• Jackie Bradbury

The Best Martial Arts Movie Ever

Today I want to share my love and appreciation for the greatest martial arts movie ever made.


You know the one I'm talking about, right?


Yep, it's that classic film...


Miami Connection.


My love for this movie knows no bounds.


But here's a quick summary if you're not sure this film is for you:


"Miami Connection" is action-packed story set in the mean streets of Orlando, Florida.


A group of male, often-shirtless orphan roommates attend the University of Central Florida together, practice Tae Kwon Do together, and are also the hottest band (called "Dragon Sound") in the hottest club in Orlando.


Yes, you read that right.


An all-male, all-orphan (well, mostly), all-Tae Kwon Do training roommates who are also the main members of the hottest band in Orlando. Florida. In the 80's.


Circumstances surrounding a new female singer and her gangster brother force them to cross paths with a gang of drug dealers by day/ninjas by night from Miami (hence, the "Miami Connection").


YES, biker gang ninjas. From Miami.


Hijinks ensue.


Look, if you enjoy "the Karate Rap" you'll absolutely love "Miami Connection".


I don't want to spoil it too much for you (because it has to be seen to be believed and appreciated). Besides, I can't do a write-up better than these two I've read, so please, take the time to go enjoy them.


Vern's Reviews: Miami Connection


MIAMI CONNECTION: All 230+ Things I Love About this Film


Here are a few of my favorite things about this movie:


The movie opens with an action sequence involving the biker ninjas at night time, and the leader of the gang wears all white. Because of course he does.


The biker ninjas are all about dealing cocaine, and only cocaine, because it's the 80's.


The sub-plot about how one of the band members finds out he's not an orphan, after all. He discovers this while wearing unzipped pants and a towel. YES REALLY.


The big tae kwon do martial arts scene, which is basically a TKD lesson in full doboks on the lawn at UCF, much of which consists of doing forms.


The Orlando-based drug gang's wardrobe. As someone who lived in the 80's... that looks like what someone who didn't know anybody in actual gangs thought people in gangs dressed like. I mean, ninja shirts?


Most of the characters that are named have names that start with "J" - John, Jane, Jeff, Jack and Jim. Inexplicably, Y.K. Kim's character is named "Mark".


The fight choreography is a wonder to behold.


But perhaps my favorite parts of this movie are the two big musical numbers.


Turn up the sound, people, because you're about to get your socks rocked off.


First up, is "Friends".


That bearded guy is the Orlando gang leader (and Jane, the singer's brother), and is apparently allergic to shirt sleeves.


Yes, they are wearing gi pants, TKD belts, and no shirts. The Asian dude who is pretending to play the guitar? That's "Mark", aka Y.K. Kim, co-writer, co-director and star of the film (and a motivational speaker and author today). This man is my personal hero.

Lyric sample:

Friends through eternity,  Loyalty, honesty,  We'll stay together,  Through thick or thin.  Friends forever,  We'll be together,  We're on top,  Cause we play to win.

Top that, Lady Gaga.


Next up, and possibly the single best song about anything martial arts related ever: "Against the Ninja".



The matching shirts of the band in this one are just adorbs. I'm wondering if Orlando had a maximum-occupancy shirt sleeve ordinance in the 80's.


I haven't been able to find a full transcript of the lyrics, and honestly, it's a little hard to make them out, but it sounds to me like they're describing about being in an evil war with senseless killing against the ninja, who are dirty evil liars.


Or something.


TAE KWON! TAE KWON!


(The participants are good natured about the whole thing - check out the Dragon Sound Reunion)


Also, the Rifftrax of this has to be seen and enjoyed as well. Check it out HERE.


The movie ends with the wisest words I've ever encountered in my five decades on this earth:


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