Monday, December 11, 2006

Me Mini Movie Reviews: Miami Vice

Miami Vice (2006)

Going into 2006, there were three movies on my must see list. This was before the late year end ‘good movie’ push. Those 3 were X-Men 3, Brick, and Miami Vice. I saw the first 2 in theatres, but passed on Miami Vice due to bad reviews even though I loved the trailers. I wouldn’t have cared about the bad reviews, but the general consensus I read indicated everyone mumbled their lines. That kept me from shelling out 10 bucks to see this in theatres. At the time, my ears were giving me problems, so I figured I would wait until I could put subtitles on with the DVD.

Well, I finally watched the movie tonight. First of all, I loved it, and don’t quite know where the bad reviews of “all style, no substance” were coming from. Of course the movie has style – in spades – but there is a plot and substance if you pay attention. Maybe it’s not anything mind blowing, but there is a story there, where you’re not sure how it’s going to play out with the choices the characters will have to make. It’s not your ‘80’s Vice, for sure, but I liked the updated grittiness that director/writer Michael Mann brought to the big screen version.

The movie looks amazing – the Miami and Central America locales are filmed beautifully. And as always with a Michael Mann movie, the music is like an additional unseen character adding resonance to the scenes. The actors did well – Colin Farrell played the unpredictable Sonny Crocket ably, while Jaime Foxx brought a certain cool intensity to the Tubbs character. Some reviews thought they played it too coolly and detached, but these are supposed to be undercover cops – pros that don’t let emotions rule them. I thought it worked well, and when things did get close to home for the characters, the detachment was left behind. Naomi Harris and Gong Li did good jobs as well, as the two female leads, although I did have to turn on subtitles for some of Gong Li’s scenes. She admittedly struggled with the English dialogue, though she certainly did admirably well at it. Which brings us back to the first point – the mumbling. Except for maybe a couple scenes, I didn’t think it was an issue. I could understand Farrell and Foxx without a problem, so I kind of wish I had ignored the reviewers and gone to the cinema.

Like the Michael Mann movie Heat, when the action hits the screen and the guns start to fire, it’s a realistic, violent, and visceral part of the movie. You won’t see machine guns shot from the hip spraying bullets around while missing the broad side of a barn. The guns are aimed, and the shots count. I appreciate that kind of realism in a movie. When I want brainless action, I’ll watch a Michael Bay movie or Arnie’s Commando. In a Mann movie, I know the action sequences aren’t just going to be eye candy, although they are certainly choreographed well. Also, as someone who has read novels with tactical police/military jargon, I liked hearing that kind of language throughout the film. I could see how that might put some people off if they don’t know what it means though.

This is a darker cop thriller that is miles away from the ‘80’s TV show of the same name. If you are one that is really attached to that Miami Vice, you probably won’t like this 2006 update. However, if you’re looking for a good undercover police thriller from a good director, check this one out. In comparison to other Mann movies of similar genre, I would say it isn’t as good as Heat, but I liked it better than Collateral, which I enjoyed as well. Now I just have to get the soundtrack…

Verdict: Probably not for everyone. Recommended for fans of serious cop thrillers.

Comments on "Me Mini Movie Reviews: Miami Vice"


Blogger Reel Fanatic said ... (December 11, 2006 3:42 PM) : 

Most critics are simply twits ... I thought this one had all the best marks of Mann's style and, except for that little sojourn to Cuba, indeed delivered a taut cop thriller


Blogger themarina said ... (December 11, 2006 7:08 PM) : 

I didn't like it as much as I thought I would but I will say that I loved the style, the soundtrack and the wicked shoot out at the end. That has to be one of the best shoot outs I've ever seen on tape. It was amazing. Didn't do enough to salvage the film for me but it was great.


Blogger Eaglewing said ... (December 12, 2006 7:31 AM) : 

Reel Fanatic: Thanks for stopping by. I'll agree with critics not usually getting it. I've found better reviews in the blog world...

Marina: That was a fantastic shootout at the end. Intense bullet flying action and you weren't sure who was going to make it out alive...


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