FILM FINDS: MIAMI CONNECTION (1987)
– Chris Frain, August 2017
There’s not much I want to say about Miami Connection for fear of ruining the many WTF?! moments contained in the movie. All you really need to know is that the film involves the adventures of the internationally diverse pop band “Dragon Sound” (the keyboardist plays a Prophet 5, the drummer has a Simmons kit!) who all attend Central Florida University and study Tae Kwon Do. They run afoul of several groups of bad guys, including the band they displaced at their local neon-intensive night club, some low level thugs, and the evil motorcylce-riding ninjas from Miami who want them dead for some reason.
I would put this film in the ambitious-amateur category of movies, like The Room. There are decent production values on display, and the incidental music is some superb proto-synthwave. However, there are so many just truly odd moments in the performances (both musical and acting) that it makes you wonder if any time was spent actually rehearsing lines – or even writing them.
Alamo Cinema Drafthouse restored and released Miami Connection back in 2013, which is when I first saw it. You can purchase it there [http://drafthousefilms.com/film/miami-connection] on BluRay packed with bonus material (I can’t even imagine), or you can currently find it on YouTube.
Even better, you can order it from Rifftrax [https://www.rifftrax.com/rifftrax-live-miami-connection] and listen to the guys from MST3K tear it apart. However, I recommend trying it out unriffed at first to absorb all of the unintentional hilarity.
Because of its goofy sincerity, I feel like this is one of the great time capsule films of what the 1980s really felt like, at least in our own fevered imaginations at the time. Enjoy, and remember…Tae Kwon Do isn’t just about kicking and punching.
Here’s the trailer:
Oh, and you can also order Dragon Sound t-shirts online! You can find them here [https://www.etsy.com/listing/158215733/dragon-sound-t-shirt]. Group Halloween costume!
When he’s not representing Central Florida University at computer programming tournaments, Chris Frain records and performs electronic music as Pattern Language. The first EP, Total Squaresville, is available on Happy Robot Records. [https://happyrobotsrecords.bandcamp.com/album/total-squaresville]