Miami Vice! Merely to say the name was to make pulses quicken and eyebrows raise all over mid-80's America: here was a TV series that could bridge the then-considerable gap between lowbrow action-adventure and highbrow art-house cinema, a sizzling expose of sin and fun under the sun with a wake-up call message to America, a show to make law enforcement, chastity and the recovery movement not only hip and acceptable, but sexy. Miami Vice! Debuting in the fall of 1984, and starring Don Johnson, a man brought back from the brink of death from drug and alcohol abuse by the intervention of his beyond-hip 12-stepping girlfriend (GTO's Patti D'Aubanville) and kept on the straight and narrow by wife Melanie Griffith, he played Sonny Crockett, a newly-divorced vice cop living under deep cover as a cocaine smuggler/dealer on a sailboat with a ticking, stoned alligator named Elvis. In a nearly unprecedented move, the majority of the cast was black and Hispanic, or at least "ethnic": the multiracial, New York-savvy Rico Tubbs (Philip Michael Thomas), his enigmatic boss (the respected stage actor Edward James Olmos), large-but-luscious softie Olivia Brown, and the wisecracking Saundra Santiago, and the director was none other than the edgy, sophisticated Michael Mann, known at the time for the icily sophisticated thrillers Thief and Manhunter.

As a fanfic writer at the time, I was tempted to come out with a Miami Vice Box, in the manner of J. G. Ballard : two dress-up dolls (with costumes), architectural photography of some interesting locales, a book of recipes, some models of cars, boats, furniture, etc., a tape of music, and lastly, almost as an afterthought, a storybook to tie them together. Everything was as austerely elegant as an essay in deconstruction, employing as many postmodern tropes as could be loaded into one show: music, from electronic art-rock to dance music to country-inflected ballads (both as background and standalone music videos within the story) and (some) Latin music, Italian and Japanese designers, Memphis furniture, nouvelle cuisine (both the 'classic' low-carb and the 'progressive' lite version), the emerging worlds of personal computing and video games. Every aspect of the show, from Don Johnson's personal toilette (he shaved with a sideburn trimmer to get an artful stubble) and the costumes of the principals (styled after Amani, among others, with some actual pieces used) to the cars and boats used to the wildly surreal locations were the subject of countless articles and hours of discussion on the air, at parties, and at watercoolers everywhere. As befit a Michael Mann production, everything was hard-edged and chilly-looking in either sun-drenched pastels or the deep black-leather hues of the rain-swept mean streets. Notable scenes and even entire shows were written around interesting camera techniques or technical tricks: I remember one interesting dialog where one actor was between a pair of children in the background playing ball so that the ball went "through" the man's neck, one where Crockett & Tubbs went the whole show without speaking to each other, and one that was nonstop Elvis Presley references. And the guest stars! You never knew who would show up next...Miguel Pinero, perhaps, but...Frank Zappa?...G. Gordon Liddy??...even ...Miles Davis(huh?). For some reason, I always seemed to want to be drinking (wine, or something appropriately sophisticated) or smoking pot when Miami Vice went on, though the Prohibitionist atmosphere of the program always made this problematical: it always seemed to be saying, liberate yourself from all false drugs, and you'll find a true vision and have be permanently high beyond all imagining. (Like I said, I was stoned.)

Except there never was one. The problem was, Don Johnson had the depth of center ice in Anaheim with no zamboni in sight. Aside from being a certified good ol' boy, and having a handful of semi-insignificant movies under his belt (plus one debatably good one) his major draw was his (often obviously mascara'ed and otherwise edited) pretty face and status as recovery-movement cover-boy Lazarus. (I seem to remember quite the basket on the fellow, as well...) The fact that he had exactly four facial expressions (determined and rugged, friendly and charming, seductive and...I forget the fourth...oh, yeah, surprised) tended to be forgotten as did the fact that he never quite seemed to be on-screen or off, really hip to what was going on around him. As the show wore on, it became obvious that the entire franchise was trading on the legend of the era not-quite-past, the hedonistic lassez-faire Seventies, negating it without being able to replace it with anything substantial. Outside of their jobs and cover stories, neither Crockett or Tubbs (or, for that matter, anyone else in the cast) had any "real" lives beyond a voyeuristic moral outrage at the world of surfaces and sensation that surrounded them: religion, old friends, family ties, even those of ethnicity and birthplace were routinely trivialized or turned into tools of the Enemy -- only a life spent in eternal, obsessive vigilance against human pleasure made any sense at all. In other words the show sold drugs, sex, and consumerism, decrying them all as false paths while pointing out no other direction save to insist on moving instantly beyond them. The show began to run out of steam three years later, and was cancelled after five seasons, an uneasy relic of the Age of Greed and Republicanism in a time of recession and growing political polarization.

Perhaps it's only fair that it promised far more than it delivered. Pretty much no show could have, considering the tenor of the time, and most of the shows that tried to follow in its in-your-face decadence and cinematic virtuosity (Max Headroom, Profit, and arguably the cartoon series, Jem) have been interesting experiments, but yanked before full fruition. Don Johnson went on to other projects, and allegedly back onto liquor and coke (to everyone's great relief), as did Melanie Griffith, who also divorced him, though recovery-movement-themed shows continued through the mid-90's. Olmos got his credibility back, as did Michael Mann. But TV has never quite been the same since. Wow.

Miami Vice: The Movie was based on an excellent television show of the mid-80s. The movie, completely ignoring everything that made the television show great, was released in the summer of 2006. It starred Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx. This movie will be a stain on both their resumes that may keep me from seeing another movie that either of them is in. Ever.

Do Not See This Movie

Before I talk about Miami Vice in any depth, I would like to point out a few of my feelings after seeing it, in hopes that you don't judge me too harshly. Or rush off to see it.

  1. This movie sucked.
  2. I would rather be kicked in the genitals by every single person involved in the making of this movie than have to see it again.
  3. Little known fact: Michael Mann hasn't seen this movie yet. He actually tried a new form of directing. It involved a monkey sitting in his chair and throwing feces at the actors. All of that footage has been cut out of the movie. Which is unfortunate. That movie would have been incredible.
  4. No, seriously. This movie sucked. A whole god damn lot. The first seven seconds of ANY other movie is millions of times better than Miami Vice.
  5. My language is horrible. This node contains swearing to a degree which 50 Cent is appalled by. I supposed this is a testament to "If you have something intelligent to say, you can say it without swearing".

Credits

Director: Michael Mann
Writer: Michael Mann
Producer: Michael Mann

Colin Farrell as James "Sonny" Crockett / Mr. Moustache
Jamie Foxx as Rico Tubbs / Black Dude
Gong Li as Isabella / Female Lead
Luis Tosar as Jesus Montoya / Mysterious Big Bad Guy
John Ortiz as Jose Yero / Original Bad Guy

Synopsis

**SPOILERS**

Do you hate your job? I do. I'm a starving student and my job is necessary for my survival. This is unfortunate, because I work at McDonalds. I bring this up only for background information so you realize I am a human being with real emotions and feelings. No, I am not a mindless jackass who hates things with no regard for content. In fact, I am even going to try to describe this movie's storyline without spite or malice. And yes, I made sure to put the word "try".

After one of my many shifts, I decided to catch a movie. The only thing really playing was Miami Vice. Well shit! Miami Vice? I loved that show. Don Johnson was a hero of my time. Latin lovers. Cocaine like crazy. BOATS! BOATS! So, I got into my car and pretended I was fast and furious. Didn't want to be late.

Too bad! I missed the previews. This movie is off to a shitty start. I love previews. I go to movies FOR the previews. Already in my bad books, Vice. Thanks for nothing! Strike One.

You know those cool James Bond movies with the sexy/sleak intros? They take like four minutes and are really artsy and stuff. Yeah? Well, too bad. Miami Vice took the "unconventional" route. That is to say, they didn't even tell you what the hell you were watching. Which was both confusing and annoying. I wasn't sure if I had the right theatre. Was this Miami Vice or a really fucked up movie about strippers in tight silver clothing? Eventually, some black dude beat up some big dude. Maybe I was watching Blade and that dude was actually a vampire. Hell yeah! Vampires!

God damnit, no! I'm watching a movie about some guy who gets a phone call from some other guy who is driving really fast and sweating. Does that sound like a really vague and useless description of the opening of the movie? Well, I had to piece it together later on. Because it certainly didn't make sense then

Maybe they're being really "unconventional" and are going to show us the title splash at the end... Naw. That's just weird.

At this point, we still don't know who any of these characters are. I do know that Colin Farrell has some admirable facial hair. Seriously. That dude? He can grow it. I wonder if he's always been that hairy or it came later in life. I hope it came later in life. I want to be able to have a moustache that allows me to pick chicks up. And yes, I mean literally pick them up. Because he is not suave at all. And the fact that women like him is because women don't make any sense.

Lots of other phone calls are made and then everyone shows up behind crazy sweating dude. Did I mention he was crazy before? I should have. He's running away from... Uh... Okay. No. They didn't explain that. Nevermind. But he's running. And for some reason, he told Mr. Moustache. And then suddenly we're looking at a completely different scene with a shady deal going on. Some people trying to buy guns/cocaine/women/feudal slaves from some other people. And then it all goes wrong! Holy shit!

The white guys are actually working for the FBI! Or the Russians are (In retrospect, I think they were Cubans. Not Russians. Fuck that. Another strike for confusing me). One of these groups was trying to set the others up. And then failed. And then just when you think they're all going to get off and go their separate ways, a ship with giant cannons sails in and starts blowing the fuck out of some dudes. Okay. So there was no ship. But there are snipers. With GIANT FUCKING RIFLES. Holy crap. Everything goes quiet for a minute and then the white dudes blow the fuck up. It's beautiful.

This would be a beautiful time to give us a splash screen telling us what movie we're watching...

Or not. Whatever.

Now it's time to pay close attention, because the shit gets confusing here. For some reason, black dude and Mr. Moustache have gotten in on some really secret operations. Because the FBI/CIA/NSA/Autobots have all got traitors in their midst. Or something. Again, I got really confused because Mr. Moustache got really hostile towards... some dude who we don't know. And this dude basically says, "Go find bad guys. Do whatever you want. I'm really unimportant, since they would have anyway." Because they're badass. You know this because they don't take shit from nobody. Including their boss. If I ever acted like that with my boss, she'd smack me across the head. I guess that's why they're cops and I'm not. At least... I think they're cops. Nobody has really explained that yet.

Oh hell yeah! Black dude and some hot girl are in the shower together. We're gunna see a sex scene!

...

They washed each other's backs.

What the FUCK?!

Okay. Now it's after the shower. Are they just really... really flirty friends or is there a relationship involved?

Ahh. They have sex. And she tells him to fall asleep inside her. I get it. Romantic.

Or not. Falling asleep with a semi-erect penis inside of you isn't fun, girlie. It's how condoms fall off and get lost in the deep chasm that is the vagina. Kids, don't try that at home. It's not cool. Unless they're having unprotected sex. In which case... Jamie Foxx, you should be ashamed of yourself.

STOP

Go get something to drink. I am. Vodka. Lots of it. Remembering the movie this hard is hurting my brain and I need that to stop. Lets play a game. Every time this movie sucks, I drink. Sound good? Awesome.

Alrighty. Time passes and we're back to black dude and Mr. Moustache. I think I need to stop calling Jamie Foxx a "black dude". Some might consider it racist. But since we're something like forty-five minutes into the film and I still don't know what the character's name is, the nickname stays.

They're undercover now. Again, they're badass and convince somebody who is apparently really freaking important that they're "good". By telling him that they won't tell him they're good. Normally, this kind of logic wouldn't fly with anyone. But they have a grenade and that allows them to win.

Oh look. The female lead. *poof*

Push comes to shove and we spend too much time NOT getting to the guy who is the big bad. And then we get to him eventually. Great. He basically says, "You'll never see me again." Awesome. Here, Mr. Moustache sees two of the same watch and gets all spooked. But that doesn't matter, because we have another fast forward.

Go team Vice. They do a successful job. And get another one. This time, it's the female lead who sends them out. If you're about to bet that Mr. Moustache is about to fuck her brains out, you'd be in the money. Say goodbye to black dude, because his screen time is next to zilch while the movie goes on a side-plot.

Sorry, did I say side-plot? What I meant was a fucking goose chase. Mr. Moustache asks the female lead out for drinks. Cleverness about to come in. She asks him his favourite drink. He says something along the lines of, "I'd love a Mai Tai." She responds with, "I know the perfect place."

Yeah? What if he said, "I'd love a Rimjob right now."? I bet you'd know the perfect place, you little minx.

So they're in a boat. And they go to Cuba. From Miami (maybe. This is speculation). Now, I don't really know any geography what-so-ever. But that's like the distance from New York city to Australia, isn't it? Won't they run out of gas along the way? (Okay, so volcanic informs me of something important here. Apparently, it's like 90 miles from Miami to Cuba. Whatever. I stand by my previous statement. That ocean looked fucking huge.)

Guess not. But seriously, this shit gets inane. I'm going to sum up this entire side-plot and move back to the last half hour of the movie.

He fucks her brains out.

We get back to the original bad guy who our duo had to convince way back in the first half of the movie. He really doesn't like Mr. Moustache and sets him the fuck up. How does he do it? He kidnaps black dude's lady. And puts a bomb on her. At this point, I cannot fucking wait. Nothing has been shot or exploded or been messed-the-fuck-up in too damn long.

The ploy works. Kinda. See, somehow Mr. Moustache found the trailer park where original bad guy's dudes are keeping the lady. After way too much build-up, we see Mr. Moustache choke a guy to death with his fucking machine-gun thing. I orgasmed. About damn time.

Bad guys die. One of them dies with HIS HEAD EXPLODING. But they offer no explanation as to why. His head just went "splody".

Here's the best part of the entire movie: Black dude leaves his wife in the building with the giant explosives to... go outside for a second. And then it blows up! AWESOME! She is sent flying. Maybe she's dead.

Guess not. Mr. Moustache steals a cop car. She goes to the hospital. With their cover blown, the duo resign to cut their losses.

OR NOT! Original bad guy phones Mr. Moustache. They want to exchange the cargo for money. Well, Mr. Moustache can't have this. OR CAN HE?! He makes them pay 12$ million dollars for 60$ million dollars of cocaine. That seems like one hell of a deal. The bad guys think so too. They take it.

It turns out to be a set-up. Who would have guessed. Everyone from the movie shows up except dude who said they'd never see again. Damn. He was right. Smart of him, too. Because everyone starts shooting. I would comment on this scene in some helpful manner, except I had NO clue what was going on. We saw people die a lot, but never really understood which side they were on. Maybe the director was making a statement on how when violence occurs, it doesn't really matter what side you're on, because everyone gets hurt from it in the end... Or maybe I'm drunk.

The female lead finds out that Mr. Moustache is a cop. Doesn't that mess up their relationship? She starts hitting him in the chest. And instead of stopping to explain or anything reasonable, what does he do? He pulls her to the ground and, at the same time, shoots a bunch of dudes. They all die. Holy shit.

Black dude comes out of nowhere. He shoots just about everybody. Including original bad guy. Because it's all his fault. Fucker.

The movie kind of dies off here. Lady doesn't die. But she does wake up from her chemically induced coma. On her back. Where her burns were. I'll bet that hurt a whole fucking lot. Thanks modern medicine, for totally being a bitch. Meanwhile, female lead disappears on a boat. Mr. Moustache doesn't chase her. Oh well. He was just using her anyway.

And we... fade to black.

And there's the title splash. "Miami Vice"... Jesus H. Christ!

Excalibre says re Miami Vice: This was funny, but it spoiled the entire plot, so I had to downvote on principle. Plus, the summary was a bit long, and it dragged.
Sontra says Fair enough.
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trembling says I was gonna downvote Miami Vice because I loved the movie but then I realised that your wu is ridiculously funny so I upvoted anyway. Of course,the next time you disagree with my opinion on movies I'll find you and...well....make you watch Miami Vice again.

You can blame TenMinJoe for this entire node. Thanks for all the help!
And Lord Brawl made me rethink things a bit. Thanks!

And I'm serious. DO NOT see this movie.

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