Where did all the money go? That’s all I could think about while watching Miami Vice, the summer stinker for this week. Let’s get something out of the way right from the outset: Miami Vice, the TV show, was no great shakes. Sure it’s fun, now, to point and laugh at the pastel suits and outrageous 80’s-ness of the entire show’s run, but when you get to the nitty-gritty there is really nothing spectacular on display. That would lead one, logically, to assume that a film based on such mediocrity would be similarly mediocre. One would be mistaken. Writer/director Michael Mann has taken his “baby” and run it into the soiled Earth in much the same way one would drive a tent stake. Things could not possibly have gone worse.
The story, if you can even call it one, is of the classic “cops and drug dealers” variety. Without even so much as opening credits or title cards, we meet Det. James “Sonny” Crockett (Farrell) and Det. Ricardo Tubbs (Foxx) just as they are getting ready to bust up a drug deal at a nightclub. Things go awry and Crockett and Tubbs soon find themselves traveling to the slums of Florida and Cuba in search of Arcángel de Jesús Montoya (Tosar), the leader of the complex drug network.
To further break down the plot would be a waste of time, as you will never care. The main culprit here is Mann’s ridiculous screenplay, which never develops Crockett or Tubbs past the point of us knowing they both like shower sex. The two may as well be mannequins at the local department store. Worse yet, there is next to no action to speak of – a direct contradiction to the elaborate trailers that have been floating around. Action fans seeking a shootout to rival that of Mann’s masterpiece, Heat, will have to keep waiting. This is a never-ending, sluggish bore.
As a result of the botched screenplay, Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx are completely hung out to dry. The word is that they did not get along during filming, and it shows. The two have absolutely no chemistry whatsoever and could have performed in front of a blue screen for all we know. Both deliver their dialogue in robotic, uninterested fashion but seem to have some idea of how bad of a movie they’ve gotten themselves into.
If there’s any sort of saving grace, it is Mann’s knack for beautiful, often abstract, compositions. The look of the film is quite unique, but the grainy, dirty night shots may have some screaming foul. Regardless, it does not save the film from being a tremendous disappointment on virtually every level. At this point in the summer I am really out of adjectives for what a bust the whole season has been. The recycled rubbish that Hollywood has been trying to pawn off on us is downright insulting. It may be hard to believe, but the forthcoming Snakes on a Plane could be the only answer for all of us who just want some solid, fun summer action.
Studio: Universal Pictures
Length: 135 Minutes
Rating: R for strong violence, language and some sexual content.
Theatrical Release: July 28, 2006
Directed by: Michael Mann
Written by: Michael Mann. TV series written by Anthony Yerkovich.
Cast: Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx, Gong Li, Luis Tosar, Naomie Harris, John Ortiz