johnlink ranks MIAMI VICE (2006)

Just broke a streak of ten consecutive 20th century films with the 2006 movie MIAMI VICE. I almost watched something from the 90s just because I had a streak going and I have obsessive compulsive issues. But I’d been wanting to rewatch this movie for awhile, and so that impulse won out.


I watched MIAMI VICE (2006) on 8.26.14. It was my second viewing of the film and first since it was released in theaters eight years ago.

Micheal Mann is not synonymous with cheap heat. The Director of THE INSIDER (a top five all time movie for me), ALI, HEAT, and THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS, he doesn’t pick easy projects, rather he takes movies which allow him some in depth character work and a seeming minimum of 135 minute run time. When word of MIAMI VICE as a movie hit movie news a decade ago everyone rolled their eyes the way they would now if someone said that a KNIGHT RIDER reboot movie was being developed. Perhaps those years have passed, but we are no less weary of the cheap movie reboot of a television series.

Yet Mann’s presence gives this movie validity out of the gate. He is the guy behind HEAT. Surely he had something to bring. Surely he had something to say.

MIAMI VICE is not your typical reboot. There is no pandering or winking to the nostalgic crowd. Perhaps this would be more highly regarded if it had a generic title. Because, really, this is a good movie. We aren’t breaking any ground here in terms of the cop genre. This film mostly lacks humor and takes itself very seriously. Yet, despite those characters which usually denotes an eye-rolling experience, MIAMI VICE is eager and serious enough to become worthwhile.

There seems to be a point in many of Mann’s films wherein the audience member might find themselves saying “I could watch this movie and these characters for hours on end.” In MIAMI VICE that point comes around 75 minutes in, with a little over an hour to go. Things are getting heated and it seems like there possibly isn’t enough time to pull all the loose strings into a single fist. Yet, somehow, Mann does so in a way which is neither trite nor cheap.
The story has Sonny (Colin Farrell) and Rico (Jamie Foxx) going deep under cover to learn about a drug smuggling operation. There is absolutely nothing new about this operation. There is no earth-shattering idea which drives the plot. Instead, we get these likable characters in and amongst some shady characters (led by Justin Theroux and love interest Gong Li) who we want to learn more about. Interestingly, the smartest character in the movie might be Theroux’s middle-manager drug dealer who figures everything out long before everyone else. This is a movie which takes it’s big bad out of the picture on its own accord (perhaps setting up a sequel which never happened) and instead focuses on relationships and commitments. Those seeking an action only movie would be disappointed, but then this is a guy who took a heist movie like HEAT and turned it into a three hour character study. So there should not be any surprises there.

The filming of this is consistent with other Mann stuff. Big action scenes tend to have a good deal of camera movement and darkness in order to create chaos and confusion. Establishing shots contain a piece of the actor outside of the center of the frame, instead using the landscape in the background as the focus. All of this proves to create some nice visuals, even if you might find yourself wanting a little more control over the camera at times.

MIAMI VICE is a pretty darn good movie. It breaks no new ground and still manages to entertain by giving us equal doses of character, action, and intensity. The final battle works really well, even if you might forget the details not long after you see it.



BONUS: This soundtrack is really cool. Beyond covers of Phil Collins and rocking modern songs, this also contains several tracks from the uber-awesome Mogwai. If you want a bonus point from me, all you need to do is stick some Mogwai on your soundtrack.


FINAL SCORE: 7 out of 10

~ by johnlink00 on August 27, 2014.

4 Responses to “johnlink ranks MIAMI VICE (2006)”

  1. I get what Mann was trying to do here, but man, he could have done it at a quicker pace. Good review John.

  2. I guess you were referring to Jose Yero played by John Ortiz as the middle manager. I thought he was the most unique character in the story. This is one of my favorite films as well, so your review quite likely will give this film a replay on my DVD player.

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