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'Miami Vice' Disappoints

Making a movie out of "Miami Vice" was a good idea ... but director Michael Mann's film version of the iconic '80s TV show leaves a lot to be desired.

The movie jumps from scene to scene without much in the way of transitions, and it seems like Mann's mission was simple: Put Academy Award-winner Jamie Foxx and pretty boy/tough guy actor Colin Farrell in as many cool poses as possible.

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Whether they're in gunfights, flying airplanes, manning "fast boats" to Havana, driving Ferraris, wearing Armani suits or taking it all off in bed with beautiful women, these guys look cool doing it.

They are also aided by sweeping cinematography by Dion Beebe which captures Miami's cityscape and the beautiful Atlantic coastline, and by daredevil driving, shooting, flying and boating worthy of a long overdue Oscar category just for stunts.

After a while, I began to wonder if these guys were human detectives or superheros. I kept waiting for Farrell to don a cape and exclaim, "I'm Incredi-Boy!" and for Foxx to scream, "Honey, where's my Super Suit?"

And just where two Miami detectives get the money for such lavish lifestyles — Crocket drives a Ferrari — is anyone's guess.

But this is "Miami Vice," after all.

The good thing about "Miami Vice" is that while neither Foxx as Detective Rico Tubbs nor Colin Farrell as Detective Sonny Crocket has much to do concerning dialogue or too much heavy lifting in the area of acting, they are both thoroughly watchable in the film.

Both actors do a good job of recreating the characters made famous by Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas on television, avoiding anything cheesy like so many other TV shows turned movies ("Dukes of Hazzard," for instance).

But as my FOXNews.com colleague Roger Friedman noted in his 411 column earlier this week, Mann did his best to distance this film from the television series he created, even omitting composer Jan Hammer's Grammy award-winning theme song.

Then why even call it "Miami Vice?"

It's hard to imagine the famous partners taking on the bad guys without those signature bongo drums and the bikinis that came with them.

"Miami Vice" sees Crockett and Tubbs going deep undercover to infiltrate an international drug-running ring, taking them to Haiti, Cuba and Colombia.

Tubbs flies airplanes in and out of secret, exotic locales, and Crockett is an expert speedboat racer and race car driver.

Along the way, Tubbs' girlfriend, British actress Naomie Harris ("Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest") gets kidnapped by members of the Aryan Nation gang, and Sonny falls for drug-ring mastermind Arcángel de Jesús Montoya's (Luis Tosar) right-hand girl, played by Chinese actress Gong Li ("Memoirs of a Geisha").

While the action is good, the plot is hard to follow (and audio problems at the press screening didn't help).

That said, this movie has more emphasis on visuals than sound anyway — unless you're counting machine guns and the roar of "fast boat" engines.

Like Mann's 1994 movie "Heat," starring Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, "Miami Vice" culminates in a gunfight where thousands of rounds are shot off, pitting the good guys against the bad guys in a fight to the finish.

Mann is an excellent storyteller, having written and directed "The Insider," starring Al Pacino and Russell Crowe, and "Last of the Mohicans," starring Daniel Day-Lewis — both critically acclaimed and award-nominated films.

His previous film, "Collateral," starring Foxx and Tom Cruise, was nominated for two Academy Awards, and no one can forget that it was Mann who brought the evil Hannibal Lecter to the big screen with the 1986 film "Manhunter," starring "CSI" star William Petersen.

But with "Miami Vice," it appears Mann is too close to his iconic subjects, and the movie is a classic case of letting the wrong scenes play out too long and cutting the wrong scenes for time.

Wait for the DVD. Put up your collar, throw on the baby-blue blazer, mix up a mojito and turn on the surround sound in your favorite TV room.

That's probably the best way to enjoy "Miami Vice."

Variety review

Hollywood Reporter review

Associated Press review

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