Gautaman Bhaskaran
an indian journalist
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Other Movies


Miami Vice: Cops with dash and daring

This title about sums up Michael Mann’s “Miami Vice” (released in India in October 2006), where Sonny Crockett (Colin Farrell) and Ricardo Tubbs (Jamie Foxx) are assigned by the FBI to break a powerful Latin American drug cartel. These two South Florida municipal employees are ideal for the job. They are neither as sedate and sound as Sherlock Holmes nor as suave and seductive as James Bond, and Tubbs and Crockett are pretty much the ordinary souls who can impersonate drug dealers and slip into a vicious ring of guns and girls.

Colin Farrell and Gong Li in Universal Pictures' Miami Vice
Colin Farrell and Gong Li
Mann uses every trick to seduce a viewer into sinking into the story: the city’s night skyline from the sheer height of a rooftop is heady as is the sun-kissed beaches and frothy waves that he often uses not just as a backdrop for his car chases and fast boat adventures but also to push his narrative.

Which very early in the film loses track and wanders into sex and passion. Tubbs lets the line between work and women blur when he has an affair with a co-worker (Noamie Harris), and Crockett pursues a dangerous game when he sleeps with a drug kingpin’s wife and business partner, Isabella ( Gong Li).

Touted as Gong Li’s entry into Hollywood, “Miami Vice” makes the best use of her beauty and quaint kind of innocence to turn the tale into one of tenderness and affection, and Mann contrasts these with the brutality and remorselessness of mafia life. Even here, he soft-powers to show, at least in one scene, the unrequited love of a gangster by filling his eyes with tears!

Brilliantly choreographed shots of passion between Isabella and Crockett – where mellow lighting sets the mood as it swings from initial suspicion to trust and care – punctuate the wild scenes of flying bullets, battered bodies and bloody mess. Mann’s characters dash from Paraguay to Haiti, from Colombia to Cuba, and even from titillating discos to divine looking tropical islands. He uses ravishing pictures as an excuse to enrich his plot, but in reality, to embellish his canvas.

“Miami Vice” is gripping all right, even enjoyable, if you do not mind the mush and the coincidental predictability of the events. In one of the final shots, Crockett, who has rescued Isabella from the treacherous world of drugs and death, tells her that a boat will pick her up and take her away to Cuba, where nobody can find her, “including me”. Isabella puts her arms around him, and draws him to her in an embrace. Well, they lived happily ever after, minus, I presume, the intoxication of living on the edge.


DIRECTED by Michael Mann; written by Mann, based on the television series created by Anthony Yerkovich; director of photography, Dion Beebe; edited by William Goldenberg and Paul Rubell; music by John Murphy; production designer,
Victor Kempster; produced by Mr. Mann and Pieter Jan Brugge; released by Universal Pictures. Running time: 133 minutes.

WITH: Jamie Foxx (Ricardo Tubbs), Colin Farrell (Sonny Crockett), Gong Li (Isabella), Naomie Harris (Trudy Joplin), Ciaran Hinds (Agent Fujima), Justin Theroux (Zito), Barry Shabaka Henley (Lt. Castillo), Luis Tosar (Montoya), John Ortiz (José Yero) and Elizabeth Rodriguez (Gina).


(Posted on this website on October 10 2006)