The 1980s was an epic time for movies considered so bad, they're actually good — you know, in an ironic way. It was pretty easy to fire up the ol' VCR and fill your weekend with a steaming, smelly pile of Gymkata, Rhinestone and Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama.
The king of Shit Mountain, though, just might be 1987's Miami Connection, a movie most of the world didn't get to see — or learn existed — until decades after its original theatrical run.
In retrospect, it's hard to believe that audiences didn't flock to a movie about five University of Central Florida students who play in a synth-pop band called Dragon Sound by night, train to become martial-arts masters by day, and spend the majority of the flick's 83 minutes kicking the crap out of motorcycle-riding, drug-dealing ninjas or playing shows. Oh, and all the while wearing their taekwondo gear on stage, because you never know when those ninjas might show up mid-gig.
There wasn't any way to glimpse the absurd genius of Miami Connection until someone at Drafthouse Films bought the rights and restored it, reportedly after buying a bootleg copy on eBay. The original theatrical run was limited to roughly eight Florida theaters, so if you weren't a bored Daytona teenager circa 1987, chances are you missed it.
What makes Miami Connection rise above — or sink below — the competition to be the World's Best Bad Movie? Pretty much everything. The acting, the plot, the soundtrack — every element is among the worst and most ridiculous you'll ever see committed to celluloid. The fact that they spent about $1 million making this in the pre-digital age is hard to comprehend when you see the final result. I'm guessing most of the budget went to motorcycle rentals.
The movie is called Miami Connection, yet it takes place not in glorious, sexy South Beach, but in the swampy wasteland of strip malls that is Orlando. No doubt the film's star (and writer, producer and co-director) Y.K. Kim was trying to grasp on to some of that Miami Vice heat at the time. No dice.
Is it terrible? Oh yes. Is it worth seeing for a good laugh? Absolutely. And with the guys behind Mystery Science Theater 3000 on board for the two RiffTrax presentations this week, it should be even funnier than usual.
RiffTrax Live 2015: Miami Connection • Thu, Oct. 1, at 8 pm and Tue, Oct. 6, at 7:30 pm • $13.13 • Regal NorthTown Mall Stadium 12 • 4750 N. Division • Regal Riverstone Stadium 14 • 2416 N. Old Mill Loop, Coeur d'Alene • fandango.com