starring Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx, Gong Li, Naomie Harris, Ciaran Hinds, Justin Theroux, Barry
Shabaka Henley, Luis Tosar and John Ortiz
written and directed by Michael Mann
Like Poseidon, this is a re-make. It is a re-make of the television series created by Anthony Terkovich a quarter century ago that starred Don Johnson. I remember the TV show. Don Johnson made three-day beard growth popular, and at the time everybody thought I was imitating Don Johnson from Miami Vice, when in fact I was just being my naturally lazy self. (I didn’t take to regular shaving until I reached Teachers College in my mid-twenties.) It’s a pretty bad re-make, I think. How can a director take a police action story and turn it into more than two hours of boredom? Because that is how I felt - bored! I often had to fast forward the DVD looking for something better to watch.
Michael Mann has a reputation for shooting in exotic locations. Instead of creating exotic backdrops in a safeCaliforniastudio back lot he actually takes his entire crew and staff all over the globe. This film features places like Miami, Havana, Columbia, Paraguay, etc. There’s a lot of ugliness because Mann wants to show us where the crime is. It’s in beautiful high rise Miamicondos, in Columbian jungles, and in Bogotaslums. And what slums! The slummiest slums. The most dangerous neighborhoods where a Canadian white boy would be knifed, stripped, raped and dumped (in that order) any afternoon of the week.
Because detectives Crocket (Colin Farrell) and Tubbs (Jamie Foxx) are narcotics cops they travel throughout the narcotic producing/transporting hot spots of the Caribbean - places closely watched by the American FBI, DEA, and Coast Guard. Their mission is to infiltrate the bad guys and set them up for the big fall. We are treated to a lot of dark interiors and night time dark exteriors; many conspiratorial meetings in dark places (and some not so dark places); and lots of whispered conversations in dark hallways by gun-toting wiseguys. They go deep undercover to infiltrate a Columbian drug lord’s operation. It’s Serpico revisited! But you’d do better just to re-watchSerpico, because Al Pacino is a better actor than either Farrell or Foxx any day.