Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

Are you serious?

I like some of Michael Mann's films (Manhunter, The Insider, haven't seen Ali, but it sounds good), but on the whole, I consider his body of work to be overrated. Heat, for example, is way too long and not as interesting as it should have been, it's popularity riding mostly on the identity of its stars (whose work was rather pedestrian for them). Collateral was an interesting concept (with a great performance by Jamie Foxx), but it got bogged down in murky plotting and some silly characterization towards the end. However, as a child of the Eighties, I couldn't help but be extremely curious about him revisiting Miami Vice.

Funny. They don't look Jewish...

The movie is a complete mess. None of the characters build up any investment over the course of the film. This would be fine if the movie was a police procedural; the sequences concentrating on the vice squad doing police work are the film's best. Unfortunately, the film constantly digresses into Zalman King style love scenes that are not only boring, but distracting from the film. Since the human dimension in the film is so shallow, there is nothing to keep one's attention, and so these sequences last an interminably long time. Note the use of obvious body doubles in one completely unnecessary shower scene.

While the original series had Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas as focal points, it also developed its secondary characters as well. I recall one of my favorite episodes being about Gina and Trudy. None of the other characters have the opportunity to make any sort of impression in the feature. All of this despite the rather lengthy running time. The movie could have used smarter casting in the secondary roles (apparently Edward James Olmos was offered the opportunity to reprise his role as Martin Castillo but turned it down; that's fine because he is off doing bigger and better things on Battlestar Galactica).

But the real problem here is Mann. Yes, the film looks nice, digitally shot by Dion Beebe, a 'scope aspect ratio adaptation of the original slick neon imagery from the television show, updated to the current era. However, the use of handheld cameras seems to scream "this is edgy, goddamnit!!!" rather than actually making the film any edgier. The pacing of the film is completely off. The movie leaps forward too quickly, then gets bogged down with material that is a real snooze. The vehicle fetishizing comes across as being aimed at ten year olds (this was one of the elements of the original series that left me cold; the movie does little to improve on this, replacing Crockett's Ferrari Testarossa ["testosterone," according to Sheena Easton] with a F430 Spider, but never explains how an honest cop comes across a car like that, which at least the series did).

Jan Hammer reportedly left the film because he was asked to do something different from the original material he produced for the series, but I don't know if I believe that, as John Murphy's drab score is like a watered down version of Hammer's work. At least Hammer's music was relevant to the pop idiom of the era it was produced in. The songs are pretty hit or miss, mostly miss - which is a big step down from the series, which tended to use the songs in an intelligent and appropriate manner, making the stories more accessible. Victor Kempster's production design isn't as interesting as you would expect it to be for a film that is meant to be this flashy, although there are a few locations here and there that are breathtaking.

Distance is not something to be feared in a film of this type, but when the movie tries to pull the heartstrings in its last act, it fails miserably to even get a thread. If there was any chemistry between Colin Farrell and Gong Li (or Li Gong or whatever), it sure as hell ain't up there on the screen, and the movie never manages to redeem her character to the extent that the finale of the film rings true. Farrell is doing a Don Johnson, and he's not so bad at it, but it would have been nice if he, like Foxx, had done his own thing. Foxx is, predictably, excellent, but he really doesn't have much to work with. It would have been nice if the roles had been switched, and Foxx was the one with the love interest, as I feel he would have carried these sequences better. Crockett, in the original series, was the one who was married anyway (to the aforementioned Ms. Easton).

To be frank, I spent half the film bored and the other half waiting for the movie to kick in gear. It never really does, and while Mann makes an attempt to have the plot be dense, it is really just clunky. I have absolutely no idea why this disaster is getting such good reviews. I wouldn't recommend it.
Tags: cinema, reviews
  • Post a new comment


    Comments allowed for friends only

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded