Review: Miami Vice

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Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell in Miami Vice
Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell in Miami Vice



So masculine it could be used an infertility treatment, Michael Mann’s feature length Miami Vice actually tells the same story that eventually ground down the TV series – Crockett (now Colin Farrell, then Don Johnson) and Tubbs (now Jamie Foxx, then Philip Michael Thomas) go undercover with a drugs gang, get so deep they’re not sure which way they’re facing any more, then refind themselves before screaming towards a guns-blazing finale, designer clothes looking immaculate. Built from what look like a series of high-end international aftershave adverts showcasing the very pinnacle of fast living, it is an out and out exercise in cool glamour. So was the 1980s TV series, of course, but Mann (who produced but never directed any of the TV series) seems out to show everyone concerned that this is how you do it.

“Maximum chromatic saturation” is how Mann describes the look. Full on, might be another. And it applies across the board. Gong Li puts on the stoniest of faces as the implacable villain, while the dialogue is either spat out at whipcrack speed, mumbled in that too-cool-to-enunciate way, or yelled. No one just speaks. Now take all that – the clothes, the guns, the guys, Gong Li, the unnatural vocal styling, then put some shades on it and throw it into a speed boat bouncing across the waves towards a Ferrari 430 Spider, all to a slinky electropop soundtrack. Everything in this film hums, seethes and purrs. It is a hell of an exercise in mood management. It’s so great, in fact, that you’ll hardly notice there’s no real plot.

© Steve Morrissey 2006



Miami Vice – at Amazon




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Miami Vice (2006) Action, Crime, Thriller | 132min | 28 July 2006 (USA) 6.0
Director: Michael MannWriter: Michael Mann, Anthony YerkovichStars: Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx, Li GongSummary: Ricardo Tubbs is urbane and dead smart. He lives with Bronx-born Intel analyst Trudy, as they work undercover transporting drug loads into South Florida to identify a group responsible for three murders. Sonny Crockett [to the untrained eye, his presentation may seem unorthodox, but procedurally, he is sound] is charismatic and flirtatious until - while undercover working with the supplier of the South Florida group - he gets romantically entangled with Isabella, the Chinese-Cuban wife of an arms and drugs trafficker. The best undercover identity is oneself with the volume turned up and restraint unplugged. The intensity of the case pushes Crockett and Tubbs out onto the edge where identity and fabrication become blurred, where cop and player become one - especially for Crockett in his romance with Isabella and for Tubbs in the provocation of an assault on those he loves. Written by achinn


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