Detective Sonny Crockett (Colin Farrell) and Detective Ricardo Tubbs (Jamie Foxx), who lives with intelligence analyst girlfriend Trude (Naomi Harris), work the Miami Vice beat. When they go undercover to infiltrate a major syndicate with international drug and gun running operations based in South America, as freelance transporters for hire, they walk into a quagmire of cross-allegiance loyalties and a formidable chain of bosses, like Jose Yero (John Ortiz), who works with Arcangel de Jesus Montoya (Luis Tosar) and his wife, the powerful Isabella (Gong Li). Sonny complicates things with his attraction for Isabella, but the main game is to bring down a major, well armed and ruthless gang - if planning and luck allow it.
Review by Louise Keller:
Spearheaded by the compelling paring of Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx, Miami Vice delivers serious action, dangerous liaisons and spectacular locations in a tense and highly anticipated drama adapted from the 80s TV series. Michael Mann's filmmaking skills ensure an engrossing experience, although the film's overlong running time and confusing plot points deter a little.
'Life is short; time is luck,' says Gong Li's cool, calculating businesswoman Isabella, who hides scorching passion underneath her detached, heavy lidded gaze. Farrell and Foxx complement each other as vice detectives who trust the other with his life, and the storyline concentrates on a Colombian drug lord, a white supremacist group and duped FBI involvement. The scale is large and there are complications, while fast boats, cars and planes jet the Vice partners around their Paraguayan, Uruguayan and Colombian locations. The grainy camera work as used in Mann's Collateral is less successful here, and jumpy hand held cameras are not overly friendly for the motion sensitive.
Both Farrell's Sonny and Foxx's Ricardo have plenty at stake, as they masquerade as 'fast as Fedex' transport providers for the cartel, in order to discover the mole within. Farrell, sporting a handle bar moustache and hair product on his slick-back collar length hair looks perpetually hot - in every sense. John Ortiz is solid as José Yero, the man called 'Crazy Pig', and there is great anticipation of the introductory meeting with Luis Tosar's drug lord Arcángel de Jesús Montoya in a black limo, is short and intriguing.
Sonny's relationship with Isabella begins as his achilles' heel, but eventually becomes his redemption, with mojitos in Havana turning into trysts of passion. Some scenes are shocking: graphic violence in the final reel almost catches us unawares. The thrilling hostage rescue and final climactic confrontation are edge of the seat cinema, and there is a certain satisfaction from how Mann deals with the central characters in the film's resolutions. As Isabella says, probability is like gravity, which is not negotiable.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Miami Vice, if you remember, was a regular cop show on TV. To adapt it for the big screen in 2006, it requires a complete make-over, adding story weight, stunts, SFX and the deadly danger of a bad new world. The result is a film that's nothing like Miami Vice of the 1980s, except on the most basic level of the two central cop characters. Miami Vice has been exploited as the brand - but Michael Mann is no cheap exploitation artists. When he exploits a brand for the movies, it stays exploited, if you know what I mean. He brings obsession to the work - both his, and his characters'.
The first half of the film is something of a let down, though, especially compared to the last act, when the action promised by the genre finally kicks in. I also find it irritating that filmmakers telling a complex plot like this can't take more care to ensure the dialogue can be heard - sound designers take note - and understood; directors take note.
There are two romantic subplots to work through, one with a genuine plot connection the other without. The women are supposed to add some soft tissue to a gristle driven film, an excuse for sex scenes to up the ante. The film suffers from a bit of indigestion as a result, but if you stick with it (for two hours plus) you will be rewarded with a strong payoff.
Colin Farrell is dynamically energetic as Sonny the wild child, and Jamie Foxx brings a steely cool to his Ricardo, complete with razor sharp hairline and a piercing glance when required. Naomi Harris is lovely, Luis Tosar (Spain's main acting man) is intense, and Gong Li is luminous, as always, in the role of the femme fatale whose hard exterior is unbuttoned by Sonny (perhaps a bit too completely). John Ortiz is great as the intelligent but deadly Jose, who senses that these two guys just ain't right.
A fraction too long and burdened by a convoluted plot to justify its existence as a film transplanted from the one hour tv show, Miami Vice has Michael Mann's stylish, dynamic touch and Dion Beebe's excellent cinematography to save it from disappointment, but you can't help thinking it's a bit of a sow's ear made from an antique silk tv purse.
Email this article
MIAMI VICE (MA)
CAST: Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx, Gong Li, Naomie Harris, Luis Tosar, John Ortiz,
PRODUCER: Pieter Jan Brugge, Michael Mann
DIRECTOR: Michael Mann
SCRIPT: Michael Mann
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Dion Beebe
EDITOR: William Goldenberg, Paul Rubell
MUSIC: Klaus Badelt, John Murphy, Organized Noise (Jan Hammer, theme)
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Victor Kempster
RUNNING TIME: 133 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: UIP
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 10, 2006