Starring: Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx and Gong Li
Director: Michael Mann
LOOSELY based on the 1980s television series of the same name, Miami Vice is a taut and tough action drama.
Ricardo Tubbs (Jamie Foxx) and Sonny Crockett (Colin Farrell) are partners in Miami’s undercover police force.
Their respective and distinctively different styles complement and foil each other perfectly. They trust each other.
When they stumble on a new Colombian drug cartel using a white supremacist group in Miami to distribute their freight into the USA, Tubbs and Crockett are commissioned by the FBI to infiltrate the cartel by posing as the bosses of an alternative Floridian distribution network.
The stakes are high, but they get even higher went Crockett falls in lust with Isabel (Gong Li), the drug baron’s lover, and when Tubbs’ girlfriend and police colleague is abducted by the Aryans.
Michael Mann is a multi-talented director with Heat, Ali and The Insider to his credit. He has written, directed and produced this film. He has taken a popular but very limited television series and given it a stylish turn.
The plot is complex, the social commentary is searing, the acting assured. The photography, a fusion of video and hand-held camera work, reveals Mann’s cinematic mastery.
That said, some of the dialogue is unintelligible, the violence is graphic and the sex scenes are overly prolonged, seemingly there to show off the torsos of the leading actors, rather than driving on the plot.
There are a few humorous moments in this gritty film, but some of these are unintended and flow from some long, serious looks between the main characters. At these points Miami Vice is more soap opera than feature film.
A long film, Miami Vice moves at a good pace, but don’t be late because Mann cuts straight to the chase as soon as the lights go down.
No doubt this revival is the first of a series of films which I doubt Miami’s tourism board will welcome. As portrayed here, that city looks like it’s a place in dire need of virtue and amazing grace.