Miami Vice (2006)

(In theaters, July 2006) This is not Heat, but it sure looks a lot like Collateral. The grainy digital look is back, but what looked like a justifiable cinematographic choice in Michael Mann’s previous film now looks like a self-conscious affectation. For a while, it works mostly because the script doesn’t allow you one moment’s worth of respite: Miami Vice launches almost in mid-sentence, and the first act forces you to pay attention through bad audio, cryptic dialogue and a reassuring lack of hand-holding. But that initial interest soon peaks and fades as soon as a romance is hammered in place for no good reason except for the demands of the third act. At least Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx are tolerable as the leads: they don’t really take over the roles of Sonny and Crockett, but that’s in large part due to the fact that Miami Vice shares only a title, a premise and character names with its TV series namesake: The rest is all brand-new, and unfortunately it recalls fonder memories of the Bad Boys series more than anything else. (The shadow of Michael Bay is obvious during the gunfights: they’re not particularly coherent, but they’re very very loud.) But this being Michael Mann, even his misses are more interesting than other people’s successes. What’s more, the film is partially redeemed by its female performances: While most male viewers will focus on Gong Li’s appearances, Naomie Harris handles part of the film’s emotional appeal, while Elizabeth Rodriguez is blessed with the film’s best line of dialogue. Ultimately, the film’s sputtering rhythm only serves to build interest in the inevitable Director’s Cut DVD.

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