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"Miami Vice" is a 2006 Action film starring Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx and directed by Michael Mann, it is a modern reworking of the iconic TV show of the same name from the 1980's, created and directed by Michael Mann.
While on an undercover sting operation, Miami Vice detectives James "Sonny" Crockett ( Colin Farrell ) and Ricardo "Rico" Tubbs ( Jamie Foxx ) receive a frantic phonecall from a former informant of theirs, Alonzo ( John Hawkes ), Alonzo lets Crockett and Tubbs know he's leaving town as he and his wife are in immediate danger, he asks Rico to check on her, while thats happening Crockett learns from Alonzo he has been working as an informant for the FBI, but he's been compromised, letting Crockett know that he has been working with a colombian cartel and white supremecists, who knew all along that they had been infiltrated by FBI agents but forced Alonzo to go along with it, upon learning his wife has been killed Alonzo kills himself by walking infront of a moving truck.
Crockett and Tubbs meet with their lieutenant, James Castillo ( Barry Shabaka Henley ), and also with an FBI agent in charge, they inform the agent that their intel has been compromised and offer to go undercover for the FBI amongst the colombian cartel controlled by Montoya ( Luis Tosar ) and headed up by the head of the cartel's operations, Jose Yaro ( John Ortiz ), they pose as high tech drug smugglers and attempt to infiltrate the group, however all is not as it seems and Crockett finds himself falling in love with the wrong person, while Rico has a personal crisis himself, and so Crockett and Tubbs go undercover once again for what may be their most dangerous assignment yet.
I have to admit, I had both high hopes for this movie when it was first released, and also high scepticism as I'm such a fan of the original TV Series ( at least the first three seasons anyway ) and I wasn't sure how Mann could revisit the show and keep the gritty and stylish feel, also i'm an enormous fan of Michael Mann himself and think he's probably the most stylish director in Hollywood and someone who you can tell he has his prints on instantly, after watching only a few minutes of one of his movies.
I left Miami Vice with the mixed emotions I expected, I love the way the movie was shot and its very reminiscent of the original 80's TV Show, I also loved the subtle homage's to the show that were littered through the movie, such as Crockett owning a very fast boat, and also the iconic Ferrari that Crockett and Tubbs would use, however my disappointment with the movie is I'm not as convinced with Farrell and Foxx as Crockett and Tubbs as much as I was with Don Johnson and Phillip Michael Thomas, I don't think the two actors had much chemistry together, which I think translated to the movie itself, Farrell in particular portrayed Crockett very differently from the original character, which would be fine, but they might as well have just created new characters with new identities if that was the case.
But maybe i'm being too picky, Miami Vice does deliver thrilling action, intense scenes and wonderful cinematography, if you're looking for the original TV show, you won't find it here, instead you'll find a fast paced action thriller that will suck up 139 minutes of your time very well indeed.
What a terrible waste of a great opportunity. This could have been a brilliant action thriller, and instead it's really second rate. Not what you would expect from writer/director Michael Mann, who brought us Heat, The Insider and Collateral.
The plot revolves around the same characters from the TV series. Sonny Crocket (Colin Farrell) and Ricardo Tubbs (Jamie Foxx) team up to fight a drug's Lord who is bringing in cocaine through South Florida and Cuba. Between them, they are sent undercover as potential buyers to push the drug's Lord into selling so they can get a conviction. Along the way we meet Sonny meets Isabella, and he begins to date her even though she is dating the drug Lord. As they are pushed to the edge because of the case, the lines between officer and dealer become blurred, as to the lines between right and wrong, leading up to the brilliant finale at the docks at the end (the only really good part)
Overall, this film is nothing in comparison into Mann's other films. The pace is terrible slow, and there is very little action. You get the feeling Michael Mann was trying to make a social statement, but it doesn't' come off because he forgets to focus on actual plot. Farrell and Foxx are both on form with the little they have. And without a doubt, the action is some o the best when it comes along. But there's just not enough to make this film worth watching.
note: also appears in part on Flixster and The Student Room
Michael Mann is a fantastic director, having directed classics like Heat, The Insider, and Collateral. Even his lesser works are usually compelling, such as Ali and Public Enemies, yet Miami Vice is one of his rare missteps - a film that should by all rights have been right up Mann's street, but is instead a long and drawn-out, even tiresome affair that's no fault of its actors, but the laboured script.
The film has Jamie Foxx as Tubbs and Colin Farrell as Crockett, the two famed characters from the original TV show. In this film, they are attempting to take down drug dealers, but there are numerous other moral elements that cloud the plot, such as Crockett's relationship with Isabella (Gong Li), who happens to be the girlfriend of Archangel de Jesus Montoya (Luis Tosar), the drug kingpin they are trying to take down.
Though the film's narrative has a lot of problems, it is a very easy film to praise from a stylistic perspective - Mann experimented with the digital look in Collateral, and here it comes to vibrant life, in full digital HD, making the night time environments look even more authentic and gritty. The gun fights, though few and far between, are also very well executed, and the film wins a few points for showing a rather brutal headshot that most films would have cut away from.
Following on the coat-tails of Mann's Collateral, Miami Vice has a gorgeous production design but a boring narrative, and therefore fails to deliver in most aspects. Yes, the action is well-directed (one would expect no less from Mann), but the plot is weak, and more to the point, boring.
This film was adapted from a popular TV show of the same name however I have only a limited memory of the TV show, no matter what the quality of the TV show this proved to be a very average film with a very complicated and nonsensical plot.
On the plus side it does star the absolutely scrummy Jamie Foxx in it as police officer Ricardo Tubbs and he starred alongside Colin Farrell, himself no slouch on the looks front, and he took onthe role of his cop partner Sonny Crockett
The two Miami cops work undercover to try and bust some drug dealers who are smuggling in large shipments of narcotics, being mega rich means you get to see lots of bling and expensive toys, boh of the machinery kind and human totty. The plot is just so convuluted and there are almost too many bad guys and girls which just makes it over complicated and lacking credibility.
The movie does do better with the action scenes but even these are a bit predictable and fail to really save the film. The two lead actors are wasted on this sort of purile nonsense and it is a shame because they make an interesting pairing but there is no chemistry between the two on screen and it has you hankering after some proper cop buddy movies like the first couple of Lethal Weapon films.
One to avoid unless it is free on the TV and even then there better be nothing else half decent on.
FILM REVIEW ONLY
As a huge fan of the original 1980's TV series starring Don Johnson and Phillip Michael Thomas I looked forward with great anticipation to this 2006 movie spin off starring Irish actor Colin Farrell as Sonny Crockett and American actor Jamie Foxx as his sidekick and partner Ricardo Tubbs.
What added to my anticipation is that the movie was produced and directed by Michael Mann, who was responsible for the original TV series. So I expected great things. Unfortunately I was to be hugely disappointed.
The movie simply isn't a patch on the original series, and while the acting from the two main characters is passable (they're both excellent actors) the storyline is both muddled and unbelievable and the character development totally non-existent.
The story (such as it is) has Crockett and Tubbs working undercover to track down a team of drug barons who are flooding Miami with all sorts of naughty substances. (Some things never change!) You have the obligatory Ferraris, speed boats and designer clothes that so enhanced the original TV series, but somehow in the movie it simply doesn't seem to come together.
You even have the song "In The Air Tonight" by Phil Collins that was used to great effect in an episode of the TV show, but this time it is a cover version by a Miami rock band called "Nonpoint".
The dialogue between Crockett and Tubbs is often banal, and to make matters worse is often mumbled, so you find yourself actually straining to hear what they are saying on more than one occasion.
Of course, there's the love angle, with Crockett (somewhat implausibly) falling for one of the baddies in the form of Isabella, a Chinese drug smuggler ably played by Chinese actress Gong Li, and Tubbs falling for a police colleague Dectective Trudy Joplin (Naomie Harris). While both actresses provide admirable eye candy for male viewers they do little else to redeem the movie.
When the plot isn't confusing the life out of you it simply drags, and even the action and chase sequences aren't enough to stimulate much more than passing interest. What makes it worse is that the movie is very long, running for over 2 hours.
I have this movie in my DVD collection (recorded from Sky Movies) in order to ensure my Miami Vice collection is complete, but when I want a fix of Crockett and Tubbs it's not this film I reach for but the absolutely marvellous complete box set of the original TV series.
Michael Mann somehow lost his way with this movie, and it's not one that I could in any way recommend.
If you still insist in watching it then the DVD can be bought for buttons over the Web.
© KenJ April 2009
I really wanted to like Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell. I tried hard. After seeing respectable performances in Ali (Foxx) and The Recruit (Farrell) I began thinking something like "Yeah, these guys could maybe take my interest in future movies." Unfortunately for me, the next two films I saw them star in were Jarhead and S.W.A.T.. To say that I was mildly peeved off with those two films would be a huge understatement.
After sampling Michael Mann's work for the first time with the sheer brilliance that was 1995's Heat, I expected great things. After a decent opening scene in the club, aided by the Numb/Encore Linkin Park/Jay-Z mix, I thought yeah, the groundwork in Miami Vice had been set. Almost immediately after that song ended though the plot had lost me entirely; I just couldn't believe just how tedious and frustrating the rest of the movie was to watch. Nevertheless, being the nice guy that I am, I decided I would give the movie another try this one lonely evening. I didn't get much further beyond that point, in all honesty.
Now, I've never seen the series, which the movie is supposedly based upon, but if Tubbs and Crockett are anything like their TV counterparts then its hard to believe that any of the viewers were kept awake all those years. Neither character says much, and when they do its either a scowl or shout; any other time I wouldn't be bothered, but they don't scowl or shout particularly well. I think back to Rocky II when Mick asked Rocky to demonstrate how to "Snarl and punch." Watch and learn you moisturising screen kids.
Action wise, there's none, apart from the shoot out finale, which, if you're anything like me, you'll have missed the first time from falling asleep way before you even knew it took place. There's plenty of conversation, but if you're expecting it to be anything like the standard set by Al Pacino and Robert De Niro in Heat you're going to be extremely disappointed.
Oh dear oh dear oh dear. I never really watched the TV series, but it permeated the '80s culture so thoroughly that surely everyone was aware of Crockett and Tubbs and Miami Vice, promising a fast-paced fun mix of style over substance.
I was quite looking forward to this film. It's not really my thing but with the directing pedigree of Michael Mann and the acting talents of Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell, surely it would be a cut above the usual police/crime thriller?
Well sadly, no. Mann fails to bring any additional substance to the movie - a disappointment from the director of such great films as Heat, Collateral and Manhunter. There are bits of excitement but elsewhere the film drags on interminably. He's also left most of the fun behind too.
Farrell meanwhile is awful, though to be fair he does have to struggle with one of the worst movie haircuts/tache combos of recent times. He's also lumbered with a truly terrible sex scene. Only Foxx seems to come out of the escapade relatively unscathed.
It was never going to be an Oscar-winner, but it should have been a lot more fun than this.
When I first heard about a Miami Vice movie I thought it would be a similar type of movie to that of Starsky and Hutch and The Dukes of Hazzard. After watching the movie though I was left thinking, just what the hell was all that about.
Apart from the title and the characters I have to say that the movie itself is as far from the series as it can get. I wont even bother trying to explain the story as to be fair its confusing and it doesn't make sense. Basically it involves drug smuggling in Miami. Thats about it in a nut shell.
The 2 lead characters played by Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrel are far from what the original characters were, and the film itself is alot darker in content. It seems like the story line was put on the back burner in order to put action scenes at the top priority.
There are a lot of shoot out scenes throughout the movie which all in all sounds very good but most of them are done during the night meaning half the time you dont have a clue who is shooting who.
The bottom line is they could have made this a really good film based on the series although I think they didn't want to make it too close to what the original series used to be. I think they went just way too far with this one.
Another review from me of a film adapted from a TV series. This time, it's popular 1980s crime detective drama Miami Vice to get a makeover for the big screen in 2006.
Ricardo Tubbs and Sonny Crockett are undercover cops in humid Florida, working to bring down the underworld drugs circuit by infiltrating it with their team of highly skilled cops. They get closer to a drugs and guns trafficker, and Sonny finds himself drawn to the trafficker's wife, putting himself and his team in jeopardy of being killed, let alone rumbled as undercover agents. The sparks soon begin to fly as a big heist looms on the horizon, with Sonny and Tubbs the only ones in place to foil it. They are also the ones best placed to completely ruin the whole thing.
The Cast and Performances
Sonny gets a makeover from Irish hardman Colin Farrell, who does a good American accent and fits the bill as the character originally played by Don Johnson in the TV series. Fast talking smooth Jamie Foxx plays Rico Tubbs, taking on Philip Michael Thomas' original role. The pair have brilliant on screen chemistry, and while they cannot completely mimic the TV series on their performances, there are elements which are carried out very similar.
I was slightly impressed by the supporting cast, but not majorly so. Ciaran Hinds provides good support as ever as FBI agent Fujima, and Justin Theroux is sinister as Zito, and Li Gong provides able love interest, but there is nothing special from the majority of the support, which I found severely disappointing as it detratced from what was essentially a good job by Farrell and Foxx.
I enjoyed the film as far as a detective thriller goes. There was nothing special with the plot, and it was completely predictable, but the on screen charisma of the two male leads saved what could have been a bit of a disaster. The scenery is breathtaking, with a feeling of utopia at times in the sunny state of Florida, and the special effects crew have done well with some of the explosive work and vehicle stunt scenes.
My personal view is that I am glad this film was made. I was never a huge fan of teh TV series, but found myslef liking this despite some under par acting from the support. Director Michael Mann does go some way to create the right atmosphere in the film, and does get it right in the end. The final thing to note is that there is a marvellous score, topped by Linkin Park's Numb, which has haunting bars at the beginning of the track and is used as the film's theme tune. It is a wonderful track that fits the film perfectly.
A decent enough film that I enjoyed, but was rather spoilt by being under par in a few areas.
I rate this film at 3 stars out of 4.
The DVD is available from amazon.co.uk for £5.98.
This review may be posted on ciao.co.uk
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When my husband told me that our next rental film was Miami Vice (2006) I admit that I did giggle - images of the 80s television series kept flashing into my head and really hoped there might be a few baggy suits with t-shirts and slip-ons without socks in view. But alas despite the suits and t-shirts it had been brought up to date (which I knew they would really) except I couldn't quite get over Colin Farrell looking like Steve Coogan's Tony Ferrino! And the fact that this film was directed by Michael Mann, whose films such as Heat and Collateral I really quite like, meant that I actually held out hope that this would be quite a good film. Was I right? I have to say the jury is out on this one.
The trouble with a film based on a person or an adaptation of a well loved television series is that the viewer has a preconception of the character being portrayed and if the actor playing them doesn't quite fit with that perception then the film has to be really good to break down those preconceptions. And Mann has successfully done this before in Ali with Will "Men in Black/FreshPrince" Smith and in Collateral with Tom "Top Gun and the notable scientologist" Cruise as a hitman. And someone else who ties all of these films together is Jamie Foxx who starred notably in both of these films and was taking the lead role of Ricardo Tubbs in Miami Vice. Could he replace the image of Philip Michael Thomas and could Colin Farrell really replace Don Johnson? And would we really need them to replace the image? Well the answer is no to all of these but in as much as it doesn't matter if two actors can replace the preconceived ideas of the viewer they do need, especially in this cop film genre, to have a chemistry as a partnership - Thomas and Johnson made the partnership between Crockett and Tubbs, and even the likes of Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in the Lethal Weapon series show what a successful partnership is. Foxx and Farrell - the only thing that makes them close is their surnames both begin with F.
And then add onto that the whole appeal of the TV series was the various scenarios they found themselves in every week, the fact that Tubbs lived on a boat guarded by an alligator/crocodile and Crockett wore shiny suits and that all the action was crammed into a short episode or two. You had to wonder how that would transfer into a longer period of time and all the things that made the series worth watching were lost in this film. OK so Tubbs is still the hard man and Crockett is still the charmer (of sorts) but as that is almost expected it doesn't hold any real interest and the fact that there is no chemistry between Foxx and Farrell just makes the potential appeal of the film seep away. You get no sense of the level of seediness of Miami which the TV series did. Yes there is a pimp shoehorned in and a few club scenes but that just seemed like a trendy place to be. Everything in the film is just cold and calculated - there's no feeling of reliance on their partner or any sense of being buddies as well as colleagues and that is one of the main things that build tension in a drama. They care for their partner and so we care for them too. In this you don't really care about them as characters and so what you are watching is a series of events which you can't really engage in. In fact not only do you not really care about them but actually you don't really like them - Tubbs is ok just far too efficient but Crockett not only suffers from the efficiency but is far too cold and emotionless in all his dealings.
What you end up watching most of the time is people on the phone or having a meeting. There is very little real action and there is no sense of jeopardy which considering the dangerous reputations of the crime lords they are supposedly dealing with, is a real shame for a cop thriller. You're supposed to wonder where the twists are but all you end up wondering is should I care about this. And all the talking just lends to the lack of chemistry not just between the two leads but also with the other characters. There are sex scenes in this film which would have been warmer in a fridge. As I said before you can't relate to any of the characters and so all you have to cling to is the cool cars, clothes, houses and quite slick (when they happen) shootouts. But even they are too clinical and really too few. And you're not sure if you are enjoying them because no one is talking on the phone! They're not that original - you've seen it all before and the standoff before the shooting begins is just "I'm a badass, you're a badass and we'll stand here posturing until someone - who suddenly appears to be leading this operation - decides it's safe to shoot". Nothing goes wrong (you just feel that they didn't read the manual on how to make a good cop/buddy thriller), and even when there is a situation of potential upset, you just feel "oh well they'll be ok" and so again there is no jeopardy - you have to ask where is the point you are supposed to care? It's just all a bit too weak and no amount of flashy cars, boats and technology can strengthen it.
As I've mentioned there is no connection between the two main characters and all the supporting actors leave you feeling cold as well. Gong Li, probably best known as the calculating Hatsumomo in Memoirs of a Geisha, actually does quite a good job as the business like femme fatale with a bit more of a heart than perhaps she should have. But her rapport with Farrell is less than convincing as it is with Luis Tosar, the overall baddie of the piece and her boyfriend/business partner, Montoya. In fact as a character Montoya is extremely unsatisfactory - you have no real idea of how dangerous he could be apart from him giving a little speech and turns out to be a little too trusting for someone who probably got to where he was by not trusting anyone. John Ortiz is possibly the only actor this film that gives his role a little bit of realism as the middle man/distributor between our duo and Montoya. You would expect him to be cold and calculating and one of the main people that could cause real trouble for our duo. But even when he does you don't feel he's any real threat. And everyone else in the film just seems shoehorned in with a few strange over the top lines to make them a bit more memorable - except that I can't remember the lines or for that matter the characters very well.
OK so you have probably guessed that I'm not too impressed but for everything that is unimpressive there is not a bad soundtrack with original music by John Murphy and the likes of Moby, Audioslave, Mogwai, oh and of course a Phil Collins song to name but a few. And it does really lift the film and give it a cool edge and ok so you haven't got your Jan Hammer theme from the TV series but it is a really well chosen soundtrack. And that backed by quite sharp directing from Michael Mann gives the film quite a stylised feel which probably lends to the coldness of the film but nevertheless makes it quite enjoyable to watch. And that is the quandary with this film. The story is not great, the acting is not great, the tension is non existent but it's not a bad film to watch. Perhaps I was just pining for a film with the same feel as the TV series and so from that point of view it didn't meet my expectations but although I might not rush to watch it again but I wouldn't turn it off if I found it on television and I wouldn't discourage anyone from seeing it either. As a way to pass an evening it's OK - I just wish I could say it was in the same league as other Michael Mann films.
Having watched and enjoyed the spoof re-make of Starskey & Hutch a few years ago I rented this film in the hope that I might find a film on a similar vein or a least a bit of 80s nostalgia for the eponymous TV series. It just shows that I need to research films a lot more before I add them to my rental list! Firstly there is no comedy and secondly there is no 80s nostalgia - no designer stubble, electro pop soundtrack or rolled up jacket sleeves. What we have here is just a generic, present day, cop 'buddy' movie that happens to be set in Miami at least some of the time.
The film jumps straight into the action as Crockett (Colin Farrell with dodgy hair and an even dodgier moustache) and Tubbs (Jamie Foxx) are in a nightclub trying to make a bust when Crockett gets a call from one of their informants who has been working with the FBI, and has had his cover blown. Crockett and Tubbs then take over the drugs deal for the FBI and this leads to Crockett meeting and falling for a Columbian drug baron's mistress Isabella (Gong Li) and Tubbs' girlfriend being kidnapped by white supremacists. I found this part of the film all a bit confusing, and the film didn't really engage me. Whether I was confused because the film wasn't holding my attention and I lost the plot or whether the film was confusing anyway and I just got bored I'm not sure, although I suspect the latter. There were some fast car chases, some gun battles and a token effort at romance.
The acting performances were disappointing; all the lead players have done so much better in other films. Foxx is certainly capable of so much more then looking brooding, and for me, was at his best when he was naked in the shower. Farrell, once I got used to the dodgy moustache, was OK. I have never really rated him apart from in 'Phone Booth' and he didn't really do anything for me to change my opinion. Don Johnson, the original TV Crockett, may not have been known as the greatest actor but at least he had charisma, something Farrell sorely lacked. There was absolutely no chemistry between him and Gong Li, and no rapport between Farrell and Foxx. There was no witty banter going between them like in your typical cop buddy movie, in fact there was barely any dialogue at all.
The film is directed by Michael Mann, who produced the original TV shows and as such I think I was right to expect a little bit more of a nod to the shows. Direction was slick, cars and boats were fast but that was about it.
Overall I was very disappointed with the film. Once I'd given up trying to work out the connections in the sub plots and went with the flow, this was a better film for the action. The romance part was hardly worth the effort and the 'buddy' aspect non-existent. I would struggle to recommend the film - it just wasn't engaging enough and is likely to only appeal to cop movie fans. Unfortunately it isn't even that good a cop movie.
This is a film only review. Although there were extras on my rental DVD I wasn't interested enough to watch them. It is a Certificate 15 for some scenes of sex and violence and drug references.
Miami Vice is based upon the 80's TV series of the same name. Fast Cars, exotic locations, designer clothes and cutting edge music all came together to make a landmark series, of course best remembered for Don Johnson's Sonny Crockett and Anthony Michael Hall's Ricardo Tubs.
For this film version Colin Farrel plays Crockett and Jamie Foxx plays Tubbs, along with mostly unknown actors except for the excellent and under rated Ciaren Hinds in a supporting role.
They are on the trail of drug dealers and have to go undercover to infiltrate the gang using any means at their disposal.
I was really looking forward to Miami Vice being a fan of Michael
Manns work. I was seduced by the flashy trailers and the big names.
How disappointed was I...
There are fast cars and speed boats aplenty in the spirit of the original. However, this is just eye candy and does not make up for the mediocrity of this movie.
The plot is so thin and implausible that it undermines any attempts by the actors. It seems to jump all over the place. There is just no way a sophisticated gang of drug smugglers would be so easily taken in. There is no on screen chemistry between Foxx and Farrell. Sex scenes appear as fillers, and are totally unnecessary.
Where has the sharpness and depth of Manns excellent film Heat gone or the atmosphere of Manhunter?
Most annoying of all though is the dialogue, and the fact I couldn't make most
of it out with the actors mumbling, often over loud music.
Oh, I almost forgot, the final shoot-out is a complete mess, and what happens to the main bad guy is a mystery, although I'm not sure if that's intentional or not, probably not I feel. In fact by this point you really don't care.
All in all I would not recommend this film, it's a classic case of style
over substance. Don't waste your time.
Colin Farrell - Det. James 'Sonny' Crockett
Jamie Foxx - Det. Ricardo 'Rico' Tubbs
Li Gong - Isabella
Ciarán Hinds - FBI Agent Fujima
Directed By : Michael Mann
Running Time : 134 Minutes
Certificate : 15
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What is God? Is it an all powerful being that determines the fate of all people? Do you imagine a giant man with a flowing white beard divining what is right from a celestial abode? Perhaps it is a woman, Mother Nature if you will, keeping the balance of the planet through environmental manipulation? Or perhaps, you work in Hollywood and you know what/who God exactly is you. Miami Vice is a first rate lesson in how people in Hollywood think they are really great. Overblown egos leading to awful films; welcome to the worst type of American film.
Before I go into more detail about the plot of this film I would like to point out that this is my opinion, and a strong one at that. I can see that some people may like this film and I will try and give a balanced argument if I can. But do forgive me if some parts of the review descend into a hate filled rant.
Miami Vice is loosely based on the popular 80s TV show of the same name. We follow the adventures of two undercover drug cops; Sonny (Colin Farrell) and Rico (James Foxx), as they look to bust a Cuban drugs ring. They hope to achieve this by becoming the transport men so that they can find out who sells the drugs in Cuba as well as who buys the goods in America. They look to be revealing a huge bust but things are not always as they seem. Is Sonny falling for the wrong girl and can Rico keep the case together? They are playing a deadly game of cat and mouse.
Wow! What an exciting synopsis I just wrote. Sounds like an action fest from the very top level. Then how come this film is so boring, disjointed and confusing? I will start with the so called story. The film leaps in half way through a case and does not really explain what is going on. Sonny and Rico then continue to break open the case through varying degrees of bluff and luck. Half the time I did not know what the hell was going on as it seemed you have to know about the drugs trade to be able to understand the nuances of the film. Please note Michael Mann, we are not all partakers or cocaine and do not know the ins and outs of international drug trafficking.
If the story itself was bad, the directing is worse. Michael Mann is now officially the most overrated director around. Your films arent that good!! Yes, Heat had its moments but Collateral was well over hyped. Michael Mann must think he can do anything; his arrogance is smeared all over the screen. The use of jump cutting, shaky cams, grainy picture quality and other overblown techniques does nothing but detract from the film. The worst type of direction is that of trying to be fancy but ending up ruining the film. I think that Tony Scott, for all his negatives, does action much better than Mann ever could. I hope that the next Mann film flops so that he goes back to concentrating on story, i.e. The Insider, rather than technique.
Mann is not the only person to blame, although he should take most of the flak as director, writer, producer, etc. The two central actors are abysmal. Who do they think they are; walking around the screen like two cocksure movie superstars who can do anything they want? Youre a former Ballykissangel actor and a Hollywood reject. As a rule I like Farrell and feel that he has great charisma on screen, but he will sign is name to anything. None of his last films have been any good and he needs to realise that you have to impress the audience if you still want to be working in movies in five years. As for Foxx, he still has not proven anything to me. I have an Oscar. Bloomin Cuba Gooding Jnr has one of those and he is rubbish too. I hate both their arrogant attitudes to movie making and can not wait to rent all the B Movies they will be starring in a few years. In Miami Vice they stink up the screen with their minimalist macho rubbish.
What was Mann thinking when creating the feel of the film? Is it meant to be 80s or modern? Its neither; more a horrible mix of grimy modern day ultraviolence with 80s attitudes. Farrells hair alone is worth a 2 star loss; a greasy mullet with porn star moustache yet the ladies still love it. This chauvinistic attitude to life may have worked in the 80s but now people are a bit savvier. This film has no humour in it at all even though the entire movie is a joke.
This brings me on to the twin issues of soft rock and love making. Thats right; soft rock and love making. It seems that the two go hand in hand in the world of Miami Vice. Its not even the so cheesy its ok 80s rock, but the we are all middle class trying to be edgy modern rock. Once it kicks in ladies beware. If Farrell or Foxx get anywhere near, you will collapse with ecstasy, fully clothed. The music just makes you want to chop your ears off I hate Nu Metal.
Another issue is with the sound. I admit that I do not have the best hearing and sometimes have to strain to understand what people are saying on the TV. However, with my surround sound on high enough I can always get their meaning. Miami Vice is a film that has parts that are complete gibberish due to a combination of poor accents, mumbled lines and background noise. My partner had the exact same issues as me and she can hear wonderfully. There is no excuse for this poor quality of sound and the cast should have been forced to redub their lines.
The main tragedy with this film is that there is a nugget of a good idea here. Its just that all the macho nonsense gets in the way of the film. Mann, Fox and Farrell spend the entire picture trying to outdo one another and the plot suffers for it. Mann is a good director when he gets on with it and the action sequences feel very real and are effective. However, they do not make up for what is an awful movie. Perhaps there are worst films, but I can not stand a film that had so much wasted potential. All the cast and actors involved should be forced to work cleaning toilets in the London Underground so that next time they make a film they can appreciate that although they enjoy messing around we dont want to watch it.
Director: Michael Mann
Starring: Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx
Price: Amazon uk £12.87
CD Wow £11.99
I could not bring myself to watch any of the extras on this humour vacuum of a film, but if you choose, you can watch a bunch of people who made the film pretend they like it in two featurettes and a music video for the worst song ever.
Waste of even a rental.
After a security breach leads to several deaths, detectives James Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs are sent deep undercover to bring down a gang of drug traffickers. However, their personal and professional lives start to become intertwined. Will they remember whose side they are really on?
Colin Farrell is James Sonny Crockett, the unorthodox cop played in the original TV series by Don Johnson. Frankly, its not a good role for Farrell. Sporting long, greasy hair and a stupid 70s style moustache, he looks ridiculous. Sadly, his performance is not much better than his look. He tries to play Crockett as far too macho all swaggering posture and gravely voice and ends up becoming almost a parody of the tough guy he is trying to portray.
Far better is Jamie Foxx, who underplays his role as Ricardo Tubbs and is much the better for it. Although not as outwardly emotional as Farrell, Foxx spends the movie seething with quiet anger, controlling it until it finds a suitable outlet. Foxx is far more convincing as both a cop and an undercover agent, and is one of the few bright spots in an otherwise disappointing film.
The focus of the two films is very much on these characters. The additional characters tend to be slightly stereotypical (uptight FBI man who needs their help, tough but fair boss who is willing to go out on a limb for his maverick detectives etc.)
One area in which the film is to be praised is that it employs non-Caucasian/non-US actors in many of the key roles (although these do tend to fill the bad guy/drug dealer roles). The downside to this is that at times it can be difficult to understand the various accents you hear. As the film wears on, this is less of a problem, as you become accustomed to them. However, it does mean that you are sometimes struggling to keep up with what is happening on screen because you were unable to hear/understand a key line of dialogue.
Miami Vice (TV) vs. Miami Vice (Film)
First of all, I never used to watch the original TV series, so am not best placed to comment on the similarities or differences. However, from what I can tell, where Miami Vice on TV was a piece of pure entertainment, with colourful characters and OTT plots, Miami Vice the film is far more gritty and dark, with non of the humorous interplay that people so much enjoyed from the TV series. In fact, from my little experience with the TV show, the only real line of continuity I can see is that the names of the main characters are the same and Michael Mann was responsible for both.
Visually, the film is very impressive, making the most of the impressive locations which director Mann has at his disposal. The benefits of the wealth generated from the drugs trade is shown by the fact that the dealers live in splendid surroundings, whilst the squalor of the areas in which they ply their trade are also shown. The whole film has a dark, grimy and somehow dirty feel to it, which well suits the subject matter and does help to build an atmosphere which gives some idea of the world in which such people operate.
Mann uses a sort of documentary style approach, with restless camera work which constantly moves and judders to give that feeling of being there. The trouble is, he overdoes it, and gives the impression of having employed a camera operator who has been drinking too much caffeine.
Anyone familiar with Manns other films will immediately recognise the other element to the visual style long, languid looks at locations and buildings. Mann also indulges his other passion fast cars boats and planes. We get repeated shots of Crockett and Tubbs racing down the freeways of Miami in fast cars, or zipping across the sea to Cuba in a speedboat. At times it feels less like youre watching a film, and more like youve accidentally stumbled across some kind of auto porn.
The trouble is, this is all disguising the fact that theres not actually much substance to the film, which quickly becomes both maddening and infuriating.
Take, for example, the central idea of the film that there is a danger that Crockett and Tubbs may go so deep undercover that they forgot who they really are and what they are there to do. You simply never feel that this is likely to happen, so there is no tension. It would have been far better plot-wise for one of the characters (probably Crockett) to become distracted, whilst the other remains focussed. That would have generated interesting tensions that would have posed serious questions about the nature of undercover work.
In fairness, Mann does try to do this by having Crockett have an affair with Isabella one of the drug dealers he is trying to bring to justice. The trouble is, no matter how many times Mann puts them together, there is simply no chemistry, not a hint of a spark between Farrell and Gong Li. Even at the end of the film, where Mann is clearly trying to generate some kind of emotional impact, there is nothing.
As well as lacking any emotional impact, the film feels very disjointed, and some plot events seem to have been plucked seemingly at random. People suddenly pop up in a new location, without any explanation as to why they went there, leading to a lack of narrative structure which can be bewildering.
This is the problem with the whole film: for all its gritty realism and clever camera work, it never feels like its a coherent story. It seems like you come into the story halfway through, with no explanation as to what has happened to date. This means you are permanently trying to catch up and, because the film leaps from location to location, you always feel you are at least two steps behind. By the time the end arrives, things are a little clearer, but you still cant help feel that youve missed something along the way.
The final problem with this film is that the pace is very slow. Im sure this reflects the reality of police work far more accurately, but it doesnt make an entertaining film. One of the reasons the original TV show was successful was because it concentrated on action. This film is very dialogue heavy and, as Ive already mentioned , it can be difficult to understand the dialogue at times.
When the action finally does kick in towards the end of the film, it is at least worth waiting for. The final showdown between the police and the drug dealers is an excellent set-piece. Both sides are packing serious weaponry and you actually feel like it is a proper gun battle. The sights and noises actually look very realistic no over-stylised gun battles here. Similarly, the pseudo-documentary style camera work really works here. The camera ducks for cover behind cars or scampers across open spaces to the next bit of available cover, meaning you really feel like youre in the middle of the battle. True, its not a patch on the gun battles Mann conjured up in Heat, but its still the high point of the film.
Final gun battle aside, this is a confusing mess. Its not a serious look at the drugs trade (Traffic), a buddy cop action movie (Lethal Weapon) or a consideration of how undercover work affects people (Training Day). Michael Manns confusing direction, together with the jumpy nature of the script simply produces a film which is difficult to watch and which, final 20 minutes or so aside, is not worth the effort. Its this final 20 minutes which just about raises the film to two star level and saves it from the ignominy of being the first film to get a one star rating from me.
There is a good film to be had from Miami Vice. Sadly though, this is not it.
Running Time: approx. 134 minutes
Director: Michael Mann
The end credits feature a cover of Phil Collins Something in the air tonight. This song was featured on the pilot episode of the original TV series.
Bearing absolutely no resemblance to the 1980s TV series that helped to propel Michael Mann into big-time filmmaking, Miami Vice is the kind of serious, and seriously stylish, crime drama that Mann does better than anyone else. As written by Mann himself, this undercover sting thriller doesn't reach the peak intensity of Mann's 1995 classic Heat, and it lacks the tight, nail-biting suspense of Collateral, but that doesn't mean it doesn't occasionally pack a wallop. As Miami detectives Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs (respectively), Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx don't have to do much but mumble their plot-thickening dialogue and look ultra-cool in the casual cop attire, and their partnership is rather lifeless on screen (perhaps owing to the fact that this was a troubled production, with an actual shooting that occurred during filming, and Foxx's refusal to risk his life on dangerous locations in South America). But once Mann shifts into high gear with a plot to foil a powerful drug kingpin (Luis Tosar) and his ruthless middle-man (John Ortiz), Vice pays off with the kind of smart, realistic action that Mann's fans have come to expect. With Chinese superstar Gong Li as Crockett's love interest on the wrong side of the law, Miami Vice covers territory that's a little too familiar, and one suspects Mann's screenplay might've been punched up with a polish or two. Still, this is an above-average crime thriller that demands and rewards close attention, with a climactic shoot-out that's pure Mann, worthy of the brooding drama that precedes it. --Jeff Shannon