As flat as the procedural sting operation plot elements are, as dormant it's with tension and suspense, as seldom are the otherwise phenomenal action setpieces, and as much the romantic elements are like a James Bond-style disposable love story, Miami Vice is watchable for Mann's eloquent mise-en-scene and atmosphere. It's probably his worse film, but he has so many great ones, that's not saying it's even average.
Claims for its greatness are seriously exaggerated. The night shots look good, the day shots do not. Other directors have made far more interesting and genuinely artful films on a fraction of the cost. What does Mann have to tell us about the duality of undercover life? Pretty much nothing. Some great scenes on speedboats and in cars, but I still remain unconvinced.
Huh, this was not the neon extravagance I was lead to beleive but a radical explosion of post-story, post-character cinema. The agressively pared-back approach and staggering pacing morphs a generic genre script into a Malick-ian montage of modern, digital dread. The more I read about it, the more this seems accidental, but intention is only as important as plot, which is to say not at all.
Farrell looks freakin upset with something throughout the whole movie, maybe his character sucking, like any other. Foxx looks looser, but he ain't got much to work with. The scrip made it easy for me not to care about anything that was going on. Very pretty. Loud guns. Miami Bland
Top Ten countdown – #10 Digital is mood in Miami Vice; its movement, shadows, and colours are unique. This heavy hyper-real DV style, aptly reflects a narrative of gestures that constitutes the (under)world and characters we follow. A noise-heavy indigo sky, moving speedboats in the dark, silent tears at a club. A nightmare they're forced to inhabit, permeated by the tragic notion that in the end nothing has changed.
A perfect example of how a film's greatness is not necessarily in what, but how, it tells/shows. What a great balance of impossible love in the guise of a drug bust movie. What is so great is the restraint Mann has with the touchy-feely love story, which gives it all the more power. And awesome cinematography, combining realism and abstraction! (...and Gong Li's beauty makes me weak in the knees...)
Mann's aesthetic concern w/ how digital photography might reveal the material texture of light & darkness is here fused with an almost Wellesian mode of image-making & myth-making. MIAMI VICE is Mann at his most baroque: foregrounds are stressed, compositional depths explode. These characters are mythological titans, towering among cityscapes, glistening across seas, eyes full of quiet emotion, firm resolve, & life.
This movie spends a lot of time building up a bunch of interesting characters and relationships that it seems weirdly content to piss away in the final act. I have the same problem with this that I do with Heat, which is that for all the stylistic innovation and methodical pacing it still rests in lazy neo-noir cliches and is driven by ultimately unmemorable characters. Nice ride, lackluster destination.