Sunday, August 7, 2016

No Virtue

We watched Miami Vice (2006) mainly because we liked the TV show. It's not the kind of thing we'd usually watch, but we were in Japan, and it was broadcast in English. We watched Family Ties and Moonlighting for the same reason. (But not Little House on the Prairie - we had some limits.) I want to say right off that we liked the show. The only reason I can tolerate Phil Collins is that I liked the weaselly character he played on one or two episodes.

Now, Michael Mann decides to go back to the well. He has no original cast members: Crockett is Colin Farrell, Tubbs is Jamie Foxx. Captain Castillo, originally the ever-dour James Edward Olmos, is now the rotund Barry Shabaka Henley. None of them are bad, really, even Farrell, with a slightly wobbly accent. They just had absolutely no chemistry.

Farrell falls for Gong Li, a member of a smuggling family, but maybe not a suspect. Again, very little chemistry.

The plot involves a scheme that requires Crockett and Tubbs to go deep underground, which gives us the requisite low-life scenes. There is also smuggling involving "go-fast" boats, but no Jan Hammer theme song. Also, there's no 80s fashions - you don't get Colin Farrell in a t-shirt and white sports coat. Also, he doesn't seem to live on a boat with a pet alligator named Elvis.

All this might make Miami Vice a fun but unexceptional action movie, with a vague resemblance to an old TV show. But Mann is doing something with video that looks horribly cheesy: the wide-angle lenses give some odd distortion, the lighting is either too harsh or too flat, and everything looks like TV, and not in a good way.

In conclusion, the movie is also over two hours long, adding insult to injury.

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