Miami Vice (2006) - Unrated Director's Edition

Genre(s): Action / Adventure / Crime / Drama
Universal || Unrated - 140 minutes - $29.98 || December 5, 2006
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2006-12-09


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Michael Mann
Writer(s): Anthony Yerkovich (TV series), Michael Mann (written by)
Cast: Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx, Li Gong, Justin Theroux, Luis Tosar, Naomie Harris, John Ortiz, Ciaran Hinds


Theatrical Release Date: July 28, 2006


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Director's Commentary
  • Miami Vice Undercover
  • Miami & Beyond: Shooting on Location
  • Visualizing Miami Vice
  • Behind the Scenes Featurettes


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.40)
  • Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

IMAGE

Plot (from DVD back cover): When Detective Ricardo Tubbs (Foxx) and Sonny Crockett (Farrell) are asked to investigate the brutal murders of two federal agents, they find themselves pulled into the lethal world of drug traffickers.

In a moment, I will reproduce my original review of the theatrical version for Miami Vice, but now Iíll talk about this ďUnrated Directorís EditionĒ which, according to the runtime, is around 7-minutes longer.

First, the biggest difference in this version is the inclusion of an all-new opening featuring Crockett and Tubbs speed boat racing before setting up a prostitution sting at the club (where the film original begins). Personally, I actually liked the cold opening at the club because it goes from the Universal logo straight into the movie. No credits and, I donít think, even the movie title. That being said, thereís nothing wrong with this new one, just a personal choice on my part.

The other noticeable change comes toward the climax as Michael Mann places the ďIn the Air TonightĒ cover song over the scene rather than the end credits (where Mobyís ďOne of These MorningsĒ now plays).

Aside from those two parts, I canít be entirely sure if anything of significance was added (or taken out), so it is unlikely that whether you like the film or not, your opinion will change with this version. This is the way I feel since the film felt emotionally empty and still does this time around.

Original Review (Excerpt):
Miami Vice is a glossy film stacked with fast cars, beautiful women and a city thatís a character of its own... Unfortunately, just as the city lacks charisma or depth, neither do these characters. The story, albeit simple, didnít have much momentum or substance that even Collateral, warts and all, had. Outside a couple of lines from Foxx (that brought down the house in laughter -- on purpose), a climatic shootout and some stunning cinematography -- both are classic Michael Mann -- the film lacked any fun and thereby made Vice a movie I could not enjoy at all.

Part of the problem is Mann himself. Instead of co-writing with someone, he took on the script himself where another person couldíve added some fun and flavor. Also, it seemed to me that it shouldíve been Foxxís Tubbs as the lead character rather than Crockett. Even though comparatively Foxx didnít have as much screen time as Farrell (he disappears towards the middle, returns for the final act), I enjoyed watching that character more. Of course, itís not to say switching things wouldíve improved things, but Foxx as an actor has 100 times more charisma than Farrell.

Colin Farrell is a fine actor, but Hollywood keeps pushing him to be the next Tom Cruise or something when in fact heís merely a party animal posing as an A-lister. Thus far he has yet to prove that he is in fact a star since he has not opened a movie himself (S.W.A.T. starred Samuel L. Jackson), so I do wonder if that does factor into things.

Now, itís not all doom and gloom for Miami Vice as there were elements I loved, including the aforementioned cinematography from Dion Beebe, who worked as DP on Mannís Collateral and 2002ís Oscar winning film, Chicago. Beebe utilizes the digital video to its fullest and gives us a unique glimpse of Miami like weíve never seen before. Mann and Beebe donít completely remove the neon colors from the TV series as in one scene, a freeway underpass is lit up in a cool blue neon, providing a beautiful backdrop.

Sadly, weíll never see the full potential of the franchise Iím sure Universal hoped for as thereís a little room to grow, but only if Mann allows his creation to let loose and become at least semi-fun rather than the depressing beauty it turned out to be.

Whether a fan or not of the original series or of Michael Mann, what Miami Vice had in originality (itís not a buddy cop flick), it severely lacked in story and character depth. Dark and slick, Vice needed an extra boost to make anyone care about these characters and thereby the story as a whole.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Director Commentary - Even though Vice is a sub-par movie, Michael Mann never fails to impress me with this well versed opinions and experience as he talks about making films in his commentaries. Like on other tracks, Mann keeps things professional and on track by talking about filming on various locations or propping up the cast. Some may find him dry and uninteresting, but as a fan of his work (even with something like this), I find his commentaries fascinating. If there was one flaw it would be he doesnít really explain whatís different about this version versus the theatrical cut (which he says IS his directorís cut). Outside of the opening and that musical cue, I wouldíve liked him to talk about those differences and why certain scenes were added or taken out.

Miami Vice Undercover (12:19) - Featurette contains interviews with real former undercover agents explaining the business and how dangerous it is (not only safety, but going to the other side). The best part, though, was the trick these ex-agents played on Colin Farrell setting up a sting and making him think it was going bad.

Miami & Beyond: Shooting on Location (9:15) - This featurette shows how this movie cost so much. Writer/Director Mann shot a majority of Vice on locations like Miami (which isnít cheap), the Dominican Republic, Uruguay, Paraguay and (IRC), Brazil. This shows the amount of setup that went into filming on location and working with the locals so not to start up scuffles.

Visualizing Miami Vice (11:57) - As with Collateral, Mann used the digital camera to shoot Vice because it allows colors to pop more so than on standard film, plus it provides a vibe during the night scenes. For those interested in Mannís style, this is interesting, though only good for one-time viewing.

Behind the Scenes Featurettes (10:09) - I decided to combine the three mini-featurettes into this heading. Theyíre all obvious by the title and pretty self-explanatory: Gun Training (2:40) finds the main cast working with the Miami Police on their gun skills. Haitian Hotel Camera Blocking (2:49) shows Mann giving direction to his crew and to Farrell and Foxx on where to move and how the scene sets up (I do wonder why this was chosen over the gun shootout, however). Mojo Race (4:20) shows the making of a custom speedboat that can handle the camera equipment and a compartment below for technicians to work.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

IMAGE

Mannís crime-drama is presented in anamorphic widescreen, 2.40 OAR -- though modified slightly to fit new footage -- and while Mann might be impressed with his digital shooting, many scenes come off very grainy and really doesnít look all that good at home. On the theater screen, it might be fine, but on TV, it was obvious and took me out of the story some.

The sound was also lacking in terms of depth and volume. The new opening starts off with a good test of your sub-woofer but I found even some of the mechanical sounds (boats, gunfire, etc) didnít quite have the impact I was hoping for. The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is certainly serviceable so I canít be completely disappointed, but I did expect better.



.::OVERALL::.

Miami Viceís biggest issue was Michael Mann didnít seem to know what kind of movie he was making. Was this to be taken seriously and in the real world? If so, how does he explain Farrellís early 90s mullet? But beyond that, I couldnít really get a grasp on either main character, better said, I didnít really care about them. Vice does manage some of that cool factor of undercovers mixing in with the drug world but it doesnít go nearly far enough.

The DVD isnít in-depth with behind-the-scenes info, but you get an understanding on how it was made and some of the difficulties of making a movie like this. Best yet, Mann himself explains his own experience and the desire to bring Miami Vice to the big screen as he had originally intended.