Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fantastic Fest 2012 Review: MIAMI CONNECTION

Directed by: Richard Park and Y.K. Kim
Written by: Richard Diamand with story concept by Richard Park and Y.K. Kim
Starring: Y.K. Kim, Vincent Hirsh, Richard Diamand, Maurice Smith, Angelo Janotti, and Kathy Collier
Synopsis: A motorcycle ninja gang terrorizes Miami with their stupid cocaine, and it's up to synth rock band, Dragon Sound, to stop them with the power of friendship and tae-kwon-do.

One of the things that can always be commended about the Alamo Drafthouse and their team of programmers is their propensity to unearth gems of the film world and bring them into the spotlight. The amount of unique movies that I have seen as part of their Weird Wednesday block of programming that we follow in Dallas is outstanding and truly personifies the importance of film preservation. One of the more unique experiences so far of this iteration of Fantastic Fest has been the screening of the thought-to-be-lost late 80's pro-friendship masterpiece, MIAMI CONNECTION.

As you can see in the trailer, the movie has everything you could ever need in a movie: motorcycles, ninjas, synth rock, friendship, tae-kwon-do, and stupid cocaine. The movie is the obviously concentrated effort by modern day renaissance man, Y.K. Kim, who wrote, cast, starred and co-directed the movie. MIAMI CONNECTION is the story of a tight knit group of best friends who not only practice tae-kwon-do together, but play as the band Dragon Sound at a local club.

To quote my diminutive partner this movie is fun drunk with a group of friends, and I totally had that so I was the perfect crowd to see this. In MIAMI CONNECTION, you will hear lots of cheesy "best friends stick together" type of dialogue that felt so naive that I couldn't help but find endearing.

The amount of super quotable dialogue will make this movie an instant hit with the midnight movie crowd, but what I really enjoyed about the movie was the fact that it tried to take itself so seriously as violent action movie, and yet the message looked to be aimed as a kid's network PSA. Y.K. Kim seems to be hell bent on making sure that anyone that ever watched this movie in the 80's would know that violence through martial arts is wrong, and yet there are so many cool shots of dudes getting slashed in half by motorcycle ninjas (which is the name of my new 80's synth rock band).

To be perfectly honest, if we're trying to review this movie against any regular type of movie that's meant to actually make money, I feel that we would lose here. This movie transcends fiscal needs to be something of an interesting relic of its time. MIAMI CONNECTION definitely feels like something that you would see in the late 80's when the war on drugs was taking a rather violent turn especially within minority communities. What we have in this movie is a statement to that time period where drugs were seen as the biggest evil possible, and it seemed like the only thing that could keep kids out of the dope is the after school programs. The more I think about it, the more the movie becomes a fascinating time capsule of a culture that didn't know how to deal with every internal threat such as drugs that was perceived to be brought on by anyone but white people.

I couldn't help but love the hell out of this movie. It's definitely one of the more unique experience I've had at Fantastic Fest. And as a bonus, here's one of the two songs from the entire Dragon Sound catalog that were performed immediately after the movie screened next door at the Highball. 

1 comment:

  1. Hey Javier, Great review, but I think the writers name is Joseph Diamand (check IMdb)