Film still of Miami Connection
Courtesy of Drafthouse

Forgotten B-Movie Masterpiece Miami Connection

January 4 2013
6:30 PM

The 1987 action flick Miami Connection was nationally released in the US for the first time in 2012. A few years ago, Zack Carlson, a movie programmer for the Alamo Drafthouse movie chain, bought a copy of the film on eBay and, after a small screening, realized its huge potential. The film stars (and was produced by) Korean émigré Y.K. Kim, a martial artist and inspirational speaker. Set in Orlando, Florida, it’s the story of aekwondo-themed electro-rock band Dragon Sound and its attempts to fight a cocaine trade controlled by a gang of ninja-bikers. In its opulent enactment of the trashy coolness of 80’s B-movies, Miami Connection might as well be an articulate post-modern prank. But the point of this gesture is that wave—once called “psychotronic” (from the magazine devoted to forgotten low-budget gems)—opposes mainstream cinema not from an “auteur” standpoint but from the ironic, light-hearted perspective of slackers. Miami Connection shows that loving quasi- proper or substandard products still has both viable commercial value and critical relevance. The case also reveals that the ’80s is still a mainstay of current Pop reference. The film’s slightly incoherent plot is more than redeemed by the mustaches, the choreographed fights, the bad lip-synchs, and the bland dialogues, in a setting that strongly recalls the TV we all watched as teens. (Francesco Tenaglia)