• Michael Mann updates the 1980s TV series but without the showy colors.
  • This is a crime story- a film focused really on one case (outside of the in medias res opening to show you how this team works).
  • Opens on Jay-Z’s collaboration with Linkin Park (this needle drop 100% works)—but Mann seems destined to struggle here with music in his work post-Heat. It is not that all of the music he uses is terrible in the vacuum—it is just inconsistent. In one eight-minute stretch he goes from like jazz to Cuban to rock music (lots of Audioslave here). Mann is trying to curate the individual scenes instead of the whole work—and he ends up chasing his own tail.

A phenomenal composition just 40 seconds in with Jamie Foxx in the foreground right and Colin Farrell in the background center.

Miami Vice is unapologetically auteur cinema. It is an unsmiling two-hander. It has seat shaking audio (especially when the bullets are flying), crisp suits, the meeting of good and evil, people at that are the top of their profession. It is also shot on digital (back in 2006 when that was rare). It is worth noting here that this is one of the hallmarks of Mann’s legacy—but all of his most beautiful works were shot on film.

  • Third collaboration between Mann and Jamie Foxx (Ali, Collateral) – same for supporting player Barry Shabaka Henley in those same three films.
  • Airplanes, cars, boats, vistas (shot in Uruguay and the Dominican), skylines, sex

Foreground and background dedication showcased in the meeting with Jose Yero (John Ortiz) right in front of a mural.

  • The filmmaking is first rate—but Mann’s skills as a screenwriter betray him from time to time here. There are scenes that are just plain rough– Farrell, with his long hair, growling “I’m a fiend for mojitos” between tough talk and hard stares at criminals.

There is a very strong strong close-up of Foxx late in the film (at the 95-minute mark)—but this is not Demme or Barry Jenkins (who comes later of course)—this is that wavy pixelated digital close-up– very different.

  • The climactic shootout at the container shipyard is the bank shootout in Heat– a loud, ballsy set-piece.
  • Recommend / Highly Recommend border