Friday, July 28, 2006

My Take - Miami Vice

My Take on the Movies
A Mini-Review of
By: A. L. “Toni” Anderson

At long last, the movie version of a favorite television series of the late 1980s, Miami Vice, has been brought to the big screen. The original Sonny Crockett (Don Johnson) and Ricardo Tubbs (Philip Michael Thomas) were some of the coolest guys ever to grace a television set. Can Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx measure up? Could anyone, ever?

Tubbs and Crockett are back under cover and on the case, on the trail of cop-killing drug distributors in and around Miami, Florida. Only this time the action takes place in Paraguay, Brazil, Haiti, Argentina, Colombia, and Cuba. Maybe this should be called International Vice instead.

The original Miami Vice was a slick, stylish tribute to fast cars, sexy music, and beautiful people. Twenty years later, Crockett and Stubbs seem to have aged accordingly, and the years have not been kind. Miami Vice was as much a feeling as anything, and it appears that the thrill has gone. The adrenaline rush has vaporized. If the intent is to appeal to an older generation of fans of the television series, the makers of this film should know that the attraction of remakes is the recapture of one’s own youth. Absolutely nothing is recaptured here. The atmosphere is totally lacking, the music is disappointingly low-key, and the language itself is often nearly unintelligible.

As usually happens when a 60-minute “episode” is expanded to fill a two-hour movie bill, the pace of the film is a bit on the slow side. There is not really enough going on to fill 140 minutes, and the film suffers for the attempt. Tubbs’ character tries to fill in some of the dead spots with Foxx-esque humor, but even that falls flat. Bits of dialogue are borrowed from 1970s private eye Baretta; they sounded better coming from Robert Blake.

Naomie Harris (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest - 2006) plays Tubbs’ love interest, Trudy, and Gong Li (Memoirs of a Geisha - 2005) plays the “businesswoman” who turns Crockett’s head. Barry Shabaka Henley (Lackawanna Blues - 2005) is the lieutenant supervising the operation. Various good and bad guys are portrayed by Elizabeth Rodriguez (The Shield), Spanish-born Luis Tosar, John Ortiz (Take the Lead - 2006), and Domenick Lombardozzi (Entourage). The part of El Tiburon is played by Mario Ernesto Sánchez, who appeared in several episodes of the Miami Vice television series. Michael Mann, the executive producer of the original, this time plays the roles of director, producer, and screenwriter. The music is provided by John Murphy, with selections by Moby and Nonpoint. How can you have In the Air Tonight without Phil Collins? How can you have Miami Vice without Phil Collins?

As excited as I was to see the new Miami Vice, my excitement quickly dissipated As much as I like Jamie Foxx, he can forget about an Oscar nomination for this one. [2:26]

♠ ♠ ♠ ♠ ♠

[© 07/28/2006]


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