Miami Vice (2006)
July 17, 2019 8:02 AM - Subscribe

Miami Vice is a feature film based on the 1980s action drama TV series, telling the story of vice detectives Crockett and Tubbs and how their personal and professional lives are dangerously getting mixed. Micheal Man's remake of his own TV series from the 80s, updated for the 2000s with Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell to a mixed response from critics and audiences but has been growing in stature since.
posted by octothorpe (16 comments total)
This is one of the very very few movies I have walked out of the theater. I went to see it with some friends, and at some point after 15 minutes we found it so loud and incoherent we all just looked at each other and left to get dinner.
posted by Omon Ra at 10:50 AM on July 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

I am with the haters on this one - Miami Vice suuuuucks. Terrible dialog, scenes that just devolve into the leads standing around trying to look cool, haircuts that should be illegal, poor choices all around.

Of course, one could argue that the film is an excellent adaption of the equally terrible TV show. Has anyone actually tried to watch that in the last 10 years? It has not held up well.
posted by AndrewStephens at 11:12 AM on July 17, 2019 [2 favorites]

When I was on maternity leave in 2015, I had a weird obsession with watching a block of Miami Vice reruns that aired on...El Rey channel? I found Don Johnson super hot and the show surprisingly compelling. Plus it's as good as early Law and Order episodes for being the first role for actors who are famous now and it's fun to pick them out. But that might have been hormonal because after a couple of months I got sick of it and deleted all the episodes off the DVR. (However, the episode "Bushido" remains EXCELLENT and the opening scene is just ::mwuah:: Perfection.)

ANYWAY, the movie was running on some cable channel and I like the show, I like Michael Mann, I like Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx and Naomie Harris. Like, how bad could it be? I thought Farrell as Crockett was especially good casting.

BAD. IT'S BAD. I'm not even sure WHY it's bad but it's almost unwatchable. It's BORING. I can't tell you a single thing about the plot except that I could barely pay attention. I expected the music to be exceptional and it wasn't. The performances are pretty flat. It's just pointedly Not Good. I definitely didn't see what the author of that Uproxx piece saw.
posted by Aquifer at 12:14 PM on July 17, 2019 [4 favorites]

I really enjoyed this movie in the theatrical version, but the director's cut what not as good somehow. Did you all watch the director's cut by accident?
posted by paper chromatographologist at 5:49 AM on July 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

Some months back, when I had the house to myself - which is the perfect time for me to indulge my taste for action films, even (especially?) bad action films - I put this on. I got through 20 minutes before quitting. The visuals were interesting, but it was so incoherent and nonsensical that it wasn't fun; the characters are not interesting or compelling; and while lots of things seemed to either blow up or get shot at, none of it mattered because nothing seemed important to anyone.

That said, I'm sure there are people who really enjoy this film, and power to them! Lord knows there's enough crappy films out there that I love for reasons.
posted by nubs at 7:54 AM on July 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'm sure there are people who really enjoy this film

I did! Pretty much for the reasons set out in the article - I am a sucker for gloomy atmosphere, visual sensation and large moods. The plot and dialogue are incoherent, sure, but also basically irrelevant - they are recognisably Something To Do With Crime, which is sufficient for the film's purposes.

In other words, it's the Solaris of police procedurals (don't @ me).
posted by inire at 10:28 AM on July 18, 2019 [6 favorites]

a mixed response from critics and audiences but has been growing in stature since.

The reasons for this are, in part, that most people don't give a damn about Miami Vice if they remember it or even knew it existed at all, while those who stan for Mann get to have the field and "redefine" the movie as an important part of the oeuvre of someone they hold as a auteur, or a "vulgar auteur" as some have tried to offer as yet another way to categorize "greatness" that doesn't require much in the way of intellectual content, just feel and look in the service of degraded formula storylines.

The arguments for Mann, and some of the other directors often lumped in with him like Paul WS Anderson, Tony Scott, Michael Bay, and Zach Snyder, is, as the linked article suggests, that their movies have unique and "meaningful" visuals that in themselves are artistically important in how they capture the worlds of the films and the basic concepts being dealt with in the stories. What happens is less important than how it looks happening, in a sense.

This references earlier ideas of auteurism, which were also often claimed for directors working in disreputable genre films in the Hollywood system, and has some reasonable claims towards that same end of there being directors who are doing more than is immediately apparent from just following plot lines, but there are as many problems with the reclamation of auteurism in this form both in what it ignores in terms of events and character that can be seriously troubling and in how Hollywood productions and awareness of film history has changed the dynamic of what being an "auteur" might mean. A director having a singular visual style or vision is no longer something worth celebrating in itself, since that's both common and commonly noted among directors who grew up with film school histories of movie making.

That isn't to say Mann or some of the others aren't talented and may have made some good films, arguments can be made for a number of them, but that the estimation of all Mann's movies are improving, to whatever extent, simply because the only people who care much really care while those who didn't find much merit in the movies aren't as likely to bother revisiting the issue, leaving the continued evaluations to the fans. That's how things often work in the arts, the one's who cling to an artist the longest and strongest get to define the legacy of the works as they outlast the opposition.

I should rewatch Miami Vice now since I even own a copy of it I picked up from a yard sale, but after the rampant idiocy of blackhat I haven't been able to muster much enthusiasm for the idea so far.
posted by gusottertrout at 10:46 AM on July 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

This film is a good example of how difficult it can be to make a good one, despite the talent involved.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:34 AM on July 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'm with inire. I really like this movie, and I'd never really equated it to Solaris, but yeah....

More about moods and visuals and music and less about dialogue. And I don't mind that at all.
posted by biscotti at 4:19 PM on July 18, 2019

So I watched this for the first time this week after ignoring it for years even though I'm a pretty big Micheal Mann fan but wanted to see it after listening to the recent Blank Check podcast covering it in the latest episode of their "Mann-splaining" series.

I kind of agree with a lot of the negative comments that some of you have made above but I also still loved it in spite of all those reasons or maybe because of them? The harsh early digital cinematography got a lot of criticism and I feel like that if I'd seen it in 2006, I might have complained too but now it just makes it so of its time. Those super-grainy night shots where he's pushing the iso of those digital sensors way beyond how they should have been used have this grimy, glitchy aura to them that I love.

I got past the unintelligible dialog by turning on the sub-titles, basically watching it as if it were a foreign language film and not straining to hear the words. The plot isn't really that hard to follow but also isn't really all that important; I enjoyed just watching the visual compositions and editing and the mostly affectless acting. I swear that Barry Shabaka Henley was the only actor to have any kind of facial expression in this. The editing almost seems like there are lots of scenes missing where they explain what's going on or at least show them preparing to do things before they do them but I like just being dragged along for the ride without quite knowing what's happening at any given moment or why.

I think I mostly love it because it just seems so audacious for a major director to remake his own beloved TV show and then not give it a single audience pleasing callback to the original. I mean other than the names and the general premise, there's no Miami Vice in this at all. Not single cameo from Don Jonson, no flamingos, no pastel suits, none of that. The closest it comes to even acknowledging the earlier property is the cover of In The Air Tonight over the closing credits.

Also how can you not like dialog like this?
Det. Ricardo Tubbs: Let's take it to the limit one more time.
posted by octothorpe at 5:22 PM on July 18, 2019 [2 favorites]

Awful. I stuck around for the shootout, hoping it would recapture some of the magic of Heat, but, spoiler, it didn't.

The film is visually quite nice, I suppose.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:34 PM on July 18, 2019

...but after the rampant idiocy of blackhat...

lol oh yeah. What even was that film?
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:35 PM on July 18, 2019

I’m definitely on board with the feel and look of the film being the reason for watching it, well past any attempt at story or coherence. I like it a lot, based on the visual feel of the film. It’s just entrancing to look at, and probably an amazing example of luck. Without the massive storms that threatened filming, and the choice to run with it, and capture the incredibly menacing clouds approaching, I doubt it would be anywhere as interesting to watch, and it would have been utterly forgotten by now.
posted by Ghidorah at 10:43 PM on July 20, 2019

movies have unique and "meaningful" visuals that in themselves are artistically important in how they capture the worlds of the films and the basic concepts being dealt with in the stories. What happens is less important than how it looks happening, in a sense.

I can't help but suspect that this is basically what they teach in film school, which is why there are a lot of movies that look fantastic but don't make much sense in plot or characterization.

(I've certainly thought that Mann has always had a tendency towards this, which is why I actually kind of like this film - I wasn't surprised when the flick turned out to be more about the moody visuals than about tight plotting and great action.)
posted by soundguy99 at 7:09 PM on July 22, 2019

It sounds like this is in the same vein as Charlie's Angels Full Throttle?
posted by rhizome at 6:45 PM on July 31, 2019

No it's very moody and dark. Lots of clouds and grey skies and grey seas and long shots of nobody doing much.

It's like the exact visual opposite of the TV show, which is kind of interesting.
posted by soundguy99 at 8:06 PM on July 31, 2019

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