Miami Connection (An Average Meandering)

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”                      

Aristotle

There is a problem we have to deal with as movie goers. An ongoing conundrum that is to decide what is good and what is bad. Deep down, we know when a movie is bad (the dialogue is terrible, the movie looks like crap, the editing is atrocious, etc.). But on some occasions, we break our own rules governing movie taste by seeing one of those that are “so bad that they’re good”. For those movies, the problem then arises with a simple question: why did I like this movie?

Miami Connection is a film that takes place “somewhere in Miami,” as it says in the beginning title card. It is the story of rock band martial arts college students who use their power of friendship to overcome the obstacles set before them by the might of a drug dealing ninja biker gang. The movie stars an ensemble cast comprised of the students and friends of real-life martial arts master Y.K. Kim, who made this movie alongside director Woo-sang Park (credited as Richard Park). Music, drama and confusing editing all lead the main characters into a finale that can only be described as mind-blowing. That is the entirety of the film. I highly suggest you watch this film (by ANY means), and try to make sense of the film in any way that you can.

Now that all sense of direction has been lost with the description of the plot, there are some things to discuss for those that are still reading. This movie is a mess, and to explain the plot further would make the reader begin to pull their hair out with questions. If I were any other human on this planet, I would have seen this and written it off as a disaster. But as I finished it and sat at my desk, I could not shake the feeling of how absolutely delightful the movie actually was. I then had the arduous task of asking that question: why did I like Miami Connection?

If I were to take a guess, it would be that there is a certain charm to this film that transcends normal qualities one would use to determine a movie’s watching value. The acting is bad, but you can tell that every single person on camera wanted to be in the film, giving it their best effort. The writing is bad, but it almost has a charm, as it is either shouted at the top of the cast’s lungs, or hardly mumbled through terrible recording devices. The editing is the same way; it is so abrupt and terrible that it almost goes further past the veil into avant-garde. Miami Connection reaches heights even higher than most good movies do. While a movie like the recent 1917 exists, in which quality control has completely obliterated most errors, Miami Connection seems almost like a fever dream, trying to purposefully keep it all in.

More than any other in my life, this movie has my brain firing on all cylinders just to keep up with its ineptitude. There are no discernible plot points, there are no clear endings/ beginnings of scenes, and there is only one theme to take away from the film’s ending. In the final scene, where the main characters are on their way to find one of their long-lost dads, an intense fight breaks out between them and the ninja biker gang over the killing of their drug-dealing associate. Characters are near mortally wounded, and ninja body parts are strewn all over. When the fighting stops, and the characters make it out okay, the ending screen reads as follows: “Only through the elimination of violence can we achieve world peace.”

No Final Verdict: Jury Still Out

This movie has become such a part of my life after the initial watch, I urge readers to truly prepare for something that may change their lives. Usually I would never ride the fence as hard as I do here, but it has to be done: there really are few words that could convince anyone of any true quality this film has. I have no final verdict for this movie because, in truth, I don’t think that it would do a movie like this justice. A five-star rating would have people feel betrayed or worried that I praise crap so highly, never trusting my opinion again. A one-star rating and people would continue to trust good judgement on a surface level, but never challenge themselves to the art that is Miami Connection. The film truly is something that has to be seen in order to understand the conundrum: why are movies good.

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