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Due to Michael Mann's track record it was hard to go into this movie
without very high expectations. After all, we are talking about the
creator of arguably the greatest crime drama/thriller ever made with
"Heat", as well as the highly entertaining "Collateral". But "Miami
Vice" fails to live up to Mann's past success in the crime genre.
The plot is completely ordinary and doesn't offer up any unexpected
twists and turns along the way. Because of this, the movie lacks
intensity through much of the first and second acts, when everything
that's happening is completely predictable.
However, pedestrian plot aside, the biggest disappointment was the
manner in which the characters were developed. Both "Collateral" and
"Heat" were notable for the way in which they delved deep into the
psyche of the central characters, providing compelling personal drama
to go along with the heists, hits and gunplay. But in "Miami Vice", we
never really get to know the characters or their motivations beyond the
surface level. And to make matters worse, Foxx and Farrell never
develop the kind of rapport that's necessary to make a movie like this
work on a high level. Compare Foxx and Farrell to Johnson and Thomas,
or Gibson and Glover, and you'll see what I mean. Even though the
"Miami Vice" movie aspires to be darker and grittier than "Lethal
Weapon", which it is, it fails to be as dramatic because we never
really come to care about the characters all that much. While there was
clearly a conscious decision to downplay the "buddy" elements of the
movie, the result is that Crockett and Tubbs seem so disconnected from
each other on a personal level that it's hard to buy that they would
die for each other, which we are expected to believe. The only
relationship that is at all convincing or fleshed out is between
Crockett and Isabella. The rest seem decidedly distant and undercooked.
What saves the film from being a bust is the visual splendor and great
action sets. Mann once again proves that when it comes to creating a
gritty atmosphere and staging shootouts, he's among the best in the
business. When it comes to style, visuals, and atmosphere, "Miami Vice"
is top notch.
In the end perhaps what hurt this movie most was studio deadlines and
delays while shooting. It's been widely reported that Michael Mann had
to feverishly edit this film just to get it into theaters on time, and
in many ways that shows. There are multiple loose ends that are never
tied up or explained, and several plot threads seem underdeveloped. I'm
sure some day we will see a director's cut which approaches the 3 hour
mark just like "Heat", and perhaps that version will overcome of the
issues involving character development and plot holes in the theatrical
version. Until then, "Miami Vice" is a movie that, while far from being
a total failure, is none-the-less disappointing in that it had the
potential to be a much more complete film than it is.
Tags for Miami Vice Full Movie
, Jamie Foxx
, Li Gong
, Naomie Harris
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