Motorcycle Ninjas! Mullets! Cocaine Drug Lords! Synth Rock Band Ninjas! Grand Master Y.K. Kim! Slow motion karate kicks to the face! Dragon Sound! Dancing Ninjas! A black guy in search for his missing father! Pop songs about friendships and loyalty! This… is Miami Connection!
Miami Connection takes place, and was made, in 1987. Our story revolves around Dragon Sound, a popular band led by Mark (Y.K. Kim), the one the other band members look up to, and for good reason; the band’s friendship is unbreakable, and we know this because one of their hit songs is called “Friends” and it is all about friendship and loyalty. They play every night to a packed house at a local club in Orlando and, when not jamming out at night clubs or giving motivational speeches to each other shirtless in living rooms, Dragon Sound practices karate under the tutelage of Mark before drinking Pepsi after their training. These guys are real bad dudes.
Things become slightly complicated when band member John (Vincent Hirsch) starts dating the sister of the local mob boss, Jeff (William Eagle), a jealous badass who deals cocaine; we know Jeff is a badass because he only wears one earring. He’s also a dick and doesn’t want his sister (who’s one of the lead singers in Dragon Sound) to date John, or anybody, really. So Jeff and his gang decide to cast Dragon Sound out of town with their intimidating karate moves.
To add more dukes to the hazard, Badass Jeff enlists the help from another local band who are jealous of Dragon Sound’s success. Since Dragon Sound plays to win (when you watch the movie, a lot of these random phrases will make sense, I promise), they will not go down without a fight. It’s going to take a lot more than three dozen ninjas to run these five guys out of town.
It would take an obnoxious film critic to tear this movie apart today. Movies in the ‘80s era have more random shit than your local bar’s unflushed toilet. Yes, this movie is over-the-top and absolutely bonkers, but it’s also the greatest movie featuring rock ‘n’ roll ninjas you’ll ever see. Every character in this film is an expert in karate kicking people in the face – from the suit and tie bar manager at the club where Dragon Sound plays, to the chef that keeps them well-fed.
I deeply admire and respect Drafthouse Films’ founder Tim League and Director of Programming Evan Husney for resurrecting this (almost obsolete) film and going against the Hollywood norm. Instead of wasting their money on the conventional mumbo jumbo most studios invest in, they’ve put all of their concentration on movies most studios would never touch, and restoring obscure hits that never got proper releases. The affection never went away completely, but these guys have made watching B-movies exciting again. Especially for the ones who grew up watching anything with karate in the ‘80s and ‘90s. This sub-genre was an outlet that made us nerds feel invincible. Miami Connection is a vortex of insanity and has everything I love about life: ninjas, friendship, and loyalty.