Film Reviews

MIAMI VICE

By • Jul 28th, 2006 •

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Universal Pictures presents in association with Motion Picture ETA Produktionsgesellschaft MBH & Co. KG
A Forward Pass production
MPAA rating R / Running time — 132 minutes

QUOTE: Farrell and Foxx are partners? They don’t even look at each other in Mann’s remake of his acclaimed HEAT.

The rumors were rampant about this troubled production. Last year The New York Post’s “Page Six” ran down the litany of rumors. According to Page Six, the movie was “greenlit at $120 million, but the budget has been blown and it is now costing upwards of $180 million. And they aren’t even done yet. It will likely be a $200 million tab by the end of shooting.” And, “stars Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell have become slightly bloated, with Farrell sporting “beer boobs” due to their constant partying in Miami. Farrell is said to not be getting along with director Mann who is a perfectionist. In addition, there have been reports of fights between Farrell and Foxx. Foxx was said to be upset that Farrell was being paid more than he was, so he demanded his paycheck be boosted from $7.5 million to $10 million to match his bloated co-star.”

What actually happened? Seeing the movie confirms that Farrell and Foxx were not just fighting, they were not speaking to each other. It’s up there on the screen. Farrell’s charisma is intact (he just knows how to look casually smoldering – it’s a gift), but he barely looks at Foxx. These two are not partners who will cover each other’s backs, or bend a few police procedures.

And being bloated? In the love scenes Farrell is carefully blocked. The entire movie is so dark not because director Michael Mann chose to forego any pastel memories of the TV series but because his sex-god stars were fat.

I’m calling it the “Colonel Kurtz Syndrome.” Remember when Marlon Brando turned up obese for his role in APOCALYPSE NOW? What did Francis Ford Coppola do? He shot Brando in the dark, blacking out everything but his bald head.

Mann’s script is too weak to make comparisons to his thrilling HEAT. The entire HEAT cast was terrific and Mann was able to write definitive supporting characters that galvanized the storyline. In MIAMI VICE he has only two stars potentially as magnetic as De Niro and Pacino, but their dislike for each other cripples the movie, especially Farrell who delivers all his lines to Foxx while facing away from his co-star.

Undercover vice cops Sonny Crockett (Farrell) and Ricardo Tubbs (Foxx) are not players or partners. They are good cops who do not bend their allegiances to suit the circumstances. At least that is what I remembered about the TV series – the hazy ethics of Crockett and Tubbs. Somehow, here, personality-deficient Crockett and Tubbs stumble into a by-the-numbers gang of international drug traffickers headed by a Chinese-Cuban dragon-lady, Isabella (Gong Li). She’s a tough piece of work until she meets Crockett, who she believes is a highly paid drug courier. Sure, Crockett is good looking, but would this tough cookie bother with the help?

And then fall in love with him?

I figured Crockett would use her for some ruthless “undercover” cop work, but guess what? He falls for her for no good reason!

And finally, I always enjoy it when you see a director’s Achilles Heel right up there on the screen. Mann is again working out a psychological and traumatic theme, and it’s damn similar to the one we saw in HEAT, COLLATERAL and THIEF. Tough, solitary men become stupid for a woman, jeopardizing themselves in the process. The problem is it goes against their character makeup. At least in HEAT, De Niro’s character McCauley was aging, wanted out of the business, and needed a normal girlfriend.

Mann ignores his supporting cast, wasting the very interesting Naomie Harris,
Ciaran Hinds, Barry Shabaka Henley, Luis Tosar, and Justin Theroux (whose work is usually so good – he’s just background here).

What went wrong? Did Mann – who has such a great track record working with superstars De Niro, Pacino, and Tom Cruise – lose control? A huge budget, and the star turns up fat and will not go on a diet to please his director and audience? I call it “Celebrity Self-Loathing.”


Credits:
Director-screenwriter: Michael Mann
Based on the television series created by: Anthony Yerkovich
Producers: Michael Mann, Pieter Jan Brugge
Executive producer: Anthony Yerkovich
Director of photography: Dion Beebe
Production designer: Victor Kempster
Editors: William Goldenberg, Paul Rubell
Costume designers: Janty Yates, Michael Kaplan
Music: John Murphy

Cast:
Detective Ricardo Tubbs: Jamie Foxx
Detective Sonny Crockett: Colin Farrell
Isabella: Gong Li
Trudy: Naomie Harris
Fujima: Ciaran Hinds
Zito: Justin Theroux
Lieutenant Castillo: Barry Shabaka Henley
Montoya: Luis Tosar
Jose Yero: John OrtizGina: Elizabeth Rodriguez

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