[Greeting] [Kim]
How are yo- [Guy 1]
Good morning, Sir [Guy 2]
Good morning, Sir! Good , Good.. [Female]
Good Morning, Sir [Huffing Exercises] [Neck Cracking Exercise] You can do it, I can do it, I can do it, Yes! Please follow me I’m going to make things happen. Thank you Grandmaster, they are ready for you. Okay, let’s go [Background Intro Music] [Announcer]
It’s my honor to present to you [Announcer]
Grandmaster, Y. K. Kim! [Audience]
Y. K. KIM! WHOO! Y. K. KIM! Y. K. KIM! Y. K. KIM! Y. K. KIM! Y. K. KIM! Y. K. KIM! Y. K. KIM! [Cheering in Slow Motion] [Zack]
For the past 40 years, Grandmaster, Y. K. Kim has built an empire of martial arts and self-help seminars. But what few of his followers know is that in 1987, he was the Producer, Co-Director and Star of his very own action movie, which nearly destroyed him. [OUTSIDER Weird Intro Music] Welcome to the show that reveals the beautifully complex and unique minds behind the worlds most [in-overtly?] insane movies. Where primal enthusiasm and raw ambition triumph formal training. Beyond Hollywood and beneath the underground there lies the OUTSIDERS. [Zack]
My name is Zack Carlson, as a movie programmer, film writer and rabid VHS collector I’ve spent my life tracking down the most obscure movies I could find. I made perhaps my best discovery totally by accident, which lead to uncovering one of the strangest film making stories you’ll ever hear. This is an original 35mm print of the movie “Miami Connection.” Which I blind bought on eBay for $40 in 2009. I had no idea what the movie was, besides from the title. But, when I played it for a theater full of people, everybody, including me, would completely ape-shit. [Hardcore Fan]
The Miami Connection! [Zack]
We all agreed that it was one of the best movies we had ever seen in our entire lives. [Movie Background Music] It’s about a commune of adult orphans in college, who are all very close friends. They are all TaeKwonDo black belts, and they are also in a rock band called Dragon Sound. When a ruthless cocaine biker gang emerges, Dragon Sound must rise up and save the streets of Orlando, Florida. I later learned that the visionary behind the Miami Connection was Grandmaster Y. K. Kim, an award winning martial arts demi-god with a legion of devotees. To learn more about the creation of his film, I headed to Orlando to spend a weekend with the Grandmaster. [Zack]
Good morning! [Kim]
Hi, Zack welcome to my home. [Zack]
Welc- (awks) [Zack]
(Chuckles) Thank you. Oh hello, Good morning [Kim’s Wife]
Hello, How are you? [Zack]
Great, How are you? Pardon my cold hand. [Kim]
This is great tea. [Zack]
Oh [Kim]
I think you will like it [Zack] I will try it! [Kim] Yeah, try it [Kim Chuckles] [Kim]
I left my homeland country Korea, 1976. I wanted to achieve the American dream, so I immigrated to USA. But when I arrived here… I was homeless. I told many friends, I am going to open the best(est) school in the USA. My friends called me crazy, but they could not stop me. [Young master Y. K. Kim yelling while breaking wooden planks] [News Reporter]
This is master Y. K. Kim, the worlds leading TaeKwonDo expert, author and movie producer. He came to the United States he had only the uniform on his back and burning desire to succeed. [Kim]
Until I die, I will never stop improving myself, discipline myself, everyday learn. [News Reporter]
Master Y. K. Kim received the Jefferson Award for his benefit performances which raised tens of thousands of dollars for under-privileged children. Warms our heart to see the special children achieving things they never dreamed possible. [Kim] I made the most successful martial arts school in history (in a) thousand years. And biggest, most successful school in the US and perhaps the world. [Disco Background Music] [Zack]
To best understand how his teachings influenced my favorite ninja action epic, I visited Grandmaster at his TaeKwonDo studio earlier that morning. [Kim]
Today, the most exciting martial arts practice you’ve ever seen. [Zack]
When do we get started? [Kim]
Now we can go! [Zack]
Okay! Please.. [Kim open’s door] [Devotees clap and cheers] [Everybody]
Everybody have a seat [Everybody]
YAH! [Zack]
For the next 3 hours Grandmaster let us through rigorous drills and exercises. Which fused both mental and physical affirmation. [Devotee #1]
Break my limitations… Break my limitations… Maximize my potential Maximize my potential Maximize my potential [Kim]
I know martial arts can change the world, so I promote (it) so heavily. [Disco Background Music] [Zack]
Towards the end of the show, Grandmaster Kim asked if I take a seat and we did and impromptu interview show, where people that were involved in martial arts world told me their personal reasons for joining. Like alcoholism and abandonment by their parents, these people were crying and I was sitting there completely terrified by my sudden emotional responsibility to strangers. [Devotee #2]
At around 1987 I’m training Grandmaster Y. K. Kim, he said a big tree has a big root and he told us about.. loving your family unconditionally, that moment.. I realized I have to find my father. [Zack]
That’s great.. thank you so much [Applause] [Zack]
Miami Connection isn’t just about killing ninjas, It’s also about very strong themes, being true to yourself. Being loyal to the people you love, can you tell us about the things that you wanted to share in that movie? [Kim]
I wanted to show true friendship, and (the) teamwork.. is (to) stand by the weak, and that’s the martial arts philosophy all about [Zack]
What drove you to make Miami Connection? [Kim]
Because I wanted to promote martial arts so bad in the big screens, you know? So when I announced (that) I will produce action movie Miami Connection.. including my family including my- all advisers and best friends. Every single person come up to me Don’t do it! [Zack]
Bad idea [Kim]
But again what I believed in, I had no way t- I cannot stop it. No way. [Zack]
With the iron determination to bring his vision to the big screen Grandmaster knew exactly the story that American action audiences had been waiting for. After Dragon Sound rocks the house at a local Orlando night club, a competing band of vengeful dads seeks retribution [Vengeful Dad]
They came in here to play goddamn songs for kids! You get your ass and get this car outta this goddamn town [Young Actor Kim]
I don’t want to have any trouble [Zack]
They ally with blood thirsty, drug dealing, motorcycle ninjas.. one of them whom is the brother of Dragon Sound’s lead singer. Who’s also dating the bass player. [Female]
He’s a friend of mine from school [Buff Male]
A friend? Shut up! [Buff Guy punches Skinny Guy] [Zack]
Which creates a TaeKwonDo triangle of broken hearts and bones.. As the street erupt in violence, heads are lost [Blood spilling sound] and fathers were found.. [Jim]
My father! [Zack]
Amidst a blistering hurricane of loyal friendship and shattered dreams [Jim]
Come on! [Kim]
I did not know (that) movie making was that difficult, you know? not even 10 days.. dry out all my money. [Zack]
Just 10 days in? [Kim]
Right away! Because we did not have professional staff. [Zack]
Rather than hiring film making professionals, Grandmaster assembled his students to act as casting crew. But their inexperience had its own cost, which nearly bankrupted the production almost as soon as it began [Kim’s wife]
I never thought movie making was one of the thing(s) that was in our our plan.. It almost bankrupted us, and we had no money left.. [Zack]
And this is when you guys were newly weds, so that must’ve been a real strain too? [Kim]
I just got married and I (left) to the US I couldn’t see her, I worked till- for this movie 25 hours a day and 8 days a week, because I didn’t- I don’t know how to make movies. At that time a million is big money, my house, my building, ALL is gone. you know? [Zack]
You had put all of your- [Kim]
Yes! And everything what I had
[Zack] holdings and some of you students- [Kim]
you know? I had put in.. and all gone I stopped everything, and cried, and shame All my successes were gone. [Zack]
You felt like a failure in that momen- [Kim]
Oh yea! And- and at that moment I saw (heard) what I my mother said, my mother came into my heart. My mother said.. “You live on you voice (word) not twice..” “as long as you live, maximize your potential, when you die.. you will.. part, you will be rotten” [Table slam] And I stood up! Yes I CAN DO IT! I CAN DO IT! I’m still alive.. I can do it! I finished through [Another Table slam] Miami Connection [Disco Background Music] When I finished through it.. I was just so proud, I was damn proud of who is Y. K. Kim. [Music]
There is not whatcha doing when you messin- messing with the tough guys [Kim]
I was just so excited to- yeah! maybe this will be what academy award, you know? [Zack]
One of the most power irresistible aspect of Miami Connection is its TaeKwonDo inspired synth-rock anthems Outside his circle of friends and supporters, Grandmaster recruited John Oates look-alike Angelo Janotti, who shaped Dragon Sound’s alluring tone. [Tire screeching] [Zack]
We are at the home and home studio of Angelo Janotti who is the rock composer and one of the main characters in Miami Connection so.. [Music]
Everybody talk about Tae-Kwon-Do Everybody practicing Tae-Kwon-do What do you like, what you need to know.. Ninja should better take heed, grandmaster Kim will bring you to your knees [Tryin be cool]
Tae-Kwon-Do Taa-Kwon-Do [Zack]
You just finished that today? [Angelo]
Yes.. [Zack]
You know last night Grandmaster told us that he’d no longer refers to what he does as TaeKwonDo Did you hear about this? [Angelo]
No.. [Zack]
He changed his whole.. [Angleo]
I did not know that.. [Zack]
I hope that’s not discouraging for you.. this is.. [Angelo]
Oh no, no! [Zack]
Ok Ahh.. What were the very first things you heard about the project before you became part of it? [Angelo]
Just as Grandmaster Kim was doing a movie.. a ninja movie.. and just needed music and that was just awesome experience the whole movie thing.. and pretty much, you know? Put that behind me the whole movie thing as he did too and.. [Zack]
So what’s the chronology of the Dragon Sound discography? [Angelo]
Well “Against the Ninja” was our first song that we brought him, the Grandmaster loved the song [Zack]
And then- So then you end up doing “Friends” [Angelo]
“Friends” was the third one we brought to him, and he liked that.. 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 [Angelo]
And this is what we have here, Dragon Sound, the hit singles [Zack]
And there is that male on the cover [Zack]
that man on the right with the hairy chest who’s that?
[Angelo] Yes [Angelo]
That’s me with my hairy chest [Angelo]
And a mullet, I had a bitching mullet! [Epic Guitar Solo] [Zack]
Do you keep in contact with the other people from the movie? [Angelo]
Me and Jim, yea we talk.. as I’m playing with a band. I’ll see Jim, Maurice, he’ll come out with a date or something and every now and again I all give him a hard time we got a movie star in the audience people autographs by the jagermeister machine over there! [Jim sobbing] [Jim]
My mother was Korean and my father was black-American. She gave me this picture when she was real sick 🙁 [Zack]
We’re here in front of the original Dragon Sound house, this is the home of the main characters in Miami Connection And we are also going to meet the fan favorite member of Dragon Sound.. Maurice Smith who played Jim, he’s the emotional center of the movie. And he’s basically just everybody’s most beloved character, because of his quest to find his father and because of everything else. [Zack]
Do you have a lot of memories about making the movie? [Maurice]
Absolutely! The crime scene and.. the ‘found my father’ right- right there.. the mailbox right there [Jim]
My father! I found my father! Oh my god! [Zack]
Did you guys actually installed a mailbox for that scene? [Maurice]
Yeah, right- right there.. Yeah, we had dug a hole and put it in there and.. [Zack]
There was a scene of.. the members of Dragon Sound, installing a mailbox just so you could later get that letter? [Maurice]
Yes Right there [Epic Mailbox installing Disco Music] Excuse madam, may I have a little kiss please.. and little kiss please, come on.. come on! WHOAP OHUHOHOHUH Who the hell are you?! Jerk! Some asshole, get outta here. [Zack]
Until the re-release of the movie.. but- the last time you thought about it would be in.. like 1987? [Angelo]
I did.. but- hadn’t looked at it in years, knowing what he went through you know? just going broke and.. You know? spending a million dollars and having to- even our local newspaper just gave it the worst write-up possible, and it just- everybody was just so mean to him. [Kim]
That Orlando central critic.. he said it’s garbage, worst movie ever. [Zack]
Worst movie ever made? [Kim]
I took this film (to) Hollywood I showed to over 100 distribution companies wha.. every single one say, what? “It is trash.. throw (it) away..” “You don’t want to lose more money?.. Throw away this movie..” Miami Connection.. is dead.. is dead.. is truly is dead.. it’s dead. [Zack]
So you put aside movies, and over the next 25 years, you concentrated on what? [Kim]
I concentrated on martial arts, and teaching martial arts [Old school news theme music] [Reporter]
Who is Y. K. Kim? Y. K. Kim is a modern philosopher, great public speaker and world-reknowned evangelist of the martial arts Grandmaster – Y. K. Kim [Audience]
Y. K. Kim [Zack]
You focused on just improving the people around you , rather than making anymore movies [Kim]
Yeah! you’re right [Zack]
Just- [Kim]
You’re right [Zack]
You said, “This is what I’ll do..” and you devoted yourself to- [Kim]
Yeah, and promoted nationwide so more people become healthier so more people become wiser more confident! Say “I’m a winner!” [Audience]
I’m a winner! [Kim]
I’m a winner! [Audience]
I’m a winner! [Kim]
So more people, can achieve a successful life [Slow Motion cheers] [Zack]
Everything you’ve every done.. that we’ve talked about is to make the world better.. do you feel like you’ve changed the world? [Kim]
I didn’t changed the world, but I will change the world! [Zack]
You’re ready to change the world [Kim]
Yes, you’re right! [Zack]
You built schools and you worked on your books.. but then what happened after the 25 years from the movie? [Kim]
(is that) Somebody called. [Evan]
I just remember, cold calling his office.. and sorta being like, “Hi, I am this film distribution company.. you made this film 25 years ago – Miami Connection and, you know? Loved the movie!” You know, you’d think that would be met with, “Really?.. like- psst.. okay!” You know, whatever, and instead it was just.. click.. Which then I would later learn that they thought maybe these were just, you know? Punks you know, playing a prank on the phone. [Zack]
The movie that ruined his life.. [Evan]
Right! [Zack]
For a while [Evan]
Yeah.. But I didn’t had the context of that at that time so I’m just like.. uhh that’s interesting, so call back – same thing.. and then there was one last time, where I made one last effort and called them and said, “No, don’t hang up the phone!” “This movie has been playing in Texas, sold out theaters, people love this movie, like we need to put this movie out..” and then it found out we’re a real organization and we genuinely like this movie and we wanna release it and so we did a deal. But, I think there was a disconnect.. He couldn’t understand, “why?” you would put this movie in theaters now [Kim]
The first time I met Evan, I asked him.. [Sniffles] “Why did you buy this trash?” [Evan]
And I was like, “It’s not trash, there’s gonna be a midnight audience full of people that are gonna be cheering and you know, going nuts, like its- this is what the movie is made for. Rather than me telling you, let’s show you.” We had a very ambitious idea, let’s take every member of the synth-rock band Dragon Sound fly them to Texas, and get them to pretend to play instruments on stage re-uniting as Dragon Sound, for the first time in 25 years. [Zack]
Be like.. “Can you please fly across the country to pretend to play a keyboard?” [Evan]
(Chuckles) Yeah! Please? [Zack]
Please [Evan]
Yeah! [Announcer]
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen we have the one, the only Dragon Sound! [Epic Disco Music] Against the ninja.. we will fight the battle to win! Tae-Kwon Tae-Kwon [Angelo]
It was just a blast, going up there and doing all our interviews and our- signing posters for the movie, we never thought that would’ve happened back in the day.. you know, so like Crazy! [Maurice]
There’s standing room only, there was a line, oh my god. oooohhh this is kinda weird! Crazy! Nutz! Bonkers! :O Felt like I was a star [Kim]
I was shocked! People laughing, and people were.. big hand (clapping) and screaming [Audience]
Y. K. Kim [Kim]
Crazy! They treated me like the biggest movie star, I feel like- dead body standing up and is what?.. walk(ing)! it is a miracle! [Zack]
Its connected with people so much more, than we ever expected [Evan]
Seeing the film being written about in Entertainment Weekly in print I think was something that also was pretty wild too. [Clark]
There was just something about a film called Miami Connection which was about a funk-band battling cocaine dealers that was now being re-released and the band is gonna play. It was something about the combination of factors that lead my editors to say, “Go.” [Zack]
At the premiere, with all the members of Dragon Sound, all the members of the cast [Kim]
Yeah [Zack]
were with you, and you said to- have this big special premiere, you wanted to take a sword and cut a watermelon in half.. on my stomach, I guess of a way of saying “Thank You” for.. [-_-] bringing the movie out. [Kim]
You’re right! Yeah.. [Zack]
You’re welcome.. (awks) (awks) The reason were out here extensively is because of our appreciation of the movie Miami Connection When I first saw it, I just thought “Oh, this is a really fun, low budget action film and the people that made it probably just went back to their jobs, like you know, working at kinkos or whatever that they do” I don’t think anybody had any idea that they was just like this massive force behind that movie. So we came out here expecting to kinda get the story of the movie and instead we’re running into like hundreds of powerfully devoted followers of this man and the world that this man has created. And through all of this we came to understand Miami Connection was just one part of Y. K. Kim’s desire to change the world [Kim]
You can do it [Angelo]
Everybody’s talking about Tae-Kwon-Do Everybody’s practicing Tae-Kwon-Do I feel we are one of the best martial arts rock bands in the 80s if not THE best! [Zack]
The only people who don’t like the movie are people who don’t like fun. [Everybody]
You will never escape Miami ninja! HURRRAAAHH!!!

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