Wednesday, August 20, 2008
REVIEW: Miami Vice
Director: Michael Mann
Starring: Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx, Li Gong, Naomie Harris, Justin Theroux
Distributor: Universal Pictures
MPAA: Rated R
I first saw Miami Vice in theaters a couple days after it came out. I only saw it because of its awesome trailer. Surprisingly, it didn't turn out the way I had hoped because Miami Vice is a good example of how an awesome trailer can make an average movie look. The film didn't turn out as good as the trailer made it out to be. Ever since than, I haven't been able to convince myself to see this film again. The film itself did pretty good at the box office grossing an estimated $163 million worldwide, but it was hammered with some bad reviews.
Sonny Crockett (Colin Farrell) and Ricardo Tubbs (Jamie Foxx), are given a most difficult assignment. They are assigned to infiltrate a major drug cartel led by Jose Yero (John Ortiz), and find out who killed two undercover federal agents. It doesn't exactly help that Crockett falls in love with one of the cartel's most important member, Isabella (Gong Li).
The film is based on the 80's TV series "Miami Vice". Seeing as how I never got the chance to see the TV series, I cant tell you how close the movie is to the series. I found the plot of Miami Vice to be pretty dull and un-original. It starts off nicely and looks like its heading somewhere, but it doesn't. The film's story is really slow and tends to drag. Theirs also too many things happening that you cant tell whats going on. The characters are unreadable and un-interesting. I couldn't care less as to what happens to them. Miami Vice also tends to keep its action to a bare minimum. We hardly get much action and when we do, it really isn't enough. The film is very dialogue driven with a bunch of people always talking. Id say a good 75% of the film is mostly just talking. This isn't a bad thing, but the trailer just left me the impression that we would have a bunch of action and yet we don't. The dialogue isn't even that good with some occasional cheesy lines here and their. With that said, Miami Vice can be somewhat entertaining. The scenes that do have action in them are generally good. Director Michael Mann knows how to shoot the movie and it does a nice job at it. His style of choice makes it as if you were right their with everybody.
The cast for the film is a mixed bad. Colin Farrell plays as Det. Sonny Crockett and he does a fairly decent job. I would go as far as to say this is his best performance, but he doesn't do too bad of a job. He has the right look and face, but I'm not sure his voice is good for the part. Jamie Foxx plays as Det. Ricardo Tubbs and he too does a decent job. I was really expecting alot from Fox simply because of his performance in the 2004 hit film "Ray". He does an alright job as Tubbs, but I'm not so sure this was a good role for him. Li Gong plays as Isabella and shes just miscast here. I wasn't too fond of her performance in this film and thought it was really weak. I think someone else should have played this part. We also have Naomie Harris playing as Det. Trudy Joplin. She also does an alright job in her role, but it wasn't impressive. She doesn't have a big enough role in this film or much dialogue.
The visual look of Miami Vice is somewhat of head scratcher. Director Michael Mann shot Miami Vice using mostly HD cameras. This would generally mean that the films source would be in clean shape resulting in less grain, but that's not the case here. Michael Mann intended to have a grain like feel to Miami Vice so he can make the film seem more real and intense. This doesn't mix well with the films video quality. Film grain is almost everywhere and can be easily seen. It necessarily isn't distracting, but it makes some of the night scenes feel somewhat washed out. Colors are muted and have some kind of overcast tone to them. Black levels are mostly good expect in some of the night scenes. Detail ranges from being good to being soft. Close up shots show a good amount of detail, but shots that aren't focused can look somewhat soft.
The film features a good soundtrack. Composer John Murphy composes a nice score that goes pretty well with the films story and style. It isn't effectively used as I would have done, but it sounds good when its on. The film also features other music from various artists. We get a couple of Linkin Park songs here and their that go well with the film. Miami Vice doesn't contain a strong bass that most would expect. Since the film is heavily dialogue driven with only a few actions scenes, the bass doesn't mix well. Its also got to do with director Mann's style of shooting which doesn't fit well with the films bass. What we do have here is seemingly fine, but just don't expect to be blown away by it.
Miami Vice is a disappointment compared to what the trailer made it out to be. The story is un-original and has too much going for it. The film just has too much dialogue with hardly any action. The cast is decent, but none of them really stand out from one another. The visual look of the film makes the film more intense and somewhat real, but it also makes the image very grainy. The soundtrack is pretty lively with some good music. Just don't expect much in terms of bass. I cant really say that this was a bad film considering that it does have some entertaining moments. It just doesn't come off the way the trailer made it out to be. I think its worth checking out if your into these slow action drama films.