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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
[] Buy posters from this movie
by brianorndorf

"I could've done without the mumbles, but it clicks"
4 stars

The good news is that Michael Mann has completely reinvented his beloved 80s creation, “Miami Vice,” for its big screen debut. The film is merciless in tone, with some of the best action sequences of the year. The bad news is that the film is cold to the touch, and offers no reason to get involved emotionally. And over the course of two hours, this oversight tends distance the film from greatness.

When an undercover sting goes horribly wrong, Detectives James “Sonny” Crockett (Colin Farrell) and Ricardo Tubbs (Jamie Foxx) volunteer to investigate further. Diving headfirst into the violent cocaine underworld, the duo encounter a malicious drug lord (Luis Tosar, one step away from mustache-twirling) with an assistant, Isabella (Gong Li), who catches Crockett’s eye. Faced with his duty to justice and the demands of his lonesome heart, Crockett must decide his allegiances when he finds himself in over his head with Tubbs as various criminal groups vie for control of the drugs.

The 1980s were defined by Michael Mann’s groundbreaking television series, “Miami Vice.” With pastel clothing, Jan Hammer’s iconic opening theme, and visuals that merged MTV with traditional network programming, it was a phenomenon that gave birth to a whole new generation of crime show. Heck, it’s still being ripped-off even today.

For the big screen adaptation of “Vice,” Mann has eschewed a happy-go-lucky “Charlie’s Angels” level of reemergence. There’s no Don Johnson cameo here, and not a flamingo in sight. Mann has chosen to butch up his creation for a new generation of filmgoers, and the results are genuinely stunning; however, the level of enthusiasm the average joe will have for the end product is another matter entirely.

The updated “Vice” doesn’t bother with set-up or crisp explanation, instead thundering in on the audience from the first frame. There’s a whole football field of police terms and drug codes to decipher from the start, which is moderately thrilling in the way it puts the viewer in the driver’s seat on the Florida drug beat. We feel the sizzle of undercover work in an incredibly dangerous city, with itchy trigger fingers at all turns and the threat of detection shadowing every decision.

Mann gets this world inside and out, and there are moments when the direction seems second nature to him. The filmmaker’s intimate time with Crockett and Tubbs over the past 20 years has paid off with a textured, humid playground of violence and risk for the drama to roll out against; the film is so visually vivid, Mann could almost get away with taking out the ham-fisted dialog completely and let the whole thing run silent.

As powerful as “Vice” gets (and when the guns are drawn, the film reaches a wonderful, concise rage), it’s undone by the distance Mann has put between the story and the audience. The screenplay just doesn’t offer an entry point for emotional connection, putting an uncomfortable strain on the film when Crockett falls for Isabella. There’s no connection between these characters, and absence of chemistry (or even down home sexual heat) between Farrell and Li is disappointing in a thousand little ways.

“Vice” always glowed when presenting teamwork, and that bond of trust between the cops, but Mann keeps Crockett and Tubbs at opposite ends of the story, only getting them back together when the bullets fly or someone needs to be rescued; not coincidentally, the best sections of the film. Farrell and Foxx make a worthy team, but they’re not given something meaty to work with or bond over, facing tough competition from the muddy surface Mann has provided in his further experimentation with the fluidity of the digital camera. The director wants you in the heat of the moment with these partners, but fails to provide a good reason to care.

There’s no doubt that large chunks of “Vice” are frustrating to watch. I’m still not sure why Mann gave large portions of expository dialog to supporting talent who can barely speak English; but regardless of the flaws, the film is surprising in its reinvention of the source material, and can be exhilarating when it finally finds a straight line to follow.

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originally posted: 07/28/06 17:02:02
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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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