, well, this is where some of the fun comes in. You see, a group of outlaws—backed by a vicious, killer ninja gang—inexplicably decide to make enemies with a rock band named “Dragon Sound”, and when I mean inexplicably, I mean they just decide they want to beat the crap out of them for no reason other than the fact that they’re popular and they play this fantastically 80’s rock song, “Against the Ninja”.
Of course, things don’t go so well for the outlaws, as the rock group is a bunch of karate black belts led by none other than Y.K. Kim. The fight scenes are more 80’s pro-wrestling matches than they are fight art, and there’s spectacular cheesy slow-motion sequences mixed with bouts of bloody Tom Savini-like 70’s gore.
This is one disjointed, zany flick. In one scene you’re treated to what amounts to a music video shot inside a smoky club, in the next your cruising the beach looking at ass-shots of Miami’s hottest beach bimbos (a scene that holds no weight in the scope of the film and exists for god-knows-why), and in another scene your front-row for a karate instructional video as Y.K. Kim displays his “talents” for his students; all these scenes have nothing to do with the main plot of the film, but there they are.
And, through it all, is the 80’s glaring influence embedded within every frame of this film that’s the element which found myself gawking with an interested eye. I couldn’t look away. Sure some of the scenes are god-awful, but so god-awful that a car crash would best describe it. The film works best when it’s moving at an accelerated clip, it’s only unbearable when its stays with one set-piece for way too long. Other than that, I found myself having fun rummaging through this time capsule of karate, rock-and-roll and bad tastes; in other words, my childhood.