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Movie Review: Miami Vice

December 29, 2006

After viewing this cover version of the classic, 1980’s television series under the same name, I have come to the conclusion I must buy new equipment and begin to make my own films because I am just not going to be happy with anyone else behind the controls. This goes for Michael Mann as well, a talented director of both television and film, but the same person who I must burden with the reality that this film was bad from the opening credits.
Let’s flash back to the 1980’s. There I was, wasting my time in public, high school, existing on a day-to-day basis of “busy work,” and detention. Nights were sometimes good, sometimes bad, but mostly those of a high school age male living in Texas. Then came this show called Miami Vice, which brought me something I didn’t have before, a South Florida drug war captured in saturated color, flair and a new style of tv production. Pastel suits, fast cars, rock stars posing as bad guys, and a main character who drank and smoked in prime time.
What more could a kid ask for?
I wanted to be Sonny Crocket, wanted to bust down the doors of Haitian Voo Doo cult leaders and engage in high-speed pursuit of drug trafficers through the wide-open landscape of the Everglades.
Whoever had created this beast, or at least brought it to my attention (Mann), had gone one step further than most television shows, which seemed to have been dumbed down to a remarkable degree. Mann paid hommage to detail, simple things, like how many rounds Sonny had fired in his .45. He also built characters that surrounded the main course. It wasn’t just Crocket and Tubbs, but rather it was the supporting cast, each bringing their own flavor to the mix. Location was prime, and no rock was left unturned in the South Florida battleground.
I wore pastel suits. I had a tan. I wanted a pet alligator.
With having said all of this, you can imagine how excited I was when I found out the recreation was taking place with Mann at the helm. After all, Mann had done many other movies, most of which were very good, including the fairly recent Collateral. I didn’t see this flick (MV) in the theatre, but instead waited to get a copy to bring home, allowing me to stop, pause and explain the intricate details to my wife who missed the entire ten year history of the television show.
The problems started in the first scene. I literally said to myself, “Oh no, this isn’t going to be any good.” I tried to block out these thoughts, but I just knew my wife was sitting there saying, “What is going on?”
For some reason, most of this film appeared to have been shot on digital video, causing all cast members to have this embalmed, plastic looking skin tone, which almost made Gong Li look bad, something most people thought impossible until now. The sky, during the night scenes, was noisy and pixalated, and more incredibly, the dubbing was off.
Colin Farrel was miscast, and I like the guy, but masking his Irish accent with an on again, off again, Southernish drawl just wan’t working and in fact just came out garlbed, making him nearly impossible to comprehend.
The plot was too complicated, and my wife said, “What, are we watching a music video?”
The violence was good, raw, just like it needs to be. A guy gets run over by a truck leaving a long, red smear on the highway. Another unlucky loser was shot with a .50 sniper rifle, blowing his arm off. This is good people, probably what would happen in these situations, but most of the time precisely what is left out during filming.
Jamie Foxx never really seemed to get going, and was perhaps outdone by a long cast of secondary characters, who suddenly become more interesting than the main duo.
I will say the soundtrack was good. And, oddly enough, something that was never really mentioned in the promotional material. I’ll let you in on a little secret, if a movie advertises the soundtrack, THE MOVIE WILL SUCK. If the movie has a former rap star at the lead, and this is the only aspect being advertised, chances are THE MOVIE WILL SUCK.
If the movie has a good story, script, cast, director, etc, then you might have something. No guarantees, as evidenced by this Dade County misfire.
As the hours went by, and it felt like at least two days this thing kept rolling, I began to think of other things. “Did I leave the sprinklers on?” “Are there any cookies left from the holiday dinner?”
I couldn’t wait for this thing to end, to finally finish so I could go to sleep and dream of the old Miami Vice.
I’ve got to give this thing a D- in my nonexistent movie ranking system. If you find youself thinking you want to try it out for yourself, stop, take a deep breath, and instead reach for that copy of Ishtar.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    December 30, 2006 7:15 pm

    Hey! Have you read the old Ask Javi blog? You have very similar opinions on today’s movies. You might love his stuff. He finally started doing his own thing, too. He started writing Lost. xo, Missy

  2. SmogRanch permalink
    December 30, 2006 8:06 pm

    Thank you Missy, will check that out. I had not heard of that blog. DRM

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