Sunday, July 30, 2006

Corruption Junction: “Miami Vice’s” Function is to Put the Audience to Sleep


I’m inclined to call Michael Mann’s Miami Vice a thriller, but that would imply that the film actually thrills. It doesn’t. How could the executive producer of the hit show that defined a generation suck all the fun out of a tale about corruption, cops and cocaine (I needed a word that began with C; I’m not sure if the drugs were actually cocaine but I digress). This new Miami Vice (and by new I mean it’s nothing like the TV show, which isn’t really a bad thing) is all flash, style and suave, but what it has in flair it lacks in anything remotely resembling excitement. I’m stupefied as to how the director of Collateral, a film so equally balanced in style, story and fun could have made a film that is fun to look at, but not fun to watch.

Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell (maybe someday Colin) play a pair of tough and rugged Miami cops. They certainly mean business. They hang out in seedy nightclubs, get caught up in booze and babes and spend some time putting the bad guys behind bars. If you want to know what the story is in this film you’re asking the wrong person. I felt like it’s easier to understand a foreign film without subtitles than to comprehend anything going on in this movie. Foxx and Farrell go undercover as drug dealers to nab some Columbian drug load (never heard of that before) and in the meantime Farrell falls in love and Foxx’s fox gets in trouble. Everything the characters say and do are simply incomprehensible and in turn made the film nearly head scratching. Although everyone in the film is extremely good at being confusing. I believed these guys were tough cops (Farrell more so than Foxx). Everyone gets lost in his or her role as much I got lost trying to figure out what was going on.

This is a Michael Mann film remember and what the film lacks in comprehension it makes up in visual flair. The film was shot on digital video like Mann’s far superior Collateral. Except I felt this time the picture was much more dark and grainy which really added to the grittiness to the whole procedure. Mann isn’t afraid to get really close to his actors and he let’s the focus go in and out. I felt like I was watching a slickly produced episode of Cops. Mann also doesn't turn away from the brutal violence and sensuality that was hardly present in the show (Of course I'm no Miami Vice expert seeing as though I was 5 when the show originally aired).

I have to give credit to Mann for delivering a film in the summer months that doesn’t rely on special effects nor actual film itself. The movie is dark, nary a pastel jacket in sight. However with all its visual finesse it fails to be a story worth investing any time in. The trailer is amazing, cool and well edited with that perfectly matched Linkin Park song (which thankfully appears in the film) You’d be better off watching the movie’s trailer for a much better example of style and story mixed extremely well. I have to admit the trailer is never boring, unlike it's film. GRADE: C-

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