Being a father, I have seen first hand that personality traits are passed down via genetic lines. My son does not live with me full time, yet he exhibits many of my personality traits. Being a movie goer, I have seen that there is a genetic predilection to alcohol abuse. This is the only rational explanation I can come up with for the stinko big screen version of Miami Vice. Michael Mann must have taken after Big Ed and drank like a fish through the whole production.
I have no personal vendetta towards Michael Mann, as a matter of public record I am fan of his projects. I forgave Mann for his meddling with Thomas Harris’s Red Dragon, because the finished product of Manhunter stood on its own two feet. Remember William Petersen’s airport scene? Petersen is gazing out a rain streaked window, talking to himself about catching the Tooth fairy. His face is half lit and half shrouded in darkness as he utters the phrase, “It’s just you and me now sport” captures the essence of the Will Graham character. Crime Story, The Keep, Heat, Last of the Mohicans, and Collateral are all stunning and memorable in their own rights.
It was with this in mind that I caught the preview of Miami Vice tonight. I expected a hard nosed update to the 80’s pastel TV series. What I saw was hard alright. Hard to view, hard to listen to, hard to follow. Mann shows very little in the way of character development and dialogue in the script. The few lines Collin Ferrell and Jamie Foxx get are trite and delivered like they were waiting on a paycheck in the mail. Oh, did I forget that in most scenes Foxx and Ferrell didn't seem to notice the other was in the room with the other? The two should have ordered Midnight Run on Netflix to see what a good buddy picture was all about before filming.
Visually, Mann tries to capture the sometimes grainy look of scenes in Heat. This is done to the extent that Mann uses the exact same camera angles for following Tubbs and Crocket’s Ferrari as he did in the Di Nero/Pacino chase sequence. The editing also leaves something to be desired. Either the guy in the projection booth mixed up the reels, or Mann was hoping the Ouija Board you brought to the theater would help you connect the plot line dots.
I beg you, if you’re thinking of seeing Miami Vice; send me just half the money you would have spent on tickets. At least you know it’s going to a good cause.