It feels weird to say that Miami Vice isn’t a very good movie. Weird because I knew deep in my heart that it would be, the elements were coming together the way they do maybe a dozen times a year, and as I sat in my seat I expected that the joy would be coming forthwith. Jaime Foxx, Colin Farrell, Michael Mann, a remake of a once popular showÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ I mean what red blooded American male didn’t have the highest of hopes on this project? Anyway, I’m going to do my best to filter out all the bitterness over expectations and just deliver you the straight dope on what works and what doesn’t in this firmly flawed little endeavor.
The movie begins in a club with a Jay-Z/Linkin Park collaboration playing in the background. The boys (Crockett/Tubbs played by Farrell/Foxx) are pulling an inside job as the lyrics “soon ya gonna see you can’t replace him with cheap imitations for these generations,” boom forth. I laughed nervously in hopes that this Vice edition wouldn’t be a cheap imitation and an initial tone of rough edges and bad men had me enjoying it quite a bit. The story, in 15 words or less: Crockett and Tubbs are undercover and want to go deeper undercover to find a mole. And away we go!
The initial strength of the start of Miami Vice turns into a weakness after about half an hour. The whole feel of this one is really disjointed and at first it seemed intentional, you know, undercover, crazy stuff happening all around – of course it’s going to be chaos. Unfortunately this pervades throughout the entire film, it infiltrates and the haze never goes away. The occasionally beautiful scenery isn’t enough to make up for odd, stilted dialogue and weird transitions. At some point we’re owed a coherent story but all we really get is a bunch of shots of the guys looking tough. We know they’re tough! Now let’s see more!
What works here is largely the initial tone and the endgame, so leave during the middle if you need a break (like if you need more butter for the popcorn). Miami Vice doesn’t take advantage of the strong start as it devolves into an overly melodramatic and slow second act. It’s strange to say but this film has more in common with The New World than it does Heat. Remember those odd pointless shots of the sky and people touching each other? Have some more! Miami Vice features these long and meandering montages with cheese fest music interwoven against pointless love scenes. Mann also lets certain scenes go about two minutes too long which is instant death in a feature film. We, the audience, are there to be taken away and the bad music and non graphic love making jar us back into the real world all too quickly. Give us something shiny on the silver screen man (n)!
Getting back to the good as we wrap this up I should note that the ending is done well. There are also some great scenes of violence interspersed here and there with the highlights being the kill scenes of course. There is just something primal about seeing some guy whacked right? Farrell and Fox both add to the film with the gritty and pretty look that was perfected in pastel so long ago. Good start, some good action, decent ending. That’s what the paying eight bucks for. It is something to see if you’re bored but it’s easily the worst Michael Mann film I’ve seen so it’s hard to get fully behind it. You’re not going to love it if you love Mann or down and dirty blow em up style movies. In what circumstances would you absolutely love it? Hard to say, can you arrange to be called out of the theater from minutes 35 through 110? Never mind, that’s probably too much to expect from an audience. Skip it.