Miami Vice Reviews
Edit (8/30/08): After rewatching the director's cut, extra star. (4 stars)
Like a piano with one key, or a guitar with one string, this is a movie with only one note. Everything about it is somewhere between bad and okay as the lead cast are given an even harder task than their characters with a script void of personality, wit, ideas, and intrigue. Fans of this movie harp on about it looking great, but I don't think so, it's too inconsistent as parts do look quite good, but then certain parts look do like a $10.000 budgeted amatuer piece with some distracting, and all-too clear looking grainy digital crap shots. The biggest issue of all though is the sheer dullness of it all, it really is like watching a super serious "Bad boys" rip-off, and when the plot can be explained in a short sentence, then is it really necessary for it to be over 2 hour long? It is safe to say I'll never, ever watch this again because what's the point? Stick with the TV series as this, along with the very disappointing "Public enemies", is a product of a director running low on steam. Fingers crossed he finds form again pretty soon as this is total dross.
The story was... What story? It's the most bland and generic thing you've ever seen in your life, undercover drug bust and it's goes bad, wow, leave some innovation for the rest of us! It didn't feel like anything you couldn't have seen if the TV show was still going, an undercover drug bust I mean come on that's the most generic thing ever. You could argue, well the TV show isn't going anymore and yes of course you're right about that but it's pretty abysmal when the film just feels like an extra long episode, it should feel like something that could only be done in the freedom of a film, not the constraints of a syndicated TV show. Oh but of course there's the gratuitous sex scenes! That's something you couldn't do in a TV show and if I'm honest I felt slightly offended by them, they came out of no where, felt entirely pointless and two of them are shower scenes! How many shower sex scenes do we need in a movie? The relationship between Foxx and his wife was fine, it was pre-existing before the film began so we don't need an introduction to that but the romance that Farrell has? Oh please, that was forced, they go from hating each other to suddenly being madly in love but there's not chemistry there either, it was in there because it's what every other generic thriller does, boring forced romance, because there's always got to be a romantic storyline hasn't there! Everything dragged in the movie, scenes would go on forever and the movie was awfully edited, there's atleast 4 scenes where nothing happens and it's just a piece of music playing. Do we really need to see a boat or a plane fly over the sea for 5 minutes? Yes, it looks nice but it's just filler! Hurry up! There was zero effort out into the editing of this and therefore everything felt like there was no life to it, it was dull drab, boring and the pace was agonizingly slow. The film just felt like a self indulgent ego booster, like they're making you see how cool they are by having casual shower sex and driving cool cars, and walking in the sunset with their hair blowing in the wind. The only way this was greenlit is because of the name, no way would something this drab, derivative and just plain boring would be made otherwise, but who knows? It's Hollywood and they seem to green light anything that isn't an original idea these days. There has to be something positive to comment on, right? And yes there is, the soundtrack was good and the cinematography was absolutely beautiful and really makes you feel like you're there with the characters, everything is smooth and all flows naturally, funny though that the cinematography felt like you were there and this was the most boring and univnolving movie I think I've ever seen.
The filmmakers tried too hard to make this movie the most darkest and grittiest thing they could, probably to distance themselves from the original show. So why then is it called MIAMI VICE? You don't think people would love to see a cheesy over the top 80s comeback movie? People would love that and would eat it up so fast and atleast it'd be fun as opposed to this overly serious project, the only thing this shares with the original series is the characters names and the title. It just felt like they were trying to modernise it so hard to make it more hip and appealing to a younger generation and it failed miserably. It's like when they take old video games and make them more dark and gritty because 'oh that's what the kids are into' it feels like they went down a checklist of what should be in the movie, well we need a sex scene, no scratch that we need three of them, be super serious with no life or humor to show that we mean business. Just do yourself a favor, get the series on Netflix, buy some popcorn, dim the lights and just enjoy, all that time spent on that TV show would have been better spent that the two hours I wasted with this. The review was long but it was worth it, maybe it could have been better even with the standard plot if it seemed like someone gave a damn and was executed better, who knows? Everything was there for a good film and they blew it.
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.