Ricardo Tubbs is urbane and dead smart. He lives with Bronx-born Intel analyst Trudy, as they work undercover transporting drug loads into South Florida to identify a group responsible for three murders. Sonny Crockett [to the untrained eye, his presentation may seem unorthodox, but procedurally, he is sound] is charismatic and flirtatious until - while undercover working with the supplier of the South Florida group - he gets romantically entangled with Isabella, the Chinese-Cuban wife of an arms and drugs trafficker. The best undercover identity is oneself with the volume turned up and restraint unplugged. The intensity of the case pushes Crockett and Tubbs out onto the edge where identity and fabrication become blurred, where cop and player become one - especially for Crockett in his romance with Isabella and for Tubbs in the provocation of an assault on those he loves. Written by
The production drew the attention of Hollywood insiders and the Trade magazines when its budget spiraled out of control thanks to script rewrites and location changes. The controversy lead to Universal issuing a statement, defending the film and director Michael Mann. See more »
When Isabella and Jesus discuss what to do with Crockett and Tubbs, they speak in English. Yet, both Spanish speakers, it is unclear why they do not converse in their common native tongue. (However, it is possible they filmed it in English to make it easier on the audience instead of having to read subtitles.) See more »
Although there were no opening credits in the theatrical release, the Unrated Director's Cut contains credits over a new sequence that opens the film. Once the credits are done, the film begins in the nightclub scene that opened the theatrical version. See more »
Miami Vice is a cool, stylish, and quite frequently intense thriller.
The first thing you need to know when you see Miami Vice, is that it's hardly anything like the trailers. While the insanely cool trailer makes this out to be a big, loud, mindless, shoot em' up action movie filled with car chases, explosions, and damsels in distress, the movie is actually anything but. They had to advertise the movie this way if they wanted to make money, but the fact is, if you go into this expecting what it was advertised as, you will be bored to tears, and most certainly hate the movie. I myself found the movie unbearably boring the first time I watched it. However, after a second viewing that I forced upon myself in my unwilling to be disappointed by such a cool looking film, I felt completely different about it. I was thoroughly entertained. Miami Vice is a gritty, intense, and often brutal, no- nonsense suspense drama that rewards patience and attention.
The plot is fairly simple, but the realistic way it's executed makes it feel complicated. It follows Miami cops Sonny Crockett (Colin Farrell), and Ricardo Tubbs (Jamie Foxx), who are given a most difficult assignment. They are assigned to go undercover and infiltrate a major drug cartel, led by the ruthless Jose Yero, and find out who killed two undercover federal agents. Crockett and Tubbs, under fabricated identities, enter a world where their badges mean nothing, danger and violence is waiting around every corner, and if they show any signs of their real intentions, they will be killed on sight. It doesn't exactly help that Crockett falls in love with one of the cartel's most important members (Gong Li).
Miami Vice is a very intense film, which maintains a consistent tone of imminent danger. Although Crockett and Tubbs (or any characters in it for that matter) are never really developed, we fear for their lives when things get too far beyond their control. The knowledge of what would happen to them if their identities were to be uncovered keeps us on the edge of our seat from the moment they begin their assignment. Employing non-stop action, which many people complain about the lack of, wouldn't make sense in this movie, because it's about characters trying to avoid anything that could set it off. There is action in the film, and whenever it occurs, it is not glamorous, or stylish. It is gritty, and often disturbingly brutal. The characters aren't in control of it, they are just as confused and terrified as any normal person would be if they were caught in a chaotic shootout.
The action scenes, as gritty as they are, are still executed in a good enough way that they get your adrenaline flowing, and the climactic shootout includes one of the single best bad guy kills I've ever seen. The most suspenseful moment in the film comes from a hostage situation/standoff in a trailer park, where the tension becomes nearly unbearable. The scene culminates in one of the most bad-ass "cop movie" moments that I've seen in a while.
The cinematography and music in the film are excellent, and any fan of cinema has to appreciate it. There is little, if any artificial lighting in the film. There are beautiful shots of Miami, lit only by the lights of the city itself, and breathtaking scenes of planes in the air, soaring through the clouds. There are times when the movie almost comes to a complete halt, just to bask in the beauty of the imagery, and while many people find these scenes boring and unnecessary, I found them to be hypnotic, and I couldn't take my eyes off the screen. Personally, I found the numerous sex scenes more boring and distracting than these. And the music perfectly fits the tone of every scene it's used in. The opening nightclub sequence is a great example of both of these elements, one of the single coolest moments to a film I've ever seen.
As for the acting, it isn't easy to comment on, as the actors do very little of it. Most of the time, all their roles require is for them to talk in a serious, no-nonsense voice and never smile. Gong Li really needs to work on her English, and subtitles would come in handy for her scenes. Actually, I strongly recommend that you watch the whole film with subtitles, due to the fact that the way the characters talk quite often makes it difficult to understand the dialogue.
Miami Vice lacks character development, and substitutes atmosphere, and tense dialogue for mindless action. It never dumbs down it's story for the audience's sake, and plays exactly as it would in real life. If you're looking for a good police thriller that doesn't insult your intelligence, I strongly recommend Miami Vice to you. I love this stylish, underrated film, and give it a 9/10.
Miami Vice is rated R for strong violence, language, and some sexual content.