Editor’s Note: This review appeared as part of our coverage of the 11th Annual New York Asian Film Festival, and we’re bringing it back as the film opens this weekend in limited theatrical release.
Anyone who lived through the decade knows the 80s were a hazardous and dangerous time to be alive… especially if you were part of a band spreading peace and a love of Tae Kwon Do through your music and kickass stage shows. Dragon Sound is just such a group, and when they’re hired as the house band at a popular club the musicians they replaced come looking for payback. The quite literal battle of the bands soon explodes into a violent conflagration involving drug running, murder and inspirational lyrics.
“Friends through eternity, loyalty and honesty, we’ll stay together through thick or thin;
friends forever, we’ll be together, we’re up top because we play to win.
You’ve got a friend in me. When times get tough you’ll see.”
The members of Dragon Sound are a ragtag group of fatherless man-children who rock out on stage like no one’s watching and kick butt off stage like, well, like no one’s watching. Seriously, this is some of the worst and most obvious fight choreography since Sister Hermina slapped my hands for talking during class in the first grade. You can see the fighters pausing and holding position while their opponents catch up… it’s fantastic.
But if the fights are hilarious in their ineptitude the songs stand out for exactly the same reason. Check out the lyrics above and get ready to hear them sung twice (twice!) during the film with such unbridled enthusiasm that you can’t help but find yourself singing to yourself days later.
And the dialogue… and the acting! Jack is worried about that “damn gang selling their stupid cocaine.” Jim cries as he shares a heartfelt and unintentionally hilarious story about his missing father to which Mark replies “I didn’t know you had a brother… I didn’t know you had a father.” And just about every other line from the remaining J’s, John and Jeff. And let’s not forget Tom who looks just like Yanni before Yanni even looked like Yanni.
Miami Connection is almost certainly the most entertaining time you’ll have in a theater this year. There have already been dozens of far better films in 2012, and there’s guaranteed to be dozens more before the year is out, but there isn’t a chance in hell any of them are as flat out entertaining as YK Kim’s ode to hand-to-hand combat, synth music and pacifism. See it with friends, see it with strangers, just see it. And revel in the glory of the most incredible 25 year old film you’ll see in theaters this year.