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Overall Rating

Awesome: 14.74%
Worth A Look: 10.53%
Average: 17.89%
Pretty Bad: 23.16%
Total Crap33.68%

8 reviews, 47 user ratings

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Miami Vice
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by Erik Childress

"Crockett & Tubbs – They’re Floatin’"
2 stars

For years, director Michael Mann got to wear the label of “from the creator of Miami Vice” when promoting future projects like the TV series Crime Story and the superior Thomas Harris/Hannibal Lecter adaptation, Manhunter. Whether or not he wore it as a badge of pride is left to him and his ego. After all, “MTV Cops” as the show was called on the side was publicized more for setting fashion trends and having a soundtrack listing each week in USA Today then for its content. The show flourished for five seasons, regardless, and helped paved the way for Mann years later to pursue such loftier ambitions as The Last of the Mohicans, Heat (a remake of his TV film, L.A. Takedown) and his Oscar-nominated The Insider. Mann now returns to deliver the kind of gritty crime drama he had originally conceived (and later sued William Friedkin for ripping off in To Live and Die In L.A.) and instead delivers a lifeless, colorless bore of a procedural that is more like a randomly cobbled version of the superior Heat.

Replacing Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas are Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx as Detectives Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs. Mann puts us on notice right away by viscerally dropping us right into the middle of one of their investigations. In a nightclub deals involving drugs and high-priced hookers are going down and the pair are there to observe as we catch up who is in on the deal and who is undercover - some of whom won’t be revealed until later. A call comes in from one of their former informants (John Hawkes) about covers being blown and bad guys on the move. With everything seemingly going bad and a high-level leak suspected, Crockett & Tubbs want to go deep, deep, deep, DEEP undercover to nail one of the chief drug importers into their blue city.

Their mark is Jose Yero (John Ortiz), just one step on an escalator that leads to Arcángel de Jesús Montoya (Luis Tosar), who is so powerful he barely needs to move even when using his mouth to speak. And one of the film’s many problems is that neither of these guys rise above the anonymous villain-of-the-week that the original Crockett & Tubbs took down every Friday night. Phil Collins may have been a ridiculous choice to play a drug dealer, but at least it was notable cause it he was still Phil Collins. Yero & Montoya have no personality, no drive and no true sense of evil. They basically sit behind desks and phones, deciding whether or not to trust our heroes, second-guessing themselves and then hanging up.

A film like Miami Vice must be defined in one of two ways; either as a serious police procedural that’s able to go further than its predecessor ever could or as a modern parable of a Gomorrah that’s beyond saving. Otherwise it’s just a high-falutin’ two-hour plus episode of a TV show that wouldn’t hold a candle to even the mediocre chapters of CSI or The Wire. As personality goes, the film version displays all the life of Iraqi night vision goggles as Mann continues to obsess with his brand of grainy digital cinematography much the way Oliver Stone became with his hyper-vision after JFK and Natural Born Killers. If this is how the dankness of Los Angeles was supposed to look in Collateral, it shouldn’t be the same for the glitziness of Miami whose nightlife is defined by music, color and celebration just as its TV counterpart presented right down to Johnson’s pink T-shirts. What are the drugs destroying and what are the cops fighting for if Miami is just another past-magic-hour city whose picturesque setting couldn’t be captured with flashbulbs and a film restoration crew?

It’s fine if Crockett & Tubbs are meant to be jaded versions of their undercover selves; years of wear & tear through a history of crime and witness to the worst parts of humanity. Except neither barely appear alive. Farrell and Foxx have no chemistry as partners, friends or even males. And that’s Mann’s fault by giving them little to do together. Foxx is reduced to basically having an extended chin beard and barking coordinates into a microphone to such a degree that Mann may as well have given Philip Michael Thomas the job. By default it becomes Farrell’s film (who, despite second billing in the ads, is in nearly every scene) and the film derails almost instantaneously the minute he begins to pursue a relationship with the kingpins’ righthand businesswoman (Gong Li), who isn’t headsmart enough to know when to mix her self-labeled title with pleasure. We don’t believe them together for a second and it dominates a good portion of the second act, leaving us wondering what’s really going on with the case, what progress is being made, what happened to the mysterious agency mole (which is dropped entirely) and is there going to be any action? Be patient – it first comes at the 95-minute mark.

Not that Miami Vice has to be a brimming bullet fest (although it does have some sensational moments of violence), but if all Mann is going to do is remind us of how brilliant the shootout in Heat was during the dark, poorly staged final shootout – then why bother at all? And the comparisons don’t end there. Heat, in its three-hour length, was afforded the time to give us quiet moments between the cops, the robbers and their women; thus amplifying one of its themes of alpha males needing the balance of a strong femme at their side only to be ditched once the juice of adrenaline presented itself as an alternative. Attempted suicides and infidelities only augmented strong characters already well-defined by great actors and solid writing. When Miami Vice pauses to give Crockett & Tubbs downtime in their relationships, its just stalling as it desperately tries to string together the length of three commercial-free episodes that would have been cancelled by the first interruption of #102.

Pretty much all that remains from the show are the names and a revamped suck version of Collins’ In The Air Tonight (the song that helped define the series pilot) over the end credits. There are a few of the “car cruising” shots and about eight different (yet all the same) moments of the “go fast” boats, but little else to keep us from a sleepy haze while we search for any semblance of the strain on our heroes or any intensity for the audience. After the disasterous Ali and the script-challenged Collateral, Mann has flown dangerously past the point of becoming an auteur with only one brushstroke left on his palette and his best work well behind him.

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originally posted: 07/28/06 14:02:44
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User Comments

7/01/09 pantera michael mann sucks 1 stars
6/15/09 Jeff Wilder Can't say I "enjoyed" it. But it's one film I'll never forget. 3 stars
6/14/09 JR If this were made first, there never would have been a tv series. Crap. 1 stars
9/30/08 Jukebox Heroe Mumbling fast a new language? Soundtrack pathetic. turn off ur brain 4 this. 1 stars
8/21/08 Shaun Wallner Ugg boring!! 1 stars
6/25/08 dan halberg Probably would have been better if it was set in the 80's. 2 stars
7/25/07 Amy Boring, stupid, poorly filmed gibberish 1 stars
7/25/07 hoppy rob gonsalves review of this film says it perfectly. Where's the personality? 2 stars
7/21/07 ben dover very underated slick and stylish 4 stars
6/06/07 David Pollastrini bad series, worse movie 1 stars
4/13/07 Johnnyfog If I wanted to watch "Heat", I'd just rent it again 1 stars
2/22/07 Matt Another TV show hits the big screen like a lump of dog turd. Absolute rubbish. 1 stars
1/22/07 Indrid Cold If there was any magic and chemistry in the show, this sure doesn't capture it. 3 stars
1/13/07 Xavier Can't understand a fucking word of dialogue. No chemistry. The worst from Mann, ever. 1 stars
1/04/07 mr jackson piece of shit, i turned it off, would look bad even as saturday afternoon entertainment 1 stars
1/01/07 Joe Dull, cliched plot. Minimal action. Zero in common w/show except Crockett & Tubbs. It sucks 2 stars
12/28/06 Brutus A complete failure from pretentious Mann 1 stars
10/30/06 Adam Best action movie since the 80's, Snobs will overanalyze. Better than "The Departed" 5 stars
10/15/06 William Goss Sparse action undermined by plodding plot. Sex and staring at sunsets not that compelling. 2 stars
10/13/06 spacecowboy it movie retains the spirit of the original. any fan of the original would recognize that. 5 stars
9/13/06 Agent Sands The Ben-Hur or Spartacus of cop films. 4 stars
8/29/06 Nick not even worth this comment! 1 stars
8/29/06 Frenzy Not as bad as I others say 3 stars
8/27/06 Captain Craig Only proves if you take a shower with someone nothing bad will happen to you. Ugh! 1 stars
8/23/06 jake a shoolboy could have come up with a better plot. CRAP characters no substance or story 1 stars
8/22/06 MP Bartley A terse, adult, slow burning thriller. 4 stars
8/13/06 Marty mann whipped up some action, but boy was this movie dull. foxx - wasted 2 stars
8/11/06 michael long live the 80's when they knew how to make good movies 4 stars
8/10/06 Me You're all clowns 5 stars
8/09/06 Elizabeth S A big disappointment from Mann; intended gritty night scenes are UGLY 2 stars
8/09/06 Mansi Dido Okay. But not a patch on the original Crockett and Tubbs - now they REALLY had style. 3 stars
8/08/06 JLo Should have cast Don Johnson and Phillip Michael Thomas 1 stars
8/06/06 Erik Van Sant Boring. Confusing. Forgettable. Haven't seen this many 'shower scenes' since 'Top Gun'. 1 stars
8/05/06 millersxing Michael Mann's Vice City: it's a sexy, glamorous, and dangerous underworld. 5 stars
8/04/06 Andrew The only thing great about it is how it looks, and for 135 million it sure as hell should 2 stars
8/02/06 JJ The movie guy said "Good luck with that." when I bought my ticket... 2 stars
8/02/06 Agent Sands Very enjoyable and grandiose. The Ben-Hur or Magnolia or Good, Bad and Ugly of cop films. 5 stars
8/01/06 The Man Mann Rankings: Last of Mohicans, Insider, Heat, Miami Vice, Collateral, all awesome 5 stars
8/01/06 MRM Not enough car/boat chase, HEAT had more violence, no awards here 2 stars
7/31/06 J wow i couldnt believe how bad this movie was...the audience started BOOING at the end 1 stars
7/31/06 jcjs fun, nice innuendos, great acting, visually sweet, bang bang nice, worked for me, pleased 5 stars
7/31/06 Peter Smith Lame, over-hyped 2 stars
7/31/06 Ole Man Bourbon Some really great Mann-esque touches, but also much stupid, silly, pointless crap 3 stars
7/30/06 great colin farrell was masterful in this potenial oscar worthy film 5 stars
7/29/06 Troy M. Grzych One of the worst films I've seen...ever. I had to struggle to make myself stay and finish 1 stars
7/29/06 ahnold Pure SHIT. No plot. No dialogue for actors. Just visuals. OVER-HYPED 1 stars
7/29/06 Colt Cool! GTA: VICE CITY - THE MOVIE!!!!! Oh, and MANHUNTER sucked donkey balls... 1 stars
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  28-Jul-2006 (R)
  DVD: 05-Dec-2006



Directed by
  Michael Mann

Written by
  Michael Mann

  Jamie Foxx
  Colin Farrell
  Gong Li
  Naomie Harris
  Ciarán Hinds
  Justin Theroux

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