Yowza, two screenings in one day! Yeah, that’s gonna hurt. The film tonight was Miami Vice, the latest flick from Michael Mann. Mann has done some awesome films in the past – and Miami Vice isn’t one of them. It starts right off in the middle of a bust going bad. But who is who? I don’t get it. Aside from Colin Farrell as Crockett and Jamie Foxx at Tubbs, we never get introduced to anyone – and are left to figure it out. Eventually, the plot starts to unfold: Crockett and Tubbs, who work for the Miami Vice Squad (duh), go undercover to infiltrate a Columbian drug cartel, and weed out the leaker who got some FBI agents killed. Or something like that. It’s a bit more complex, but that’s the basic gist of it.
You don’t have any character development, so when Crockett suddenly falls in love with Isabella (Gong Li), the all-business, no-nonsense manager of the cartel, it comes out of the blue. In fact, her back story is so vague that I still don’t know why she was crying during sex. In any case, the acting overall was barely servicable – Jamie Foxx was the only one who showed any real depth to his character. I also had a tough time understanding the thick accents that most of the international cast had, which made the plot a bit harder to follow.
Shot mainly on digital video, it shows. The film has a gritty modern look, ala Collateral, but the few film shots stand out as looking nice and crisp. The final climax shootout is a severe disappointment because, while it’s choreographed amazingly and has the potential to rival the Heat bank robbery, it’s cheapened by the look of it, which seems like it was shot on $400 camcorders. That visual look just doesn’t work, and belies the sound mix, which is aggressive and loud. It just looked like some low budget student film that was slapped onto film. Disappointing!
Also disappointing was the music. There’s a nice theme (which may or may not be by John Murphy – he was the composer, but there were like 28 other people writing music, as per the usual Michael Mann film of late), but the music editing with the songs was terrible. I mean, really really bad! We’d get some loud song beneath a sequence, and then it would just suddenly fade out and then a new track would start just so that a love scene could take place or something. It was jarring and obtrusive, and felt – again – amateurish.
Somewhere in Miami Vice is a good story just dying to get out. Unfortunately, Michael Mann has abused technology to make the film appear haphazard, and the average moviegoer will be confused and that is solely because of Mann’s indecisiveness with, oh, everything.