a short take by Tony McRae
Director Michael Mann created and produced the hit TV series “
Vice” in 1984. Twenty-two years
later he brings Detectives Crockett and Tubbs to the big screen, this time with
two mega stars, Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx, in the roles to the two hottest
detectives in a Miami that reeks of sin, sex and gunfire.
Unlike the TV show, there are no pastels here.
Crockett and Tubbs go undercover, and the dark blues and shades of black
and gray keep reminding us of the danger they constantly face.
The audience is taken for a ride into the underworld.
The transportation? Sleek
cars, cool jet planes, and high speed boats that can transport cocaine from any
Caribbean island to the U.S. in the time it takes you to smoke a Cuban cigar.
The story of double and triple crosses is convoluted and, frankly,
wacky—you have to take notes to figure out just what’s going on, but it
doesn’t really matter. We know who
the good guys and the bad guys are, and that’s all you really need.
What director Mann does is create a kind of neon blue Hades in which
everybody seems to be having a great time but in fact they’re all trying too
hard. No one seems to enjoy himself,
least of all Crockett and Tubbs.
Two of the picture’s strongest assets are the atmosphere and the
pacing of the action. Mann knows
when to end a scene, unlike so many of this summer’s blockbusters that go on
and on. Not that the movie isn’t
long. It lasts 130 minutes, but the
editing makes it go by faster.
The other plus of “
Vice” are the scenes between Crockett and Isabella, the drug lord’s
businesswoman. Chinese actress Gong
Li (Memoirs of a Geisha) can show hardness, allure, and particularly
vulnerability. She turns what can be
a predictable romance into a gripping subplot that threatens to take center
stage. I must confess that when Gong
Li is on screen the movie picks up. She
has that rare ability to have you care for a bad woman without it being maudlin.
Colin Farrell still hasn’t proved himself, at least to this viewer.
He’s had several big roles but he seems to play everyone with the same
grimace. Jamie Foxx is okay here,
but Detective Tubbs is second banana. Give
this actor a good role and he’s off and running.
Make no mistake, this is a summer movie. I
put it into the category of “guilty pleasure.”
I shouldn’t really like it but I do.
This movie is rated R for strong violence, language and some sexual