Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

No Sizzle in 'Miami'; Michael Mann's Update of His TV Show from the '80S Is a Total Bust

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

No Sizzle in 'Miami'; Michael Mann's Update of His TV Show from the '80S Is a Total Bust

Article excerpt


There's something in the air tonight, and it reeks. It's Miami Vice, updated from the '80s to now, from pastels to gunmetal gray, from TV tough guy antics to hard-R violence and silly sex interludes (not one but two soap-and-suds scenes in the shower, with arms and backs positioned just so to block most of the naughty parts from view).

It's a glum, grim and pretentious affair, a failure of style over substance, lacking much in the way of thrills, coherency, humor, sex appeal or anything resembling an actual human emotion.

It does, however, offer work to actors who specialize in white supremacists, Latin drug lords and various henchmen, a wildly disparate bunch that shares one thing in common - they must have spent hours in front of the mirror learning to be stone-faced.

And don't go looking for the stars to save this new Vice.

Colin Farrell brings his hopped-up intensity to Sonny Crockett, but he's also saddled with a terrible hairdo, a mustache stolen from an Oakland A's pitcher circa 1973, and - most fatally - no more than two lines of dialogue worth burying his Irish accent for.

Jamie Foxx, meanwhile, no longer knows how to give a bad performance. But his Ricardo Tubbs gets exactly one good line and then disappears for huge, arid swaths of the movie. Where's the sense in that?

Michael Mann's certainly earned the right to redo his TV show; since its '80s heyday he hasn't made a bad movie - until now. Just look at The Last of the Mohicans, Heat, The Insider, Ali and, especially, Collateral. That thriller has the nervy energy and swagger so lacking in this dour update, though the two share the same grainy digital cinematography that makes the clouds in the night sky flare to dangerous life.

In Miami Vice, Mann does take an admirably risky move right off: No opening credits, no character development, no buddy banter, no plot exposition. He just dumps you right into a Miami nightclub with Crockett, Tubbs and their anonymous sidekicks, and we're off into the plot, which involves them going undercover to sink international drug runners and a security leak in the FBI.

It's convoluted stuff, told in snatches of garbled half-lines of dialogue grunted by a motley bunch of cops and bad guys, many of whom can claim English only as a second language. …

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