Miami Vice Reviews
Unfortunately, it's called Miami Vice, and features characters taken from the classic 80s show. I have no problem with a film adaptation of Miami Vice, but Mann, who was a major creative force behind the show, should have known better, as well as done better.
Unable to get the music, and some other elements from the show due to legal issues, he had to update things and come up with new stuff. My feeling though, is that if you aren't able to truly make the film you want to make, then why bother?
They should have called it something other than Miami Vice, and changed the character names. That would have made this a better film. Also, the story here is really incoherent, muddled, and doesn't make a whole lot of sense. It's also really long (especially the director's cut), and filled with a lot of filler subplots that just don't work for me, even with the decent use of mood, tone, and atmosphere.
Some of the music is okay, but don't get me started on the Phil Collins cover, and especially how it's used.
As far as casting, Farrell and Foxx are fine, but Barry Shabaka Henley sucks as Castillo, and, though she is pretty, Li Gong can't act or even speak English for crap.
I love Michael Mann, but I really wanna know what went wrong. It's hard to defend this one and feel good about it, and, even when it does get something right, it gets overshadowed by everything that's wrong.
At least some of the cinematography (daytime exteriors especially) is great.
Overall though, this is a tedious, boring, and poor adaptation that really could have worked, but only if major changes took place.
Detectives Sonny Crockett (Colin Farrell) and Ricardo Tubbs (Jamie Foxx) work undercover investigating narcotics-smuggling in Florida. But when Crockett falls for the beautiful wife (Gong Li) of a powerful arms and drugs trafficker, and Tubbs' loved ones come under threat, their personal and professional lives start to mesh together.
Much like "Heat" and "The Insider", with similiar wonderful cinematography (complete with intense close-ups and methodical pace), giving the impression that we're involved in the action. Problem is though, the action is not exciting enough. It's too slow. Far too slow. This had real potential and from the beginning it looks like we're going to be treated to another classic like the previous films mentioned but the normally reliable Michael Mann (especially in this genre) delivers a damp squib. Foxx and Farrell make a great Tubbs and Crocket, full of style and intensity but they're left to basically wander around for over two hours, looking mean, tanned and brooding. The editing and camerawork are excellent in capturing the urban landscape of Miami but it's not enough. It is without doubt, all style and no substance. All buck and no bang and definitely no bark OR bite. It took me three attempts to get through it, without falling asleep and that's just not what you expect with the style and excitement of a usually on-form Michael Mann.
A massive let down. Mann can do much better than this, with the most impressive thing about it being how Farrell managed to get away with successfully sporting a mullet and handlebar 'tashe. Not an easy combination and more impressive than the film itself.
There's some stunning camera-work (A lot of it digital), and some beautifully rendered sequences in this and some explosive action (But don't go expecting 'Lethal weapon' style action.) The trailer park stand off with the white supremacists was my favourite scene and an abject lesson in how to put suspense on screen.
Performances are all very good, right down to the smaller parts and the plot demands attention. I found the films running time flew by. Its so refreshing to see a cop thriller for adults, with no silliness and one that doesn't insult the audiences intelligence.
Best film so far this year.
Mann apparently completely blacked out his entire memory of what made Miami Vice so special. Yeah, this film had all the elements -- handsome cops, scary drug dealers, Miami scenery, cool musical score -- but SOMETHING was definitely missing. With the show, you could almost FEEL the heat of the Florida sun in the day and the balmy breezes at night. You could almost smell the salty air and the sweat of the citzens. Didn't get that at all here.
Maybe it was the casting. Jamie Foxx did an OK job with the Tubbs role, but Colin Farrell just didn't work for me as Crockett. Don Johnson at least brought a bit of good old boy humor to the role. Farrell was deadly serious throughout, almost constipative. I was over an hour into the film before he even smiled the first time.
And lord help us -- what the hell was that mustache all about? I guess they were trying to give Sonny some type of style, like Johnson had with the pastel clothes. But please. He must have stolen that thing from the set of either a 70's porn flick or a 60's spaghetti western. That greasy biker hairstyle didn't help either.
And the storyline...holy moses. I could drag a locomotive with a rope faster than this thing moved along. I think they took an hour-long episode (most of them weren't all that complicated to begin with) and just padded it to fill 2+ hours of screen time.
To be honest I didn't even finish watching the thing. It was so slow, I fell asleep halfway through. But somehow I don't think I missed anything that I'll be kicking myself for later.
The whole film is very boring with lots of dialog which means nothing much hehe the guys simple swan around in shiny cars and flash outfits being cool, kinda like an aftershave ad. The final gun battle is brilliant though, it just about saves the film. Its loud, realistic and brutal and is the best Ive seen in awhile.
Watch it for that.
I've never watched the tv series that the film was based on and so, of course I have no comparrisons to make.
Yes, you get dropped in the middle of the story without a lot of set up. We know these characters. We don't need the back-story or an explanation of their relationship. Sonny and Rico can work together with little talk because that is what happens with real partners in stressful jobs. You know what to expect, how your partner will act and react without laying it out before hand. When Sonny gets in deep with Isabelle, Ricardo pulls a simple gut check and moves on. These two guys are on the same page. The team has briefings before the action, we just don't see all of it. I would like to see more of the other members of the team, but a movie can only be so long. This movie is about being deep undercover; your team is there to back you up in the big plays, but for most of the prep work you are on your own. The dialogue is strong and a bit minimalistic...not wasted on explaining the details to the audience, you either get or you don't.
I found the acting and emotional interaction of the characters stunning. These are people who have to play it close to the vest, not wear their hearts on their sleeves. If you've never had someone express their thoughts and emotions in just a look, then I feel sorry for you. Colin and Jamie do this amazingly well. In fact, I can't imagine any other actors today playing Sonny and Rico. It was understated, subtle, and yet very intense. The love stories involved were more real than anything else I've seen lately. Rico and Trudy both understand the work they do and how it can effect their relationship, they both get it. Someone outside their world could not relate, and a relationship would be less complete than it is with each other. For Sonny and Isabelle, it starts out as part of the game, and becomes more real than either of them expected. They try to pretend it's casual, but right or wrong, it is real. That their lives pull them away from each other, adds a level of raw pain you can feel. For Sonny, it's about being true to who he is and what he believes in, even if it means sacrificing true love.
The action was also stunning and yet not over the top. Graphic without being drawn out. As for dark and confusing...for others who listed this as a negative, they obviously have no concept of the reality of these situations. Dark and confusing is exactly what they are. The team is operating on experience and training and pure gut. Chaos is the norm in a shootout.This is a movie where the violence serves a purpose. Criminals use violence to gain the upper hand when needed, but too much would effect their bottom line. The cops use violence when forced to, to protect themselves and others, or to establish their cover, and though it is a last resort they do not flinch from it.
The look of this movie is even darker and more sweeping than the TV show and I would expect nothing less. The world is more global than it was in the 80's, and moving some of the action out of Miami makes sense today. I found both the gritty slums and the vast natural vistas equally stunning and an integral part of delivering the mood of the location and action.
Miami Vice brought to TV a new emphasis on using the music of the time to add a layer of emotion to the action on screen. While, I didn't find as many recognizable tracks as I thought I would, the songs used fit perfectly, further developing the mood of the scene.
This is a movie for adults. I don't mean just age. I mean attitude, sophistication, and most importantly, an appreciation for more than snappy dialogue that leaves nothing a mystery and gratuitous violence where stuff is blown up just because it's there.
Starring: Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx, Li Gong.
First off, I'd like to give props to Michael Mann once again, for making a very gritty, stylish and realistic LOOKING film, which he never ever fails to deliver there and usually in his films, he matches that style with great characters, action, thrills, excitement and plot....everything I just said is nowhere to be seen in this film.
By the first 15 minutes, I was bored, everything just seemed very mono, Jaime Foxx and Colin Farrell don't fit into the characters very well at all (then again, they are basically just hollow bodies in this film, no layers or development), pretty much just standing there, using there phones as if they are being controlled by a remote and looking staunch, trying to act "cool". The excitement, thrills and action that could save a film with no characters or plot is not here, everything just stays on one level throughout the whole film and everyone who speaks, all the explosions, the music are just dull.
Not recommended at all and highly disappointed in Michael Mann, but I give him credit for still holding his style.