Bearing absolutely no resemblance to the 1980s TV series that helped to propel Michael Mann into big-time filmmaking, Miami Vice
is the kind of serious, and seriously stylish, crime drama that Mann does better than anyone else. As written by Mann himself, this undercover sting thriller doesn't reach the peak intensity of Mann's 1995 classic Heat
, and it lacks the tight, nail-biting suspense of Collateral
, but that doesn't mean it doesn't occasionally pack a wallop. As Miami detectives Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs (respectively), Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx don't have to do much but mumble their plot-thickening dialogue and look ultra-cool in the casual cop attire, and their partnership is rather lifeless on screen (perhaps owing to the fact that this was a troubled production, with an actual shooting that occurred during filming, and Foxx's refusal to risk his life on dangerous locations in South America). But once Mann shifts into high gear with a plot to foil a powerful drug kingpin (Luis Tosar) and his ruthless middle-man (John Ortiz), Vice pays off with the kind of smart, realistic action that Mann's fans have come to expect. With Chinese superstar Gong Li as Crockett's love interest on the wrong side of the law, Miami Vice
covers territory that's a little too familiar, and one suspects Mann's screenplay might've been punched up with a polish or two. Still, this is an above-average crime thriller that demands and rewards close attention, with a climactic shoot-out that's pure Mann, worthy of the brooding drama that precedes it. --Jeff Shannon
Brooding big-screen adaptation of the classic 1980s television crime drama from director Michael Mann. Undercover Miami-Dade police detectives Sonny Crockett (Colin Farrell) and Rico Tubbs (Jamie Foxx) are summoned to help out on an FBI undercover operation that has gone disastrously wrong. Infiltrating a dangerous world of international drug dealers, somehow linked to a home-grown Neo Nazi group, Crockett and Tubbs pose as experienced criminals able to transport goods anywhere in the world. But as they dig deeper into the criminal underworld, Tubbs worries that the mission will be compromised as Crockett finds himself falling for drug dealer Jesus Montoya's (Luis Tosar) girlfriend, Isabella (Gong Li). When the two cops are sold out by a rival dealer in the operation, Crockett and Tubbs break cover and lead their team to a climactic, brutal show-down.
MIAMI VICE follows the violent adventures of Crockett (Colin Farrell) and Tubbs (Jamie Foxx). With Miami at the centre of a global drug trade, their job of stopping illegal trafficking is hard and dangerous work, yet they are also rewarded with gorgeous girls and local celebrity. But their access to wealth, drugs, and power is tempting, and both men continually struggle with personal demons to stay on the right side of the law. In 1984, director Michael Mann made television--and fashion--history with his action-packed, neon-lit crime series, Miami Vice
. The series was a hit for five years and became a cultural phenomenon. Now Mann, who has made quite a career for himself in Hollywood, with Oscar-nominated films including Ali, Heat
, and The Insider
, updates his small-screen hit for the movie going public, crafting a sparkling, roller-coaster ride of a movie that is perfectly complemented by its bright colours and kinetic movement. From a frenetic opening scene at a nightclub to an undercover infiltration of a South American drug cartel, the action barely lets up. And when Crockett meets the irresistible Isabella (Chinese bombshell Gong Li), the mistress of hotshot drug dealer Jesus Montoya (Luis Tosar), business mixes dangerously with pleasure, on dance floors and between sheets. As he did with the television show, Mann manages to make a guilty pleasure psychologically nuanced and politically charged--eye candy with depth. And despite the mesmerizing cinematography, the actors manage to be as striking as their surroundings, turning in strong, dynamic performances.