DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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Sunday, August 06, 2006

Film Review: Miami Vice

Miami Vice (15)

Dir. Michael Mann

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“Smooth… That’s how we do it.”

Oh yes, here it is – Miami Vice finally on the big screen some 20 years since the TV show changed the viewing habits and dress sense of millions of impressionable males across the world. I should know, I was one of them. So bad was my love of Miami Vice that it wasn’t until I met my wife in the early nineties that I finally accepted it was ‘not actually cool’ to walk around with the sleeves of my cream linen jacket rolled up and Jan Hammer tunes blaring from my car stereo…

The feature film is directed by Michael ‘Heat’ Mann who also created the original TV series but only the title, premise and characters have survived. Everything about the new version is harder, darker and more stylish than before. Miami Vice is a deliciously vicious victory of boiled down style over substance. The message here is that you don’t need to know any back story to these two cool undercover cops – and character development is for wimps. 

What you sign up for this time is two and bit hours in their dangerous knife edge world where attitude, confidence and crunching violence are the only necessary currency.
The plot is perfunctory; detectives Crockett (Colin Farrell) and Tubbs (Jamie Foxx) go undercover in Miami to bring down a serious bunch of drug dealers. Things get a bit out of hand when Crockett falls for drug princess Isabella (Gong Li) and completely ‘which way is up’ when a white supremacist group start mixing weapon shipments and abductions into the drug running mix. Add cool cars, tasty speedboats, private jets and high tech counter espionage and ignite the slow burn fuse.

In order to really appreciate Miami Vice in its new guise you need something that many cinema goers simply have forgotten how to use – an attention span of more than five minutes. From the moment you’re thrown into a throbbing nightclub opening scene without a clue what’s going on, through to the climatic gun battle that sets new standards in awesome cinematic overkill, you need to pay attention.

It’s worth it though because this is cinema at its macho best. Mann has successfully taken the classic cheesy TV show, stripped it, remixed it and unleashed it on a new generation. 

As Tubbs asks at one point:

“Do you understand the meaning of the word ‘foreboding’, as in badness is happening right now?” 

Watch this and you will do… 

Highly recommended viewing.

Darkmatters rating system (out of 5):

Action öööö – when it comes... it hits hard

Laughs öö – not much apart from Farrell's hairdo

Horror ööö – some seriously nasty death shots

Babes ööö – Gong Li... yes please

Overall öööö (quality reworking of much loved TV series)


Matt Adcock meets Colin Farrell

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Will said...

Nice review, although I'm not sure I completely agree. The lack of character development, chemistry - even decent dialogue - between Farrell and Foxx really lets it down.

Fence said...

“Do you understand the meaning of the word ‘foreboding’, as in badness is happening right now?”
This line bothered me everytime I saw the trailer, because foreboding means a sense of pending danger, not right now. Then again, I suppose the bad things that are happening right now may affect them later...

I didn't like this film. Didn't hate it either. Overall the characters didn't engage me, and the plot was predictable. Still, visually it was stunning, so if you are into watching great shots then I'd say go see it.