Friday, July 28, 2006

Miami Vice - Movie Review

Miami Vice 2006

Michael Mann has proven his mettle as a fine director. Among his films, we have particular affection for the lush romanticism of “The Last of the Mohicans”, the brilliant layering and storytelling of his Oscar nominated “The Insider” and the surprisingly fine “Collateral” featuring a near perfect performance from Jamie Foxx as the ultimate carjack victim. We just wanted to clear the air about our high regard for Michael’s talent before we tell you how much we disliked his latest film, the film adaptation of the 80s cops in pastel blazers drek – “Miami Vice”.

Now, while that embodiment of late twentieth century flash and pop drivel became famous for exploding the boundaries of a weekly cop show, and driving sales for white linen suits – we never really understood what the hullabaloo was about. And you certainly won’t if you go see this complete waste of time. Which is a shame considering the talent involved. Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx, two fine examples of muscular leading men, Gong Li – our beloved empress of Asian cinema and a supporting cast that includes such favorites as Naomie Harris, Ciarán Hinds and Justin Theroux are completely wasted in a style-less, abrasive, run-of-the-mill drug caper gone wrong that quickly escalates into nothing more than a dingingly photographed snuff film.

What little plot there is concerns two detectives and their team of stereotypically stiff and humorless compatriots working in Miami as an elite undercover cadre. One of their main informants interrupts some sort of high end call girl bust, (Imagine, whores in Miami?) in a panic admitting to blowing the lid off a delicate drug sting operation. Once the informants beloved gal winds up dead, he commits suicide on the interstate by walking in front of an oncoming semi truck to the horrified reactions of detectives Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs. But since the detectives are played by Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx as cardboard cutout bristly he-men, it’s more like a shrug and a nod. (Sidenote: By the halfway mark in this celluloid dungheap, we were praying for that semi to return and wipe out the rest of the cast.)

What happens next is nothing more than a tired rehash of every cop chase thriller, Latino drug czar villain replete with a mysterious Lotus-petal Asian femme fatale cohort, shoot-the-fuck-out-of-everything-in-sight action flick to come down the pike since “The French Connection” came upon the scene thirty five years ago. At least that Oscar winning champ remains watchable today due to its fine performances and stylish direction and most importantly visual flair.

For a director noted for his skill with the camerawork, “Miami Vice” emerges as muddied and cheap looking as the aforementioned Miami whores after a marathon fist fucking in the Everglades.

Colin Farrell somnambulates through most of the scenes with a fortnight’s worth of stubble, greased back highlighted hair, and a “Please, God – no more cop flicks” expression that borders on a Vicodin induced coma. His Sonny Crockett barely seems capable of remembering to apply deodorant, much less handle a gun or outwit some cocaine kingpins.

Jamie Foxx’s muscles outact Colin Farrell by barely a whisper. For an Oscar winning actor who has become famous for his alleged range and versatility – why on earth does he insist on playing the same damn character in all his recent films? His Ricardo Tubbs is no different that the whoo-haa military man in last year’s “Jarhead”, or the whoo-haa military man in the abysmal bomb “Stealth”. At this point, we are looking forward to his early retirement.

Gong Li, who has graced many a great film back in her native China, needs to give up the dream of becoming a star in English language films. Or should we say – Ingrish Rangrage Feerms. Seriously, Gong. Gongala. Gongie. You are a gorgeous, talented actress whose power and skill is without question – unless you are playing some weak variation on the already watered down Geisha Bitch Goddess of last year’s buswreck. Completely wasted. And yes, we are making fun of her Ingrish, ‘cause it’s so fucking hard to understand her! We’ve had better luck asking for cheap knockoff opium in the backroom of a greasy deli in Chinatown.

Naomie Harris, who is quite the up and comer lately and who single handedly stole whatever good there was to take from the horrid “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”, is tossed away here like a broken dildo. Literally. She serves no other purpose than to scrub Jamie’s well toned back in a ridiculous sex-shower sequence and then serve as a kidnap / rape victim and eventual comatose stump. Oops! Did we give away a plotpoint? There would have to be a plot in order to give any points away.

Nobody else in this craptrap deserves mention, due to their overacting, underacting or complete non-usage. The only person who deserves to be brought up again is the director himself, Michael Mann. Michael. What happened? We know you are capable of staging some brilliant set pieces. The on the edge of your seat shoot out at the disco in “Collateral” was a tour de force. We know you can deliver on the grimy, underbelly of the drug world too. But what on earth possessed you to film this piece of shit with nothing but handheld digital cameras in obscure lighting that induces eyestrain and nausea?

For the life of us, we will never understand some director’s love affair with the hand held camera. For some scenes, and even for some entire flicks – it can be used well. But unless you suffer from Parkinson’s Disease or are dodging bombs in Beirut, nobody in the history of the world has ever viewed life through a constantly jiggling filter. It is distracting at the very least, excessively infantile at its worst and the clear mark of somebody who has tossed storytelling to the wind in some vain hope of appealing to attention deprived adolescents whose only source of reference is the latest MTV based reality show.

Do yourselves a favor, don’t go see “Miami Vice”. On second thought, make sure you prevent anybody you know from seeing “Miami Vice”. Actually, take the time to stop by the nearest theatre showing “Miami Vice” to personally bitch slap the people in line to go see “Miami Vice”. This movie is an embarrassment to all the actors, technicians, creators, stagehands, food service delivery people and animals wandering by the set who might have been involved. What a nightmare. The only good we took away from our wasted two hours was a yen for a Mojito and some blow. At least our night wasn't completely wasted. Bless you all!

Directed by Michael Mann
Written by Michael Mann
Based on the TV series created by Anthony Yerkovich

Colin Farrell as Det. James “Sonny” Crockett
Jamie Foxx as Det. Ricardo Tubbs
Gong Li as Isabella
Naomie Harris as Trudy Joplin
Ciarán Hinds as FBI Agent Fujima
Justin Theroux as Det. Larry Zito
Barry Shabaka Henley as Lt. Martin Castillo
Luis Tosar as Arcángel de Jesús Montoya
John Ortiz as José Yero
John Hawkes as Alonzo Stevens

Cinematography by Dion Beebe
Film Editing by William Goldenberg & Paul Rubell
Original Music by Klaus Badelt, Mark Bastón, John Murphy & Organized Noize
Production Design by Victor Kempster
Art Direction by Carlos Menéndez
Set Decoration by Jim Erickson
Costume Design by Janty Yates


Post a Comment

<< Home