In the 1980s, in those heady days before the '87 stock-market crash brought the whole thing down, the television series Miami Vice
was a symbol of the times. The brainchild of former Starsky and Hutch
scriptwriter-turned-director Michael Mann, riding high on the back of the critical success of Manhunter
, his adaptation of the first Hannibal Lecter novel Red Dragon
, Miami Vice
provided smart, slick and stylish (many would say too stylish) entertainment as it followed the career of two cops against an opulent Miami, Florida backdrop. Sonny Crockett (Don Johnson) was the local cop-on-the-edge. Tough, honourable, charming and cool (he did, after all, live on boat with a pet alligator named Elvis), he became one of the 80s ultimate style icons. After only a few episodes of the series, men all over the world began to sport white suits (with the sleeves rolled up to the elbows), pastel shirts, 5 o'clock shadows and deck shoes sans
socks. Crockett's less charismatic partner Ricardo Tubbs (sorry, Philip Michael Thomas, but it's true) was a transplanted New York beat cop who came to Miami with a score to settle, but ended up staying, charmed by the city's glitz and glamour (the show's general attitude was "Hey, wouldn't you?").
Although the Miami Vice pilot episode remains an essential 80s archive piece (one suspects it had a much bigger budget), the two episodes that make up Volume Two offer little to anyone other than die-hard fans. Even the addition of the always interesting Edward James Olmos as the police captain and Michael Madsen guest-star turn as a criminal gunning for one of Crockett's informants can do little to salvage the clumsy direction and cringeworthy acting of the first episode, "Give A Little, Take A Little". The terrible subplot involving a prostitution bust going wrong is especially embarrassing. The second episode, "No Exit", is exponentially better. Directed by David Soul, the blond half of Starsky & Hutch--and, therefore, a man who knows a thing or two about cop shows--"No Exit" features a much hairier Bruce Willis as an international arms dealer who's brought down with the help of his abused wife. --Robert Burrow
Three further crimebusting escapades for the designer detectives. Includes 'No Exit', 'Return of Calderon Part One' and 'Return of Calderon Part Two'.