Written and Directed
by Michael Mann
Running Time: 2:12
for strong violence, language
and some sexual content.
Miami Vice ended up being kind of boring with a dense plot, little action, and two leads who looked like they wished they were elsewhere.
Crockett and Tubbs get called in to an F.B.I. case gone bad. It involves a large dealer from Colombia who traffics in drugs, guns and whatever else he can get his hands on. The two have to go deep undercover to try and bust him from the inside. Crockett falls for the bad guy's right hand woman, which leads to serious consequences. They manage to get inside, but things almost immediately start to fall apart, as another one of the bad guys sniffs them out. Things come to a head in Miami where the mother of all gun battles ends things once and for all.
I'm not sure where to start with Miami Vice. Saying I was disappointed is an understatement. First things first I guess. The movie bears no resemblance to the television show. It was almost as if Michael Mann did everything he could to distance himself from the show he created. I realize this isn't a remake of a 70s TV sitcom, but throwing a bone to fans wouldn't have been bad. A cameo from Don Johnson and/or Phillip Michael Thomas? Or at least some Jan Hammer music remade for the century? None of that. Why bother to call the movie Miami Vice if you're not going to showcase the things that people remember from the show? A couple of the shots while Crockett and Tubbs were driving were familiar, and a couple of lines of dialogue, but what do people remember most from the show? The pastels, the music and the actors. None of that was evident here. In reality, the only thing the show and movie had in common were the title and the character names. Otherwise, it was just a movie that took place in Miami. Don't get me wrong, I'm not looking for a remake of the show, but a couple of shout outs would have been nice. And playing a remade version of 'In the Air Tonight' does not count.
So on to the actual film. I'll start with what I liked. It looked good. The film was shot on digital video and had a very gritty, grimy look to it, which fit into the overall feel of the film. There were also some really beautiful shots of waterfalls and other things. The locations were well scouted and added to the overall look and feel of the movie. There was some good violence, especially the gun battle towards the end. Mann can do a gun fight like no one's business, and Miami Vice was no different. Some of it turned rather gruesome as well, but that just added to my enjoyment of the scenes. And lastly, I liked Colin Farrell's hair. Not many people will agree with me, but I dug it. And that's about it.
Now let's go to the stuff I didn't like. I thought the story was way too dense and convoluted to keep my interest. There were layers upon layers of information that made me feel buried. Trying to figure out who knew what was a chore and not something I'm interested in doing at a movie. I have nothing against in depth stories, but it should be done in such a way people can follow what's happening. And when you throw in dialogue that's heavy in cop language, it makes it even harder. And on top of that, there were so many different accents that would crop up in conversation, there were entire scenes where I had no idea what people said. It also didn't help that the sound track in the theater died for about 12-15 minutes so people sounded like they were underwater. It did however lead to a lighthearted moment where the crowd all laughed. Might have been the only time in the entire movie the crowd was on the same page. A more streamlined story would have definitely helped the cause.
The acting in the film was solid, but not spectacular. When you've got Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx - sorry, Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx - in a film written and directed my Michael Mann, you expect a certain level of acting. But the two leads were never together long enough to develop a good rapport and so were left to float on their own. And neither seemed all that interested in being in the film. There was little emotion from either actor and yet we were supposed to believe that Crockett was falling for this woman, and Tubbs loved his wife. And speaking of Crockett's woman, played by Gong Li, why was she played by Gong Li? The movie took place in Miami, Colombia and Cuba. Why was a Chinese woman a major figure in the story? I have nothing against her, but she seemed very out of place. Some kind of explanation would have helped. The rest of the cast was just sort of along for the ride. The only person who stood out from the crowd was John Ortiz as Jose Yero, one of the middlemen in the cartel. He looked good for the role, and he had a few throwaway lines that were funny.
While the gun battle at the end was good, and a couple of other random acts of violence as well, for the most part the movie didn't have any action. At over two hours, there needed to be some more excitement. Having Foxx and Farrell on screen can only do so much. Having them both in shower scenes with their female co-stars was nice as well, but again, that can only go so far. There were long sequences that could have easily been cut to make the movie move along at a better pace. However, as much as Michael Mann is known for his action sequences, he's also known for making movies way too long, so I sort of expected that. Not that I was happy about it, but I can't say I didn't know it was going to happen.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I was disappointed by Miami Vice. Even taking into account the fact that Michael Mann wanted to make this nothing like the television series, the movie standing on its own wasn't very good.
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