Creator/writer/director Michael Mann had a choice to make with regards to his2006 version of "Miami Vice." After all, he could have just as easily turned it into a comedy. Imagine a confused Crockett and Tubbs traveling through time and walking around present day Miami in their '80s get-ups. People would line the street to laugh at them. That's kind of how I felt at the prospect of sitting through this thing, that I was going to have an opportunity to laugh at something tragically pathetic.
But Mann, the man behind "Collateral" and "Heat," has chosen to turn "Miami Vice" into one of those omnipresent dark, stylish police dramas where sneers substitute for every emotion known to humankind. When James "Sonny" Crockett (Colin Farrell) and partner Ricardo Tubbs (Jamie Foxx) feel slighted, they sneer. If they see a hot woman they want, they sneer. Tell a funny joke about white sport coats and still, they sneer. Did I mention there was a lot of sneering?
And don't get me wrong, there's something at which to sneer. Crockett and Tubbs watch an FBI investigation go wrong and are recruited by Agent Fujima (Ciaran Hinds) to infiltrate a drug cartel and reveal an FBI snitch. Naturally, Crockett and Tubbs make it explicit that the entire operation will be done "their way," which means they are subject to virtually no oversight, can shoot and kill others at will, and specifically reserve the right to have sex with sexy drug cartel employees. This gives me an idea for the sequel: "Miami Vice 2: Gitmo."
Since Tubbs is already sleeping with fellow cop Trudy (Naomie Harris), he's unavailable for cartel nookie, leaving Crockett to boff the sexy Isabella (Gong Li). Does anybody else see bad things coming out of this? Isabella is also sleeping with, not to mention working for, Arcangel de Jesus Montoya (Luis Tosar), your typical cartel leader/paranoid control freak. Think seeing her dancing with Crockett will make him mad?
In the movies, if cops simply avoided having girlfriends, they would avoid trouble altogether because inevitably their girlfriends become bait. This is, in fact, the main question in "Miami Vice": to what lengths will cops go to maintain their romantic relationships while jeopardizing their professional ones and ultimately, which one is more important?
If you ask me, the "vice" in "Miami Vice" has less to do with the kind of crime the cops investigate than their own stupidity.
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