Monday, January 12, 2015
Monday Madness: Miami Connection
The story begins with immigrant and Tae Kwon Do master Y.K. Kim, who landed in the United States from South Korea in 1978. By the mid-80's he was kicking ass with a chain of successful martial arts schools, public speaking, authoring books and generally being liked by those around him for his positive outlook on life and charitable efforts around central Florida. While on a television program in South Korea, action movie director Woo-sang Park figured he'd made a good cinematic hero and the two set off to create a flick that would encapsulate Kim's philosophy of friendship, loyalty and martial arts. Against the advice of his closest friends, Kim sold his car, mortgaged his home and franchise to fund Miami Connection. With no prior background in filmmaking or even an interest in it, the shoot quickly devolved into a nightmare. There was no script, director Park spoke little English and the entire cast was more or less farmed from Kim's network of 10,000 students. With that pedigree you'd expect a fun home movie but instead Kim hoped Miami would be a blockbuster film that showed the greatness of Tae Kwon Do to the world. What he got was a near $1 million dollar catastrophe that almost crippled his life and sent him into bankruptcy.
wait for it style. Given that the entire main cast are blackbelts, they get to show off their high kicking TKD skills and even fight with swords in a bloody final confrontation against the ninjas. Kim is not exactly the world's most charismatic leading man but really he's just there to support his friends and kick ass, which he does just fine. Two of his students turned co-stars, Angelo Janotti and Kathy Collier, were musicians in their own right and provided two memorable tracks; Friends and Against a Ninja. Friends reminds you of Nowhere Fast from Streets of Fire a bit and has awesomely simple lyrics like "loyalty, honesty, we'll stick together through thick or thin" with it's hand clapping drum beat. Against a Ninja starts with extreme guitar riffs and more hand clapping and lyrics about you know, ninjas being evil.