As a kid growing up in the 80’s, I felt like I was born about 10 years too late because I missed out on the height of the Miami Vice days. If I had been a young adult when the show was popular, then I could have had the joy of wearing a white suit with a salmon or pink t-shirt underneath, sans socks of course. Because that, my friends, is the epitome of cool, no matter what decade you live in. Of course, if you wear that now, you might as well wear a helmet because people are going to treat you like you have a few screws loose. There are a lot of things we need in the world today, but I don’t think a resurgence of Crocket and Tubbs is one of them.
From the moment Crocket and Tubbs appear on screen, you know this is not your daddy’s Vice. Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx give such lazy, uninspired performances that it makes you sick to think that their suits cost more than your car. The irony in the film is that neither actor had the class or charisma to pull off their expensive wardrobe or luxurious tastes. They both looked and acted liked they’d be better off shopping in a John Deere store and sleeping in a Motel 6. Maybe it was the lack of socks, I hear cold ankles can have an effect on your acting ability. Their phoned in performances made you appreciate the coolness of Don Johnson and Phillip Michael Thomas for being able to pull off the rich cop motif so well back in the day.
Plot? If that’s a question, then I guess the answer is; “kind of”. Obviously, there’s a new group of drug runners trying to infiltrate Miami and Crocket and Tubbs are out to take them down. Throw in a quick trip to Cuba with Crocket and his beautiful love interest (Gong Li) and there’s some resemblance of a story. But the truth of the matter is that we don’t care…at all. There’s even a glorified death scene with a bit character that means absolutely nothing to the audience or the story. And don’t even ask about action, because apparently the filmmakers don’t believe in it. The shootout at the end made you double check that the director was actually responsible for one of the greatest shootouts in film history (HEAT).
It’s Michael Mann, so at least the scenery and cinematography are beautiful…right? Well, not so fast. There are moments like the aforementioned trip to Cuba that look pleasant and stylish, but overall this is a boring, formulaic film that has zero redeeming qualities. I’m a huge Michael Mann fan and I’ll watch anything he does, but I’m still struggling to comprehend why he would go revisit the franchise that made him famous and then put so little effort into making it work. It’s extremely hard to go back to a TV show when you’ve been gone for a long time and make it work on film (just ask Chris Carter), but we expect more from Mann then this.
The day after seeing this film, I went back and watched an episode of the old TV show, expecting to erase this film from my memory. But as it turns out, the show doesn’t hold up well over time and I could barely make it through the episode. So I guess the moral to the story here is that your memories of Miami Vice should be just that; memories.