Miami Connection ~ 1987, Woo-Sang Park
Miami Connection is the story of Dragon Sound; just your typical 1980’s rock/synth pop/power metal band made up exclusively of orphans who are all black belts in Tae Kwon Do. The five members of Dragon Sound all live together in one modest house, like the damn Muppets, so that that way they can pal around and enjoy each others company every minute of every day. When they aren’t performing songs about battling ninjas or the power of friendship, Dragon Sound can be seen goofing off at the beach, grabbing a bite to eat, or locked for all eternity in a constant and brutal street fight with increasingly dangerous martial arts gangs throughout Miami’s neon lit, smoke shrouded Urban areas. Dragon Sound wants to spread the message of Peace, unity, and happiness for all mankind, and also they kill people on the regular.
THE PLOT- Despite being made of model citizens with nothing but goodwill in their ethnically diverse hearts, Dragon Sound has found themselves at the nexus of some shady shit. Fate has it out for them, and they seem totally unable to avoid constant tae kwon do related conflicts with people they barely know. Firstly, the bass player thinks it’s okay for him to date a girl he met in class. What? Oh, no, think again bass player, her brother is some kind of coke dealing street commando, and he does not approve- Time for a Tae Kwon Do battle.
Coke Dealing Street Commando- How else would you describe this gentleman?
Hey, Dragon Sound, you guys are the new house band at a local night club! Exciting, right? Wrong! Guess what; the old band is angry that they got shit canned. They demand satisfaction- via Tae Kwon Do battle, of course. What’s that, keyboard player? You bought a new suit? Tae Kwon Do battle. Even the old man who owns the restaurant Dragon Sound likes to go to ends up in a Tae Kwon Do battle. In Miami Connection, Tae Kwon Do battles are just the natural resolution of any and all events, positive or negative. Then the movie ends with a caption about the pursuit of peace and the elimination of violence. Asshole, I work in an office, don’t talk to me about eliminating violence from the world, I just saw you Katana blade a stranger to death in an fucking swamp.
This man is known for his unrivaled commitment to peace.
So, not to imply that Miami Connection isn’t just top to bottom ridiculous, but the movie’s heartiest chuckles come from its deadbeat dad subplot. As mentioned above, all of the members of Dragon Sound are apparently orphans, which really opens the door to a bad ass prequel trilogy where they all meet in a tae kwon do/rock and roll orphanage, but as the rest of the band comes to learn, their keyboard player has a dad, and has actually been trying to hunt him down for years. Watching a grown man try to force tears over his absentee father in a Miami pop band flop house is a special experience. They really, really try to tug the shit out of your heart strings in these scenes, but no one is really a good enough actor to pull it off, so the whole thing feels uncomfortable and hilarious. Also, like, more than half of these guys are shirtless in this scene, so that is a contributing factor. Shirtless men crying is never NOT weird.
They just look strung out, and coming down.
So, there’s really not much to the movie, beyond that. The acting is what you’d expect, sometimes decent, sometimes horrible, and never great. Some of the choreography is actually pretty good, and the movie looks pretty nice for its budget, especially the extravagant 80’s nightclub scenes. Damn! Why did nightclubs in 80’s movies kick ass so hard?! Were real nightclubs anywhere in the world ever really like that? Or is this just a beautiful, beautiful lie that Purple Rain wants us to believe? I want to believe it, Purple Rain. If only I could.