Miami Vice (2006)

Miami Vice (2006)

2006 R 134 Minutes

Action | Adventure | Crime | Thriller

Miami Vice is a feature film based on the 1980's action drama TV series. The film tells the story of vice detectives Crockett and Tubbs and how their personal and professional lives are dangerously...

Overall Rating

7 / 10
Verdict: Good

User Review

  • WHAT I LIKED: What usually makes Michael Mann such a great director is that he lets his camera do the talking; lingering on melancholy characters struggling with conflicted obsessions so that you can slowly unpick and empathise with their thoughts and motives.

    In some ways, that's true of his 'Miami Vice,' adaptation in which two detectives Ricardo (Jamie Foxx) and Sonny (Colin Farrell) infiltrate a drug trafficking gang. The pair obsessively head deeper and deeper, getting intelligence, doing dangerous drug runs and forming romantic relationships, and scene to scene you're never quite sure whether they're going to be uncovered or how their mission is truly affecting them because they rarely spell out their true feelings.

    That at the very least makes for a brilliantly tense atmosphere; a fact emphasised of course by Mann's usual suspenseful music, high-contrast cinematography, stark lighting and long edits, and at times that will have you on the edge of your seat as they're forced into increasingly difficult scenarios.

    WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: The trouble is though, whilst the camera spends a lot of time clung to these guys' faces, there's never an awful lot revealed behind the eyes. Unlike in, say, 'Heat,' or 'Collateral,' where we're constantly working out people's motives and commitments, here that never really works - not only because Ricardo and Sonny get no backstory, but because the plot ultimately does little for them as characters beyond constantly stressing them out.

    In other words, their feelings are barely explored let alone spelt out, and that distance from the characters means the only engaging thing left beyond the surface-level atmosphere is the plot. That's a shame, because it's basically just a series of deals that keep going until the pair decide to let the FBI make a move, so it lacks a central question or drive toward a tangible goal.

    VERDICT: 'Miami Vice,' once again sees Mann skillfully build atmosphere by examining a bunch of stressed-out characters. It's just that this time there's little to reveal behind their eyes.