A review of “Miami Vice” by Jeanne Aufmuth


Stars: *

Rating: R for extreme language and violence

Run Time: 2 hours, 12 minutes



I’ve seen the dailies now where’s the finished product? “Vice” is a grainy muddle of raw footage and incomprehensible narrative that leeches every bit of spirit from its kitschy 80s namesake.

Michael Mann should know better, having helmed the original TV series that made pastel tees, sockless loafers and even Don Johnson de rigueur. This “Vice” is a tougher nut, a dark pastiche of murky drug deals and menacing thugs sans the tongue-in-cheek humor and neon nights of television’s crayola-washed classic.

The plot as such is nothing but a string of shady busts featuring male protagonists Sonny Crockett (Colin Farrell) and Ricardo Tubbs (Jamie Foxx) gallivanting around Havana and Port-au-Prince investigating dirty cartels while looking hipper-than-thou in designer duds, sleek firearms and metrosexual glowers.

Tubbs is shacking up with fellow vice cop/intel analyst Trudy Joplin (Naomie Harris), the perfect pretext for gratuitous shower scene number one. Voluminous steam, filtered backsides, the whole nine yards. Crockett goes for broke by making a dangerous play for drug lord floozy Isabella (Gong Li), thus paving the way for gratuitous shower scene number two.

Mann opts for minimal to no lead-in, dropping into the action with nary a characterization or backstory to lead the way. Color me confused; an hour in I was still lost in a chaotic maze of artillery and crack.

I’m heavily inclined towards anything involving the mercurial Farrell – suffice it to say his performance will not make my highlight reel. Chemistry with Li is icy at best, playing nice for the cameras on nothing but the lingering fumes of star power.

Li is horribly miscast having graduated from the Chow Yun Fat School of Mangled English Dialogue and Melodramatic Rendering. Only Foxx offers up a faint whiff of credibility, lost in the jumbled script and grim atmosphere.

No style, no substance, no dice.