Saturday, August 05, 2006

Miami Vice (2006)

If there was ever a television show that deserved a big screen adaptation it's Miami Vice.

In the 80's the show was the essence of cool.

Fast cars, cool clothes, attractive women, and the exciting, action packed lifestyle of undercover officers entertained TV viewers for years.

With the recent popularity of bringing old TV shows to the big screen, it was only a matter of time before someone would have the bright idea of dusting off the 80's neon t-shirts and white blazers.

There were rumors that film makers would play up the 80's vibe. Maybe even make the movie a straight parody, much like they did with the 70's show Starsky and Hutch.

Thankfully former executive producer Michael Mann had other ideas for the franchise.

Apparently Michael Mann was well aware of the popularity, and modern day potential for the franchise. While I was viewing an HBO behind the scenes special, in one of the segments, Michael Mann remarks how many actors had often brought up the idea of him bringing Tubbs and Crockett to the big screen.

With his success with the genre in movies like Heat, Manhunter and Collateral. I can see why many actors would like to revisit the franchise with Mann at the helm.

But I can understand why Mann wouldn't want to revisit Miami Vice.

Why revisit the past? When he has such a bright future.

It's almost a no-win situation to go back.

Luckily for us he decided to take the risk.

Although far from his best work, with pacing issues and an uneven story, the movie is still able to deliver the modern day Michael Mann thrills, while incorporating the trademark Miami Vice cool.

The movie features speedboats, jet planes, attractive women, exotic locales and plenty of action.

What more does one need in a summer movie?

I noticed that in articles about the film, reviewers have noted that the movie bears little resemblance to the original t.v. show.

My response would be....... What exactly are they watching?

The movie feels exactly like Miami Vice.

The camera angles, the action, the camaraderie, the unusual supporting characters, the back room deals, and the vicious heartless drug lords.

There's late night meetings on roof tops. Important phone conversations. Shady characters in Miami night clubs. Plenty of eye candy, with sexual tension with the opposite sex. Crockett and Tubbs in a Ferrarri.

My thinking is that maybe people have just forgotten what the original show was like.

Thankfully Michael Mann updates the franchise by putting it in modern day. Sure it's less flashy then the 80's, but the stakes are now higher and darker.

When talking about the movie it's impossible not to comment on the amazing sound design.

When a character fires a gun. The audience feels it.


In so many movies nowadays the sound of a gun firing is almost as familiar as street noise, and traffic in a film.

Not in this movie.

When a gun is fired it almost jolts the viewer out of their seat.

We are instantly aware of the potential damage that a gun can cause in this film. It's loud, violent, and lingers in our ears, while jolting us with it's bass.

And believe me there is plenty of gun fire in this film.

The film features excellent action sequences. As well as painfully mounting suspense. The movie really accomplishes showing the viewer the tone of this lifestyle, and the toll it takes on an undercover officer.

The film isn't perfect however.

The film suffers slight mis-steps in it's pacing.

A subplot with Farrell and Gong Li going to Cuba, feels a little long.

Also some of the performances are uneven.

Particularly Gong Li, who obviously struggles with the English language throughout the film. Although it gives the movie a more worldly feel to have Gong Li in the film. Because of her difficulty with the language, it almost feels a little like stunt casting.

Colin Farrell also struggles a little bit with finding the right balance of world weariness, and street wise cool. Although I will say, I find this to be one of his better performances.

Jamie Foxx probably shines the most here. He's affable and amusing, while carrying a slightly intimidating presence. It's a nice follow up to his Collateral performance.

Overall, I'd be tempted to say this is the best movie of the summer.

Although for some reason, I don't feel completely comfortable with that statement.

Maybe it's because this summer has been so mediocre.

I almost expect something else to be better.

But the truth is....... There isn't anything.

So I'll go ahead and say it.

Miami Vice is the real deal, and better than all the movies out there right now.

Be sure to check it out.

1 comment:

Reel Fanatic said...

Great review .. I agree with you that the Gong Li-Farrell subplot was just unnecessary, but it didn't ruin it for me .. that scene in the trailer park was just perfect