Miami Vice

My friend John hosted a Halloween party the other night, and at some point when the two of us were talking Colin Farrell's name came up. "Ugh, I hate that guy," John said.

We kept talking about movies, and a little bit later Jamie Foxx's name came up. "That guy is the worst!" John said.

"I bet you didn't love Miami Vice then," I said, "because that starred both Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx,"

"I will never see that movie," John replied. I didn't want to tell him that I had just gotten the DVD from Netflix, and that I was looking forward to seeing it.

John, I just want to say one time for the record: you are a smarter man than I am.

Miami Vice is about two cocky city cops who have to go undercover in an international drug ring. It's a movie that's too smart to be dumb and too dumb to be smart. Every time a drug deal is set up we hear a lot of details - what kind of transportation is going to be used, what coordinates the shipment is going to, who is getting what percentage of profit from every drop. If this movie was trying to realistically portray the drug trade, that attention to detail would really ground the story. But this isn't that sort of movie. This is the sort of movie where the hero meets the drug lord's wife, they go dancing once, and immediately afterwards he's willing to risk his life and his career for her because he loves her that much. If you're going to put that kind of garbage into your plot, then you should know that every minute you spend haggling about made up numbers is a minute you should have spent on car chases.

As far as the lead actors go - well, I have no complaints about Jamie Foxx's performance. He doesn't particularly distinguish himself, but there's nothing too embarrassing, either. But Colin Farrell... Holy shit. I don't know who told him to grow a mullet and a shitty goatee for this movie, but they were wrong. Like "the Earth is flat" wrong. He looked less like a bad-ass cop and more like a deadbeat dad. And not just any kind of deadbeat dad - he looks like the kind of deadbeat dad who would show up on your birthday with a nice present and you'd be like "this present is not sufficient compensation for having to look at your gross bloated face. Trade this watch in for a haircut, jack-ass."

Even worse, he delivers all of his lines in a Christian Bale as Batman rasp, but for no reason and with no credibility. The amount of strutting he does in this movie is inversely proportional to how cool he's actually being: the more he tries to be manly, the douchier he seems. I kind of like Colin Farrell, but this is the sort of misguided trainwreck that justifies a boycott on his movies.

There are some nice touches to the film - director Michael Mann has always had a good eye for shooting at night, and the bright lights of Miami are a great backdrop for some of the set pieces - but they don't come close to balancing the scales against what doesn't work. I would trade all the great night shots for one single scene where Farrell didn't have a goatee in a heartbeat.

I should have listened to you, John. I'm sorry. I'll know better next time.

Winner: The Cat

Miami Vice on IMDB