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Miami Vice Movie Review

'Generic Cop Movie' Would Be a More Appropriate Title

About.com Rating 1.5 Star Rating


Miami Vice Movie Review

Colin Farrell and Gong Li in Miami Vice.

© Universal Pictures
The names Crockett and Tubbs are about the only things that tie Miami Vice the movie to Miami Vice the television series. Very little action actually takes place in Miami, the general overall tone of the movie is completely different from the series, and the buddy chemistry that worked so well between TV stars Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas is totally missing. Anyone expecting a big screen version of the ‘80s TV series will be deeply disappointed. However that statement assumes there were actually people jonesing for a Miami Vice movie in the first place, which I highly doubt.

Miami Vice opens with Tubbs (Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx) and Crockett (Colin Farrell) trying to bring down some ultra-bad guy doing business at a wild Miami nightclub. When an informant they’ve worked with for years calls and asks they take care of his family, Tubbs and Crockett desert their current assignment in an effort to find out what’s got their informant so freaked out. The two stumble onto an ongoing operation involving multiple police agencies and, after a lame explanation as to why, are chosen to take the lead in busting a drug lord who’s been transporting boat loads of drugs into South Florida.

Jamie Foxx and Naomie Harris in Miami Vice.

© Universal Pictures
Miami Vice the movie takes itself way too seriously and is dialogue-driven when action would speak louder than words. Character development is one thing, but Miami Vice resorts to having the characters explain their motivations and what’s going to happen next, instead of just visually showing us what’s going on. Mann’s dark and gritty style and camera movements do work well for the most part, yet Mann wanders away from his signature approach to choreographing scenes when the film could benefit the most from his unique style.

The plot’s difficult to follow as characters pass in and out of the film without their allegiances ever having been firmly established. Complicating matters is dialogue that’s at times impossible to understand. Mann did a great job of selecting top-notch actors in supporting roles, however due to heavy accents their lines are sometimes incomprehensible. There are instances when it was so hard to make out what was being said that I had to make up my own exchanges, some of which had to have been better than the lines actually being delivered in the film.

Farrell and Foxx must have negotiated contracts that required their characters to be given equal time when it came to love scenes. One shower sex scene would have been fine, but with two big-name stars comes not one but two sexy shower sequences. Every romantic action of one main character required the same sort of scene featuring the other. Redundant to the point of silliness, this need to include romantic storylines also took away from the main reason most people want to see a Miami Vice movie in the first place: it’s big ticket action scenes. Those, unfortunately, are too few and far between to enliven the dreary experience of Miami Vice on the big screen.

A very forgettable effort by director Michael Mann and all involved, Miami Vice isn’t the explosive summer blockbuster it was hyped up to be. Instead, it’s a run of the mill cop movie that’s stylish but ultimately boring.


Miami Vice was directed by Michael Mann and is rated R for strong violence, language and some sexual content.

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