Is Miami Connection The Most Metal Movie of the Year?
Stop everything. I got the winner of the year’s most metal movie. A bad-ass band, villains wearing Ratt shirts, the baddest ninja master who wants to control the cocaine trade in Miami AND oust the synth-rock heroes, Dragon Sound, from their house band status? It can only be Miami Connection.
Originally intended for release in 1987, this movie was so terrible (read: awesome) it was basically shelved until its glory could keep it silent no longer. It tells the story swashbuckling story of a culturally and racially sensitive band of orphans (Korean! Italian! Israeli! Black! Token Female!) led by Y.K. Kim. While they may be forty-year-old college kids by day, they’re a hot rockin’ band by night, and protectors of the good name Tae Kwon Do by later night.
Be warned, spoilers lie ahead.
The band, named Dragon Sound, gets a gig at the local hotspot. No one can resist their rock n’ roll odes Tae Kwan Do, so they’re a huge hit with the locals. Just don’t focus on their hands while they’re playing any of the instruments because, yeah, it’s like five-year-olds pretending to be rock stars. There’s a ot of flailing but no actual contact with guitar strings.
Someone is really mad about this — the band’s popularity, not their inability to play — we never really quite understand what his deal is, and he gets a local bad guy, Mr. Charles Manson Lookalike, involved. I’m sure everyone in this movie actually had names but the sound mixing is so professional, you don’t actually hear half the dialogue. But anyway, Evil-er Manson Lookalike comes to check out the action and, lo and behold, his sister is the token female in the band and –what’s this, what’s this? She’s making out with the bassist! Count on Yoko to bring the thunder.
Luckily, Evil Manson Lookalike (heretofore known as Evil Brother) runs an evil gym where evil redneck men work out. Including evil redneck Axl Rose, complete with a silver midriff top and epileptic crab moves. He works out, too. In jeans. A lot. Half the movie is shots of men grunting in jeans at the gym. Not even a montage. Just… working out. “
Anyway, Evil Brother and his merry band of evil redneck gym rats are all set to battle Dragon Sound. It will be the fight of the century.
And thus, we get the first of the film’s not-quite-rumbles. There’s some shoving and mild cursing and then they all go on their separate ways. Evil Brother realizes he’s no match for the Tae Kwan Do power of Dragon Sound. It is time to bring in the big guns: Evil Ninja Guy.
Now, I should’ve mentioned the movie opens with a highly climactic scene of ramen disguised as cocaine slowly entering Miami. All run by Evil Ninja Guy and his band of incredibly loud ninjas. They scream and thunder across wooden bridges and roll around in grass and generally make a huge scene wherever they go. They are clearly the ninjas all ninjas aspire to be: as subtle as rhinos with swords.
But God bless Dragon Sound! They quickly halt the dealings because ninjas are no match for their Tae Kwon Do. This of course infuriates Evil Ninja Guy, so when his buddy Evil Brother comes by, they decide they need to destroy the band for good.
Mini-intermission to show just how bad the band is with the song “I’m a Tough Guy” (or some such nonsense). Ninjas and rednecks bond within their motorcyle gang and evil guy hang-out bar. Shots from what looks like Heavy Metal Parking Lot are mixed in, except it looks as though the cast of The Hills Have Eyes has the replaced drunken metal nerds.
Luckily, Dragon Sound also has a song for just such an occasion. “Against the Ninja” arms them with the power of positive thinking — and, of course, Tae Kwon Do! Rednecks and ninjas with metal pipes are no match for their flailing arms and cool moves. There’s another not-quite-rumble and the evil guys basically run away. TAE KWON DO RULES ALL.
Shits gets real when the evil gang of rednecks, ninjas, and gym rats kidnaps one of the band members. The band member in question is the dashing Daryl Hall lookalike who spends the entire movie without a shirt on. Even when he’s kidnapped in a shirt, he magically loses it when he emerges from the car trunk into which he has been stuffed. Through the power of osmosis, the band knows to look for him in the abandoned train yard, and a midnight kerfuffle ensues. Drama peaks when they kill Evil Brother. His sister is cool with it, though. They apologize to her and she says it had to be done. The show must go on.
They all take off their shirts and perform that night, a mock-Tae Kwon Do demonstration onstage as they belt their best Pat Benatar-meets-Powerglove ballad. Y.K. Kim brings the house down with his signature move: grabbing the enemy by the nose with his bare foot and wiggling around. This movie is almost as unintentionally and hilariously homoerotic as most metal.
This is a film of many layers, though. Like an onion, the subplots keep emerging, and like an onion, they’ll make you weep. African-American Band Member is on a quest to find the father that abandoned him as a child. We reach an especially moving moment in the film when the band realizes that he might not be an orphan after all. Joy abounds as they outfit him in his best duds and off they go to meet the father. But on the way, the ninjas attack! Ninjas! Three against a…flock? Horde? What’s a group of ninjas called? Certainly not invisible, since they come roaring on to the scene on motorcycles. The band’s Tae Kwon Do is almost no match for their swords, though. When a seemingly fatal blow lands on his friend, Y.K. Kim (The Grandmaster, if you recall), driven insane by grief, basically massacres all the ninjas. The movie gets real dark real fast as his fury sets off what looks like a Vietnam flashback in the middle of Florida.
But of course, Tae Kwon Do, and music, win in the end. The African-American guy doesn’t die and meets his dad, Y.K. Kim defeats the Evil Ninja who just happens to show up to the final rumble after his minions are all destroyed, and the band lives on! Possibly touring all the countries their dead parents were from!
The lesson we should learn from this movie is not-so-subtly tacked on the end. “To achieve world peace, we must eliminate violence.” Because nothing says “peace” like a twenty-minute sequence of Tae Kwon Do carnage.
You know what? Screw most metal movie of the year. This is the most metal movie EVER. I dare you to challenge Miami Connection. Which takes place mostly in Orlando.
You can watch the trailer for Miami Connection below. It comes out on DVD and Blu-ray on December 11, and can be ordered here.