No one but Michael Mann knows why, exactly, he went back to his TV show Miami Vice to bring it to the big screen. If you're an optimist, you can think it was because Mann had something he wanted to say with the continued adventures of Miami undercover narcotics detectives Crockett and Tubbs; if you're a pessimist, you can think that Mann chose to act preemptively, before someone else glommed on to his brainchildren and revamped them. Whether it was a dream of hard-edged urban action or a nightmare of Sean William Scott's face grinning idiotically out from The Dukes of Hazzard poster is immaterial. Miami Vice the movie is here, and can be viewed in the context of no context for what it is: A nicely-made, well-shot popcorn crunching action flick with enough style and flash to hide how ultimately hollow it is.

And even with Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx stepping in to fill the (sockless) shoes of Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas from the NBC version of Miami Vice that ran from 1984 to 1989, the real star of the film is its director. Mann's returned to the same mix of digital and film to capture Miami Vice that he used in Collateral, and the results are apparent from the first scene. As Crockett (Farrell) and Tubbs (Foxx) nose through a crowded nightclub to tail a possible perp, the crowd isn't held at the phony-staged distance at which you'd have to keep the extras to make room for a bulky film camera; instead, it crushes up to the camera's point of view, sweaty and dancing and jostling by in pursuit of a drink, a possible partner or the next high.
categories Reviews, Cinematical