What this film seriously lacks in a coherent and discernable plot and character development, it more than makes up for it with tons of style, great cinematography, and well-placed tension. The gunplay (what little there is), is done well, and even though the film is more style than substance, and could stand to be trimmed up greatly, it's a thinking man's drama/thriller, and not a blockbuster action film.
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.