I feel a swell of nostalgia for the grandiose action hero genre of the 80s. Growing up in an era of film where martial arts, ninjas, drug lords, muscle bound heroes, and neon lights where the norm was something I didn’t truly appreciate until adulthood. I keep coming back to this genre, even though most of the movies I love are far from what you would consider good. Character development, thought provoking themes, and sharply written dialogue are all things that are pretty much non existent, but that’s totally fine for me. What I love about these 80s action films is that they’re not pretending to be anything more than they are.
Miami Connection is an epic martial arts film that perfectly encapsulates everything I love about the 80s, from the soaring rock music to over the top action and memorable but silly dialogue. The best way I can describe Miami Connection is that it’s part martial art, part synth rock opera. The plot is utter nonsense but I know many will love it dearly, irrespective of how bonkers it is. When you have a rock band that consists of martial arts students who decide that decide to take the law into their own hands to take back Miami from its seedy underbelly of drug lords, does that not grab you by the throat and say WATCH ME?
The 80s are considered by many to be the cultural apex of humanity. Miami Connection best represents this period in time; a movie that’s like a melting pot of every theme you could possibly include. Y.K. Kim, director, writer, and actor, grabbed all of the elements you would expect from any number of action films and tossed them into a large delicious pot of absurdity. There’s an overabundance of everything in Miami Connection: synth rock, violence, hackneyed and saccharine dialogue, and giant street brawls, but it’s evident that everyone is having fun and is giving it their all; how can you not admire that?
Much of the cast had no acting experience and were Tae Kwon Do students of Y.K. Kim. A quick check of IMDB shows that Miami Connection was the first and last movie many of the cast worked on. An actor’s duty is not just to memorize and regurgitate dialogue. An actor must be able to understand the scene and their character’s motivations and completely immerse and ultimately disappear into the person they are playing. Since I started my studies in acting this year, my appreciation for the craft has raised to another level. Even if you’re not a good actor, it still takes grit to put yourself on the line and commit to a performance in front of a camera.
Miami Connection is available on various streaming services or available for purchase on Blu-Ray. I highly recommend the Blu-Ray as it has the best picture and sound quality and includes some great bonus content. You should also check out some of the trivia on the IMDB page as the story behind the production is even more interesting than the film itself.
Now, enjoy the trailer.