|Jamie Foxx||Ricardo Tubbs|
|Colin Farrell||Sonny Crockett|
|Justin Theroux||Det. Larry Zito|
|John Ortiz||Jos? Yero|
|Ciaran Hinds||Agent Fujima|
|Directed by||Michael Mann|
The bad news is I didn?t have any idea what was going on in this movie. The good news is it didn?t really seem to matter. It?s not really about what it?s about. It?s about what it is.
It?s about the look and the feel of it, the tough cold-eyed swagger of the cooler-than-cool cops, the dead-eyed scowls of the evil bad guys, the calculating, brainy self-control of the babes that is but a thin garment covering a smoldering sexiness, the toys, the guns, the exotic locations, the throbbing, pounding music, and the high-calorie, soul-satisfying deliciousness of the photography.
Michael Mann has brought his iconic ?80s TV cop drama, with its casual designer elegance and trend-setting stubble, to the big screen. Stepping in for Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas are Colin Farrell as Sonny Crockett and Jamie Foxx as Ricardo Tubbs. They look tough. Crockett?s hair hangs down to his shoulders, and he has a mustache that hasn?t quite grown in yet, and a steady four days worth of chin whiskers. Tubbs?s facial hair shows a bit more forethought, and is well-developed. The guys are pretty coolly dressed, but not all the time. There are two shower scenes, one for each vice squad hunk. Each is joined in the shower by the lady of his heart. These girls like their guys clean. The sex scenes are steamy, and they also have nice touches of individuality; they?re revealing not only of flesh, but of character.
There does seem to be a plot of sorts, and as you might expect, it involves drug smuggling and South American cartels. Crockett and Tubbs start off working the South Beach club scene, dealing with sex crimes and the Aryan Brotherhood. But pretty soon they have to go underground and pose as drug runners when an FBI sting operation goes bad and a lot of people get killed. Crockett and Tubbs don?t take any crap from the FBI and its shifty Agent Fujima (Irish actor Ciaran Hinds.). If they are going to take on this dirty and dangerous job, they are going to do it their way. In this they have the support of their boss, Miami Police Lt. Castillo (Barry Shabaka Henley, who looks like a black Alfred Hitchcock).
Crockett and Tubbs beard the drug lords in their den, posing as bad guys under the tense supervision of enough firepower to settle things in the Middle East. They are interrogated by the Big Cheese, a bespectacled slime named Jos? Yero (John Ortiz), and they out-bad him. A quiet voice from the side of the room cuts in, and it turns out to belong to a gorgeous pair of Chinese legs named Isabella (Gong Li) who is Yero?s superior. She in turn works under (in every sense of the phrase) the Biggest Cheese, or Formaggio di Tutti Formagii, Montoya (Luis Tosar.)
Crockett and Tubbs cover a lot of territory in their fabulous little planes and fabulous little cigarette boats. Miami really doesn?t figure in this in a big way, as the Vice Squad duo hopscotches to Colombia, Haiti, and Ciudad del Este, a lawless frontier town at the crossroads of Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina. The arsenals of weapons keep growing, and while there is plenty of violence scattered along the way, you know it is only a build-up to the sensuous orgy of violence that must come at the climax. You never quite know why, because it?s hard to keep up with the plot, especially with the hip cop talk and cartellian banter being spoken by an Irishman (Farrell) playing a Miami cop, another Irishman (Hinds) playing a Japanese FBI agent, a Chinese woman (Gong) playing a Colombian drug lord, and an English woman (Naomie Harris) playing another Miami cop who is Tubbs?s main squeeze.
Crockett?s romance develops with Isabella, as you know it has to when you first see those legs. ?Let me buy you a drink,? he says. ?What do you want to drink?? she asks. ?I?m a fiend for mohitos,? Crockett replies. She knows a great place for mohitos. Havana. Their romance is problematic, because she is after all a high echelon bad guy. As Tubbs points out to his buddy, ?She could be a white collar money manager. She could be true love. But she?s with them.?
Any student of classic film noir knows that if the hero falls for a bad girl, she has to die in the end. But that was then. This is now, and you can?t count on anything. He does try to talk her into going straight. No doubt he?s seen those old film noirs, and he knows the probabilities. ?Probability is like gravity,? he tells her. ?You can?t negotiate with gravity.?
Mann directs with a muscular, macho, in-your-face style. He?s made a bunch of classy action movies, from The Last of the Mohicans to Heat. He loves the close-up, and he uses it to good and revealing effect. He has a terrific eye for detail. His script probably has a lot of good lines if you can understand them. The hi-def digital cinematography by Dion Beebe (with whom Mann did the excellent Collateral) is superb. When Beebe follows a plane past a bank of clouds, you could watch it all day.
Finally, after all the speedboats and high-powered firearms and explosions and white supremacists and red herrings, it all comes down to boy and girl. You wonder why these people choose this line of work, and put themselves in these high-risk, death-courting situations, when at the end of the day, true love is the most important thing of all.
© Text 2006 Jonathan Richards - Filmfreak.be