Posted on 9/08/06 11:29 AM
Movie: Miami Vice
Yay! Another movie based on a TV series. And by yay, I mean "oh sh1t!".
Can Miami Vice be salvaged from the Hollywood landfill we know as the "re-imagine" bin? Re-Imagine is the Hollywood term used when a previous concept is stolen used to squeeze more money out of the name, in this case the 1980s TV show. At least they got step 1 right, step 1 being getting Michael Mann to write and direct the film. Mann was the executive producer of the original Miami Vice TV series so it is possible the film will stay true to its color. Having enjoyed his directing work on Collateral, I was expecting equally good experience with MV.
Detective James 'Sonny' Crockett (Colin Farrell) and Detective Ricardo Tubbs (Jamie Foxx) are detectives for the Miami Police. Sonny and Rico are adept at going undercover and busting perps ranging from money launderers to drug dealers to prostitutes; well at least that is what we presume; the film starts so suddenly we really have no idea what these characters are capable of. When the FBI requests them to go deeper than they ever have gone before in an undercover sting involving the biggest Columbian drug dealer, Sonny and Ricardo don't stop mumbling for a moment before accepting the job. By mumbling I mean they are really mumbling on film. Farrell is so mesmerized by staying in character and keeping his cool that half his dialog in the film is either unrecognizable or his Irish accent slips in and out under his disgusting mullet. (they really were trying to capture the 80s weren't they?)
Seeing the trailer and having seen the TV series, I would assume the film would portray some the alluring, flashy elements of today's Miami highlife; Art Deco architecture, fast cars and boats and big pastel houses on the water with beautiful women everywhere. These were the signature of the TV series that kept viewers coming back to see more. Oh sure, we see a Ferrari, but Miami Vice was filmed in a dark style using cinematography features also deploy in Collateral used. Dion Beebe was the Director of Photography for both projects. Beebe?s techniques made it impossible to capture the vibrant colors of Miami. This is not necessarily a criticism, but the film is much darker than it needs to be. There were some spectacular shots of lightning in the distance, shortly followed by the ripple of thunder, which proceeded to overlap entirely different scenes. These small but powerful photographic gems make the film beautiful from an artist?s point of view but still not enough to please the rest of the audience.
Miami Vice is, without exaggeration, an excruciatingly confusing and pointless mess. Time does not fly by; it evaporates! The movie moves so fast it is almost impossible to figure out what day they are actually in. It is hard to understand why Mann struggled to smooth out the plot, when his work in Collateral he was able to create a riveting connection of Cruise?s and Foxx's characters with ease. Mann's manhandling of the soundtrack was to the point where I wanted to bang my head against the wall. Not only did I pray that they were not going to use that same Linkin Park and Jay-Z song featured in the trailer, (which they used in the first 5 minutes of the film) but the overuse of Audioslave with covered ?80s songs by Limp Bizkit in a weak attempt to appease the audience was flat out pathetic.
I was also praying for some action considering that is what the TV series was all about. But Miami Vice barely squeezes out enough gunfire to satisfy this longing. When guns are fired, they sound like real guns. Instead of the Hollywood effects, Mann had the editors implement the sounds of echoing gunfire, much like you would hear in the background of a live CNN broadcast in Baghdad, which was a great touch. But the positives in effects and lighting never make up for the lack of directing and acting. Miami Vice is the first BIG disappointment of the summer.