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Film / Miami Vice

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Let's take it to the limit one more time.

Miami Vice is a Darker and Edgier 2006 film adaptation of the television series Miami Vice starring Colin Farrell as James "Sonny" Crockett and Jamie Foxx as Ricardo "Rico" Tubbs.

In the film, Sonny and Rico are enlisted by the FBI to infiltrate a Colombian drug cartel after a botched undercover drug operation gets three Agents and a former Police informant killed. They decide to run transportation of cocaine into Miami for the cartel in order to get to the man running the Miami operation, Jose Yero (John Ortiz), and, later on, his boss, drug lord Arcangel de Jesus Montoya (Luis Tosar). Complications arise as they get deeper into their undercover identities and Sonny falls in love with Isabella (Gong Li), the accountant wife of Montoya.

The film also stars Ciarán Hinds as John Fujima, Justin Theroux as Larry Zito and Barry Shabaka Henley as Martin Castillo.

The film was released to mixed critical reviews, but was relatively successful at the box office and was Michael Mann's third most financially successful film, behind Heat and Collateral.

This film features examples of:

  • Adaptational Badass: Gina goes from being a sassy brunette in the TV show to a quietly lethal blonde in the movie.
  • As You Know: Done as a joke with Nicholas, the Mr. Exposition about how dangerous Jose Yero's group is. A joke Nicholas doesn't get.
    Nicholas: They are vertically integrated, they're...
    Tubbs: You mean they walk around with constant erections?
    Nicholas: No, they farm, process, produce, export...
    Tubbs: I know what it means.
  • Batman Gambit: In order to find out who's behind the neo-Nazis, Crockett and Tubbs rob from drug runners that had to be working with those Neo-Nazis to force the bad guys to contact them for work. Later on, they plant the stolen goods back with those drug runners to make an excuse that the cartel's got security issues and allow Crockett and Tubbs better access. All this so they can find out where the Mole is among the various agencies that were compromised at the start of the film.
  • Big Bad: Yero, who's leading most of the drug smuggling ring.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Most of the major bad guys are killed but the real drug lord escapes before the overseas DEA can arrest him. Crockett also has to let Isabella go into hiding, where he'll never see her again. But Rico's wife Trudy appears to be coming out of her coma (much to Rico's relief) just as Crockett arrives at the hospital to check up on them.
    • Also a No Ending, as the suddenness of it feels like the camera ran out of film.
  • Body Double: During Trudy and Rico's shower scene, Trudy's skin tone is significantly lighter whenever her face is not on camera.
  • Camera Abuse: There's gunk on the camera lens during the climatic shoot out.
  • Conspicuous Consumption: Crocker and Tubbs figure out that they are dealing with a top-dog drug dealer before they even see Montoya when they notice their cell phones are being jammed and they say it would take military/CIA-grade tech to do that (sure enough, Montoya's bodyguards have a huge SUV loaded with ELINT gear sweeping the nearby houses for surveillance during the meeting. Montoya himself arrives in a limo-converted SUV).
  • Damsel in Distress: Trudy and Isabella are separately abducted and used against the heroes.
  • Darker and Edgier: The movie trades the bright pastel shades that defined the TV series for dark, gritty and modern digital video.
  • Deadly Euphemism: The term "closing each other's eyes".
  • Driven to Suicide: When the informant finds out about his wife's death, he walks in front of an oncoming semitrailer.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Arcangel de Jesus Montoya, the real drug lord that Yero is working for.
  • In Medias Res: The theatrical cut has no opening credits and begins with Sonny and Rico in the middle of their sting on Neptune. The Unrated Director's Cut adds in an opening credits sequence that sets up the Neptune operation, among many other changes.
  • Karma Houdini: Neptune, the target of the sting at the beginning of the movie, gets away. The squad doesn't have anything on him and they can't pursue him immediately because of the informant leak.
    Trudy: But what about Neptune?
    Rico: It's Neptune's lucky night.
    • Also, Arcangel de Jesus Montoya.
    • And The Mole, AND Isabella, who, no matter how much Crockett may have loved her, was still an international drug trafficker. Except for killing some mid-level bad guys, the heroes didn't really accomplish very much in this movie.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Yero is initially suspected to be the head of the Colombian cartel that's behind the Miami-based neo-Nazis. Later on, we learn that man is actually drug lord Arcangel de Jesus Montoya.
  • Mr. Exposition: Nicolas fills this role, explaining how dangerous Jose Yero's cartel is to the good guys. Then he has to set up a meeting between the good guys and Yero.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: When the unit has to rescue Trudy from the neo-Nazis that kidnapped her, Gina corners one neo-Nazi using Trudy as a human shield. Gina proceeds to explain to the neo-Nazi how she can get one good shot that can sever the guy's spine in such a way to make sure he won't get his shot off in time and nails him with that one shot. This is a Shout-Out to the "Glades" episode of the series.
  • Misplaced Accent: Isabella (played by Chinese actress Gong Li) is supposed to be a second-generation Chinese-Cuban born and raised in Havana, yet speaks both English and Spanish in a very heavy Mandarin Chinese accent.
  • Porn Stache: What Colin Farrell wears for facial recognition instead of Don Johnson's Perma-Stubble. Unless there's a Trope for Fu Manchu mustaches...
  • Politically Incorrect Villains: It's not bad enough the cartel's Stateside underlings are murderers and drug dealers; they're Aryan Brotherhood murderers and drug dealers.
  • Product Placement: Very prominent in the movie. The actors drink Bacardi Mojitos, use Motorola phones and laptops, have a distinct Verizon logo on displays, and drive Donzi boats and a Ferrari F430.
  • Race Lift: Castillo is now black, possibly Dominican instead of whatever unspecified Latino nationality he'd been in the TV show.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • As with anything Michael Mann works on, attention is paid to realistic and skilled handling of firearms. It's notably one of the few movies to show the viewer exactly what a .50 BMG rifle can do to a human body... and the vehicle they're sitting in.
    • The production was also a case where Michael Mann's insistence on authenticity went a little too far, such as putting Colin Farrell through an actual police sting (that was later admitted to be staged to see if he would react realistically). Mann also insisted on filming in unsafe weather and in actual gang-ran areas, with one such occurrence leading to actual gunfire being exchanged on-set.
  • Shout-Out: The plot of the film shares some similarities with the TV episode "Smuggler's Blues":
    • Rico's line "We can close each others' eyes real fast, but then nobody's gonna make no money." is similar to the line he says in the TV series ("You and I are businessmen. We have business to look forward to which we will never see if we close each other's eyes.").
    • Sonny's line "Why is he donating to the good and the welfare?".
    • Both feature a subplot where Trudy is held hostage in a trailer rigged with explosives.
  • Title Card: Similarly to Collateral, there's one only at the very end before the credits in the theatrical cut.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: When the neo-Nazis target the undercover FBI agents at the beginning of the film they leave little bodily evidence behind...
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We never learn who The Mole is.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Crockett gets called on by Tubbs for focusing more on Isabella than on catching the bad guys.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Later on in the movie, Montoya tells Isabella that Sonny and Rico will be killed at the end of their next job.
  • You Said You Would Let Them Go: In the movie, neo-Nazi gangbangers kidnap the wife of an informant and force him to compromise an undercover FBI operation. When the police arrive at the informant's house, they find the wife already dead.