Monday July 31, 2006

Miami Vice the movie review

foxx and farrell play serious

Oh boy! I can’t even begin to explain to you how badly this movie sucked. Let me begin by saying, though, that making a bad movie is excusable. Making a bad movie with anti-piracy bullshit planted in it is just plain wrong. But on to Miami Vice:

The plot was sort of like the plot of a sub-par episode of the original TV show, ended three-quarters of the way through. I’m not sure the concept of a “spoiler” even applies here: knowing it’s close to ending might be a relief. Sonny and Ricardo set up a big fancy drug deal, Sonny falls in love with a girl on the drug dealer’s team, Sonny and Ricardo mess with the drug dealers a little, there’s a big gunfight (what was supposed to pass for the climax scene) during which Sonny’s main concern is to save the girl, and a little epilogue wherein the girl gets sent off (to Cuba, where an earlier scene had been shot, except of course not really). Just when I was getting ready for a third act to sweep in and save the day, the whole thing ends. And it ends ugly: a glimpse of a sad little version of a reworked Miami Vice logo, followed by the credits rolling over some crappy band’s cover of Phil Collins’ ‘In the Air Tonight’ (which was sort of a suspense-building time-filler in the first episode of the TV show, and a radio hit, and not so great then, and no better as a shitty remake filing-out-the-theater music).

Okay, so maybe I’m wrong about the plot, right? Maybe I missed all the finer elements of the intrigue, or whatever (or maybe not). What else has this movie got going for it?

The connection to Miami? Nope, sorry. Bad Boys II showed off Miami better then Miami Vice. One scene was nicely done on a highway overpass, but for the most part it could have been set anywhere. Almost the entire movie is shot at night and on super-fast, super-grainy digital with crappy lighting. It literally looks like shit.

Speaking of which, the chauvinistic aspect: The movie starts out with two strong-seeming female supporting cast members. One of them shares a shower-and-sex scene with Jamie Foxx (which was really well done, by the way; probably the best thing in the whole movie), and then proceeds to spend the rest of the movie in a coma. The other, played by Gong Li, starts out as a high-up in the drug cartel, and promptly gets sucked into an absurd, almost James-Bondian “romance” with her “nemesis,” Colin Farrell. As I said, towards the end the plot sort of revolves around her, yet she’s used more as a prop then a character. Irritating.

The leads? Well, Foxx is awlright, but he’s just not on the screen enough. Farrell is just plain sad. Who cast this schmuck? What the heck does Manola see in him? He acts like a sad little emo boy, and the movie becomes more laughable and absurd in direct proportion to the percentage area of the screen his face takes up. A lot of “bad acting” accusations got thrown at Don Johnson during the TV series, but one look at this guy will solidify Johnson’s reputation as the king of cool.

OK, so you’ve heard about how the pastel colors of the TV show are out, right? So they’re replaced by a “look” that consists of video-effect faux-grit, supplied by the high-definition digital cameras the movie was shot with. These are becoming more and more common, and allow directors to manipulate the look of a movie without having to go through the intermediary steps of scanning film. Here it’s mostly used to make things look crappy. Only slightly more successfully, a couple of the scenes employ what I believe is a frame-rate trick, giving them a weird home-video look.

I got home and talked to a friend of mine who’d just gone to see a 3D version of The Ant Bully, [actually, it was Monster House] and raved about how weird, beautiful, and great it was. And apparently you can see it in 3D even at regular theaters. Maybe your money is better spent there. Blah.

Update: Miamians agree that the movie doesn’t really have much to do with the city.

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  1. miami maven    Mon Jul 31, 02:22 PM #  

    Warning: Plot Spoiler
    One of thing that frustrated me about the movie is Crocket and Tubbs set up their whole operation to help find who in the FEDs operations (FBI, ATF, USCG, etc.) was leaking.
    The movie finishes- and they never found the leak!!!

  2. J-J    Mon Jul 31, 05:11 PM #  

    To bad it could have been a great summer movie

  3. alesh    Mon Jul 31, 05:27 PM #  

    Yep. Could have been a great summer movie. Also, it’s sort of part of our legacy—down the drain. A shame, because from my understanding Jamie Foxx is the one who really pushed for the remake, and he was pretty good in it – everyone else just sort of blew it.

    And so it goes. (although i’ll be giving it another chance when the DVD comes out—i want to see that opening sequence shot at the Port)

  4. Manola Blablablanik    Mon Jul 31, 07:33 PM #  

    Well, I usually do him with a paper bag over his head. :-)

  5. Chris Feehan    Mon Jul 31, 07:53 PM #  

    Great debate! I was personally let down. I’m starting a blog and was am looking for Miami websites that reflect on neg/pos reaction to Miami Vice. I noticed that Ignore Magazine, which recently celebrated Lt. Castillo aka Mr. Olmos from my favorite show of all time (see above), has cast Steven Seagal and rapper DMX in the lead roles. That’s silly, but I do think it would have made for a far more entertaining piece of moviemaking. Until next time Miamians. Nanu-Nanu, I’m watching you, so join in. Miami Vice 2006.

  6. Dr. Annie Steelclit    Tue Aug 1, 09:59 AM #  

    It has recently come to my attention that my patient, Manola, has been consuming a rare Chinese string bean on her low-carb diet that has hallucinogenic properties, thus making the average penis appear larger than it is. I am so intrigued by this string bean, that I asked her to prepare a dish for me, you know, just for research purposes.

  7. jamesforemano    Wed Aug 9, 09:01 AM #  

    Yep i totally agree havnt seen he fricking movie, my mate does but it looks worse than what my dog shat out this morning after he ate my kebab last nite! that sez it all i think?

  8. sneaky    Wed Aug 9, 11:29 AM #  

    This movie gets a F-. Incredibly boring, and yes, even the sex made me want to take a nap.

  9. Gary    Mon Aug 14, 10:34 AM #  

    Well, I can now say I’ve seeen my first shitty movie of the year…...

    Miami Vice, the 1980s show that showed South Florida police could catch bad guys and make a pastel fashion statement too, goes in the other direction in its new film incarnation? It’s a darker, grittier, more dramatic exercise in the genre of undercover cops vs. drug dealers. Ugh….. yeah, right!

    Michael Mann executive produced the original series and presumably helped define its visual signatures of high-gloss, neon-and-rain-puddled, noctural-reflected-surfaces that later served him so well in films from Thief to Heat to Collateral. Here he continues his style-over-substance ways as the film’s writer-director, delivering a noisy, hard-edged, heart-thumping police procedural yarn that is not always coherent, but looks terrific. That is…some of the time. Lots of camera shots done without a steady cam. This effect was used waaaay too much! Mann’s story was extremely hard to believe. Crockett and Tubb’s climbing to the top of the drug lord’s posse within 30 minutes. Whoa nilly there turbo!

    That may or may not be enough to sustain your interest for a long 132 minutes. Thanks largely to director of photography Dion Beebe, the many Miami locations look seductive, if often murky. The problem is that beneath the slick visuals, the story is formulaic and the sketchy characters are not compelling enough to make us care. I love the touching moment at the end of the end of the movie when Crockett let’s his love intrest go. Yeah, that’s right…just let her slip away. Not only was that totally unbelievable but a cop letting a person of this unscrupulous drug dealing get away just because she sucked his cock made me shake my head and say “shame, shame ,shame…. for me spending $6.00 to watch this shit infested yarn”.

    We will have to take Mann’s word for it that Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx are detectives Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs, for beyond their names, there is little to connect them to their television antecedents. Just think of them as two generic fictional cops with all the cool shit to use like it’s a big movie. Hmmm… Tubbs even flys the jets and other cool planes in the movie…just like James Bond. That’s believable….. on a cop’s income was well.

    Like the often irrelevant opening sequence of a TV show, whose purpose is to hook you in and stop you from changing the channel, Miami Vice opens with a stakeout scene at a South Beach nightclub which ends in muted mayhem. An exciting start that goes nowhere.

    From there, Crockett and Tubbs are Haiti-bound, posing as tough hombre drug smugglers who stand up to a squinty-eyed crime boss over the details of a cocaine deal. But before the transaction can go down, Crockett cozies up to Mr. Big’s shapely accountant-mistress (Gong Li of Memoirs of a Geisha… who I’d love to bang) and squires her off by speed boat to Havana for a mojito. And some sex. Hahaha-fucking-Hahaha. The sex scene was lame, and hardly a gratuitous tit shot, let alone a cookie glance!! Boner Gauge – 1 to 10 I’d give it a solid 2.

    Foxx may be Farrell’s partner, but the division of labor is hardly equal, as the movie often leaves Foxx in the dust. At least he gets a cop girlfriend (Naomi Harris) and one of the most suspenseful scenes, rescuing her from the well-armed thugs who are holding her captive in a potential ambush.

    Otherwise, there are stealth missions down to Paraguay and Colombia, gunfire at regular intervals and the suggestion that Crockett may be planning to remain on the criminal side permanently. That is what passes for suspense in this film. Yep…. that’s it folks!

    Farrell is aptly sullen, grunting out his dialogue as if he knew it was the least important element of the movie. Foxx is both bulkier and sleeker than he was in his Oscar-winning work in Ray, persuasive enough here that they probably won’t ask for the award back.

    Still, despite its drawbacks, there is surely a market for this new take on Miami Vice, since the near-elimination of story and character leaves so much more time for stylish violence. The story is soooo frigg’n far fetched that I’m amazed it didn’t have space aliens and knights with shiney armor involved in the story somehow.

    I say, stay at home and watch VH-1 or Bravo.

    2 tits (one each from 2 women) shots that lasted one second a piece. Lame….. and that’s it!! I rate this movie a D.