ďThat's not what happens. What will happen is... what will happen is I will put a round at twenty-seven hundred feet per second into the medulla at the base of your brain. And you will be dead from the neck down before your body knows it. Your finger won't even twitch. Only you get dead. So tell me, sport, do you believe that?Ē
Straight off, Miami Vice is far from perfect. It is flawed, certainly not in the same league as Michael Mannís previous efforts such as Heat and Manhunter. We are treated to the usual high level of set piece and action sequence that we are used to from Mann, but while these are visually stunning and technically spot on, they are not the be all and end all. Itís the bits in between that are disappointing.
Sometimes I wonder how Mann does it. His shootouts and dialogue are always so authentic. They have the feel of the street, of veteran cop and hardened criminal. Its more than the sensation of being there Ė you get the impression that Mann has lived with these people, and researched his subjects to a fault. We feel the adrenaline his protagonists must feel. Firing stances and gun-handling by his characters smack of military training. It is no surprise then to read that during certain military/police training sessions, a scene where Val Kilmer reloads his machine gun after the bank job is used to show the quickest, most efficient way to reload.
The film itself is almost irrelevant here, but I feel I should go into a bit of detail. Detectives Crockett and Tubbs (Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx) are deep cover officers, specialising in busting drug rings wide open. When an informant and an undercover agent are killed, they realise someone in the narcotics business is making some pretty hefty moves. One of their team is seriously injured, so Crockett and Tubbs infiltrate in a spectacular way, and strike back.
Mannís dialogue is some of the most realistic and effective dialogue Iíve heard. A similar style to Tarantino, but without the need for pop culture references. His protagonists are always cautious and professional, be they criminal or cop, and Miami Vice is not an exception. Never afraid to take a risk with a score (a little like the main characters from Heat and Thief!), here we are treated to epic tracks from Chris Cornell/Audioslave Ė emotive and fitting. Mann acted as executive producer on the original TV series, and although he has updated the subject matter, he seems unable to elicit any chemistry between his two leads. This is a major letdown of the movie. As with most Mann films, he can command outstanding performances from his main players, and Farrell and Foxx do okay acting wise, itís just that they do not convince as a tight duo. However the most heinous crime is committed by Mann who, as scriptwriter, has Farrell utter the terrible line, ďYou cannot negotiate with gravity.Ē Watch Farrell visibly wince as he says it.
Another criticism I have is that sometimes the movie plays like between-game sequences from Grand Theft Auto. You know, the bits you canít play? I applaud Mannís use of aerial shots and exteriors captured on Digicam for added realism, but the scenes with Chinese actress Gong Li and Farrell in the speedboat are unnecessary and self indulgent. Like an advert for speedboats. Gong Li has real presence here, oozing sensuality as the drug lordís woman/associate that Crockett gets close to, but there are too many scenes of them making out or ripping each others clothes off. I know Mann can do closeness between men and women, intensity on another level. This time I wasnít completely convinced.
Michael Mann is a unique director, but I canít forgive him all his faults. For this reason I have to give Miami Vice only 7 out of 10. His next two projects in my opinion will erase any doubts of his ability as director. Look out for Frankie Machine and Public Enemies. No one does urban quite like this guy.
|Genre||Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller|