DVD Review by Mike
Directed by : Michael Mann
Written by : Michael Mann & Anthony Yerkovich
I do enjoy Michael Mann’s films, I think he is a director with great style and possible one of the best night directors working today. As for his TV show Miami Vice, it was one of my favourite programmes growing up, entertaining, good characters and some great plots, I rarely missed an episode.
Now as for the film, I do recall it opening to mixed reviews, maybe some were just expecting a big screen version; this isn’t what they got. Instead the film was quite removed from the show, it was dark, serious and far more grittier, with quite a different style of writing. The script dropped the humour, I don’t recall a single chuckle throughout the film. Yet I like it, the danger, the fear seems much more heightened and realistic than the show. I’m not saying the show never had some tense, exciting episodes it did, but I get the feeling that this film is Mann’s original vision for the TV show; maybe the TV executives just didn’t feel the viewers were ready for 22 episodes of this gritty, hard hitting style of TV! Yet in today’s TV world I think it would be a major hit!
Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx come in and take on Don Johnson’s Sunny Crockett and Philip Michael Thomas’s Ricardo Tubbs respectively. Both do superb jobs for me, they are different takes on the characters, more focused, ruthless and of course much more serious!
Though Farrell does take some of Johnson’s style with the clothes he wears. Foxx just brings the pain; he is seriously bad ass in this role. Naomie Harris plays Trudy Joplin, another member of the vice unit, and a love interest for Tubbs. Though I don’t recall that happening in the show; yet it’s used in the plot with good effect. Overall the cast is great except for Harris the rest of the Vice squad are bit players though, as Farrell and Foxx command the screen time; as you would expect. There is no introduction to the characters as the film opens in the middle of Vice raid; maybe Mann feels that the majority of people would know these characters and building any back story is pointless.
On the other side of the coin, Li Gong, Luis Tosar and John Ortiz all make credible criminals, though John Ortiz seems the go to guy for a South American drug runner nowadays.
It’s a typical Miami Vice plot, drug running, double crosses and kidnapping, nothing new here. It really doesn’t need to be anything else, this is the basis of the show and it works, why change it or make it something else. The action is superb though it’s not a full blown action movie, Mann strips it away to give it a realistic feel, the shootouts are fantastic, the sound is stunning. Also the boat running scenes are excellent and of course the night scenes are a visual treat, but I expect that from Mann.
The soundtrack is very good, with Mann using a cover of In The Air Tonight; possible the most famous scene and song from the TV series, though the cover isn’t as good as the original.
It was great to revisit this film, I really enjoyed watching it again, though it’s made me want to dig out my Miami Vice TV boxsets. I feel the changes Mann has made work, they give the film it’s own identity and not just a big screen extended episode like some TV to Cinema films have suffered from recently.
Rating : 4 / 5