Sunday, July 30, 2006

Miami (Vice) Mumbling

Wassup, Y'all!

Went to check out Miami Vice at the neighborhood premium theater (a joint that serves food and drink in the theater during the show) and I was a little nervous that all that eating and drinking would drown out the dialogue and make the movie hard to follow. Imagine old Ty's surprise as the movie's sketchy plot and mumbling actors handled that all by themselves. Don't get it twisted, there's a lot to like about this movie but plan on spending the first part doing some serious lip reading and head scratching...

If you are old school Miami Vice watchers, you'll know how chilly Lt. Castillo (Edward James Olmos) would talk in the low, gravelly, minimalist fashion when he was on the scene with Crockett and Tubbs and half the time you'd have to pull your chair right up next to the TV to understand what the hell old boy was saying. The first forty minutes of the new Vice were kinda like that but once that joint got rolling, it got rolling, y'all.

Director Michael Mann dropped in all his signature touches - grainy film technique, moody backdrops, hot a$$ cars, boats and airplanes and, of course, insane fire fights with some serious military hardware a la Heat.

Mann also came correct with the movie casting - almost. I was digging both Naomi Harris and Elizabeth Rodriguez as Detectives Trudy Joplin and Gina Calabrese respectively. Both those chicks handled their business - especially Rodriguez and now you can catch Naomi in *two* flicks out now - Miami Vice and Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man's Chest. Both roles are relatively small, but old girl's definitely got the chops. If you don't believe me, check out her early work in the sci-fi, horror flick 28 Days Later.

On the homeboy side of the ledger, I wasn't quite buying Jamie Foxx as smooth a$$ Rico Tubbs. He seemed more like Jamie Foxx trying to be cool. Colin Farrell as Sonny Crockett on the other hand, nailed it (of course old boy got more screen time to nail it but Miami Vice has always been Crockett's vehicle with Tubbs just along for the ride - nothing new here). NS Shorty weighed in with two thumbs up for Farrell as well after apparently being taken in by homeboy's 'hair, 5 o'clock shadow and tight salsa moves on the dance floor. Hmmm, my a$$ missed all that - clearly we were watching different movies.

I did, however, like Gong Li's (Memoirs of a Geisha) role as the drug lord's counsel and money manager. That was some unconvential casting that worked (though sometimes you have to work through her accent). You have to like it in a shorty who's in Miami but suggests going to Havana, Cuba to get a drink.

All in all, old Ty's giving up 2.5 Spinners for Miami Vice (I know - other reviewers were cracking on this joint but it's all in the eye of the beholder, y'all). It could have been better but it was an entertaining (and bloody) night out at the movies. I also like the fact that Mann left enough loose threads to warrant a sequel if there's demand for one. As Jay-Z asked when they were jamming his Linkin Park collabo 'Numb' in Vice's opening club scene - "Do you want an encore, do you want more?" All in all, I'd have to say 'yep-yep'.



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