Tuesday, 29 May 2007

DVD: Miami Vice

Lowdown: They're back. Sadly.
I never really liked the TV series; the only thing I did like about Miami Vice was the theme music. However, when I heard that the new Miami Vice film was directed by Michael Mann, of Heat, The Insider and Collateral fame, my interest in the film grew strong. If it was as good as Mann's previous efforts, it should have been smashing. But it's not.
As a film about cops and robbers, Miami Vice is as shablonic as a film can be. We've seen that movie before; not once or twice, but probably dozens of times. This time around we have Collin Farrell (who seems to have forgotten how to be involved in a good film ever since Phone Booth) and Jamie Foxx as the main culprits. They are cops in Miami, but they are unique: they drive a Ferrari, live in ultra expensive homes, and drive fast boats as a cover; and obviously, they are so inconspicuous that no one pays them any attention and they can work undercover at will. So when an FBI drug deal goes wrong and only Miami's police can save the day by establishing contact with an ultra drug lord, they are called in to pretend to be drug couriers. They step in, they impress, they do their thing, and eventually - and I don't think there's a risk of me spoiling it to anyone - they make arrests.
So far it's all pretty ordinary, so in order to make it even more ordinary the film uses every other means used by the other films of the genre to make it feel more alive. There are extreme sexual scenes, although nothing to really make a fuss about (as in nothing that would raise an eyebrow with a, say, French viewer, but definitely extraordinary stuff by American standards). And then there's the usual "good cop falls in love with supposedly sexy female villain who must be good at heart". And if one cop gets to have a lover then the other cop in the two cop team has to have a similar affair. There's even an attempt to move the audience by not having any credits or anything similar at the beginning; you're thrown in straight away, and only at the end does the film reveal its big secret - that you have been watching Miami Vice - to you. As I said, shablonic; it's all cheap and shallow stuff.
To add fuel to the fire, the way the heroes go about their stuff is amazingly unprofessional. Pretty much all dialog is ultra macho stuff; no sentence said carries any meaning other than some slogan like statement that's supposed to impress and sound cool. How these cops manage to work with one another and plan something constructive together is beyond me.
In its credit, the second half of the film is pretty tense, and in the usual Mann way there is some good cinematography on display. But there's absolutely nothing that really catches you on; three days have past since we saw the DVD, and I find it hard to recall what the film was all about.
Best scene: Ferrell rides a fast boat from Miami to Cuba. The shots of the boat on the water are very impressive! (Yes, I chose the scene purely for its cinematography)
Picture quality: The film has the appearance of being shot in a video camera. It gives an aura of authenticity, but it creates many an artifact and attracts too much attention to itself.
Sound quality: Is this supposed to be an action film? The soundtrack of Driving Miss Daisy will pump you up more than this one.
Overall: In one word, redundant; 2 out of 5 stars. It doesn't even feature the original theme music!


Uri said...

You do know that's not a word, right? Maybe "cookie-cutter"?

Moshe Reuveni said...

I looked it up in dictionary.com at the time and it wasn't there; when I Googled it I did get some results, so I decided to be a Shakespeare and add a new word to the ever increasing English vocabulary.