An Illusion Review by Joan Ellis


                “Miami Vice” is a terrible movie.  The only surprise is why anyone bothers to go.  To be fair, let’s start with the redeeming feature that is not nearly enough to save the whole.  Director Michael Mann and his photographer Dion Beebe have created a visual extravaganza that literally puts a catch in your breath.  The fiercely vibrant colors of ocean and sky are a mobile canvass for all manner of fantastical boats and planes that play their games. 

The best of these is a twin tailed white pod of a plane (you haven’t seen white until you’ve seen this movie) that is as elegant against the clouds as the boats beneath it are against the waves.  “Where shall we go for a drink?” our hero asks our heroine; to Havana, of course, and in a noisy blink they have made the 90 mile passage.  Occasionally - too seldom - the director cuts the noise and lets all this beauty unfold in glorious silence.  That’s it for redemption.

Still, we must deal with characters and plot.  It took an hour of character sorting to figure out that Tubbs (Jamie Foxx) and Crockett (Colin Farrell) are working as independent contractors to the FBI on the good side of the drug trade between Latin America and Miami.  Tubbs loves Trudy (Naomie Harris) and Crockett falls for Isabella (the wonderfully mysterious Gong Li ).  These four are the focus of the action either creating, held hostage, wounded or recovering from it.  The action involves “loads” worth millions – dumping, buying, selling, recovering, destroying or losing them.  There is lots of talk about meth labs, trailer parks, deep V hulls, and skill sets (Believe me, Crockett and Tubbs have the skill sets to fly or drive anything ever invented.)

You will meet an ugly villain named Crazy Pig.  In fact the ugliness of people is a big problem here.  Most of the men wear sunglasses, headphones and long, greasy, unwashed hair.  Colin Farrell’s facial hair, for instance, is enough to drive you from the theater.  His thick mustache grows out of his nostrils until it frames his mouth and a nasty little tuft of hair under his lower lip – poor Gong Li.  Only Jamie Foxx is the sleek action hero the movie calls for, and watch for Gina (Elizabeth Rodgriguez), a blonde weapons expert who is a flawless professional.

The violence in this movie – torture, bullets so big they blow people against walls and puncture their heads and bodies with enormous holes - is unacceptable.  “I’ll put a round in the medulla at the base of your brain and your finger won’t even twitch.”  In a real world gone mad, hasn’t this kind of violence and dialogue lost whatever appeal it may once have had?  The only moral to this awful movie is that sex and dancing can get you in real trouble.  Surely that old fashioned thought could have been the core of something better than this. 


Copyright (c) Illusion

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