Miami Vice (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Michael Mann|
|Produced by||Michael Mann
Pieter Jan Brugge
|Written by||Michael Mann|
|Based on||Miami Vice
by Anthony Yerkovich
|Music by||John Murphy
|Editing by||William Goldenberg
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Running time||146 minutes|
Miami Vice is a 2006 American crime drama film about two Miami police detectives, Crockett and Tubbs, who go undercover to fight drug trafficking operations. The film is an adaptation of the 1980s TV series of the same name, written, produced, and directed by Michael Mann. The film stars Jamie Foxx as Tubbs and Colin Farrell as Crockett, as well as Chinese actress Gong Li as Isabella.
While working an undercover prostitute sting operation in a nightclub to arrest a pimp named Neptune, Miami-Dade Police detectives James "Sonny" Crockett and Ricardo "Rico" Tubbs receive a frantic phone call from their former informant Alonzo Stevens (John Hawkes). Stevens reveals that he's leaving town, and, believing his wife Leonetta to be in immediate danger, asks Rico to check on her. Crockett learns that Stevens was working as an informant for the FBI but has been compromised. Crockett and Tubbs quickly contact FBI Special Agent in Charge John Fujima (Ciarán Hinds) and warn him about Stevens' safety. Tracking down Stevens through a vehicle transponder and aerial surveillance, Crockett and Tubbs stop him along I-95. Stevens reveals that a Colombian cartel had become aware that Russian undercovers (now dead) were working with the FBI, and had threatened to murder Leonetta via a C-4 necklace bomb if he didn't confess. Rico, learning of Leonetta's death by telephone call, tells Alonzo that he doesn't have to go home. Hearing this, the grief-stricken Stevens commits suicide by walking in front of an oncoming semi truck.
En route to the murder scene, Sonny and Rico receive a call from Lt. Castillo (Barry Shabaka Henley) and are instructed to stay away. He tells them to meet him downtown, where they are introduced in person to John Fujima, head of the Florida Joint Inter-Agency Task Force between the FBI, the DEA, and ICE. An angry Crockett and Tubbs berate Fujima for the errors committed and inquire as to why the MPD wasn't involved. Fujima reveals that the Colombian group is highly sophisticated and run by Jose Yero (John Ortiz), initially thought to be the cartel's leader. Fujima enlists Crockett and Tubbs, making them Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force deputies, to help, and they continue the investigation by looking into "go-fast boats" coming from the Caribbean, delivering loads of narcotics from the Colombians. They then use their Miami informant contacts to set up a meet and greet with the cartel.
Posing as drug smugglers "Sonny Burnett" and "Rico Cooper", the two offer their services to Yero. They find out Yero is the cartel's security and intelligence man. After a high tension meeting they pass screening and are introduced to Archangel de Jesus Montoya (Luis Tosar), South Florida's drug trafficking kingpin. In the course of their investigation, Crockett and Tubbs learn that the cartel is using the Aryan Brotherhood (AB) to distribute drugs, and is supplying them with state-of-the-art weaponry (which they used to kill the Russian undercovers). Crockett is also drawn to Montoya's financial advisor and lover Isabella (Gong Li), and the two begin a secret romance. Tubbs begins to worry that Crockett may be getting too deeply involved in his undercover role and fears for the team's safety. Those fears are soon realized as Trudy (Naomie Harris), the unit's intelligence agent, is kidnapped by the AB, and her life is threatened with a bomb the same way Leonetta's was unless the loads Crockett and Tubbs were delivering are directly handed over to the AB. With Lt. Castillo's help, the unit triangulates Trudy's location to a mobile home in a trailer park and performs a rescue, but she is critically injured in the aftermath when Tubbs fails to evacuate her in time from the mobile home and a bomb, remotely detonated by Yero, explodes. Soon afterwards, Crockett and Tubbs face off against Yero, his men, and the AB at the port of Miami.
During the firefight, Crockett begins to call in backup. When Isabella sees his police shield and radio, she realizes that he's undercover. Betrayed, she demands that Crockett tell her who he really is. After the gunfight, Crockett takes her to a police safehouse and tells her she'll have to leave the country and return to her home in Cuba. As Crockett and Isabella stare at each other while Isabella is on a boat slowly drifting off, Crockett takes one last glance, walks away, and drives off. Meanwhile, Tubbs is in the hospital holding Trudy's hand. Recovering from her coma, she suddenly grasps his. Isabella cries in the boat, while Crockett heads into the hospital's entrance to visit Trudy.
- Colin Farrell as Det. James "Sonny" Crockett
- Jamie Foxx as Det. Ricardo "Rico" Tubbs
- Naomie Harris as Det. Trudy Joplin
- Elizabeth Rodriguez as Det. Gina Calabrese
- Domenick Lombardozzi as Det. Stan Switek
- Justin Theroux as Det. Larry Zito
- Barry Shabaka Henley as Lt. Martín Castillo
- Gong Li as Isabella Montoya
- Luis Tosar as Arcangel de Jesus Montoya
- John Ortiz as Jose Yero
- Ciarán Hinds as FBI Agent John Fujima
- Isaach De Bankolé as Neptune
- John Hawkes as Alonzo Stevens
- Tom Towles as Coleman
- Eddie Marsan as Nicholas
Like Collateral, which also starred Foxx, most of the film was shot with the Thomson Viper Filmstream Camera, while Super 35 was used for high-speed and underwater shots. Cinematographer Dion Beebe was also Collateral's cinematographer.
The suits that Jamie Foxx wore in the film were designed by noted fashion designer Ozwald Boateng. He had worked with Foxx in the past and caught Mann's eye, who then asked him to work on the film. Michael Kaplan was responsible for the costume design overall.
The film, shot on location in the Caribbean, Uruguay (the seaside resort Atlántida, the old building of the Carrasco International Airport, the "Rambla" and the Old City of Montevideo), Paraguay (Ciudad del Este) and South Florida, lost seven days of filming to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. The delays led to a budget of what some insiders claimed to be over $150 million, though Universal Pictures says it cost $135 million. Several crew members criticized Mann's decisions during production, which featured sudden script changes, filming in unsafe weather conditions, and choosing locations that "even the police avoid, drafting gang members to work as security".
Foxx was also characterized as unpleasant to work with. He refused to fly commercially, forcing Universal to give him a private jet. He also wouldn't participate in scenes on boats or planes. After gunshots were fired on set in the Dominican Republic on October 24, 2005, Foxx packed up and refused to return; this forced Mann to re-write the film's ending, which some crew members characterized as less dramatic than the original. Foxx, who won an Academy Award after signing to do Miami Vice, was also reputed to complain about co-star Farrell's larger salary, which Foxx felt didn't reflect his new status as an Oscar winner; consequently, reports Slate: "Foxx got a big raise while Farrell took a bit of a cut." Slate also reported that Foxx demanded top billing after winning an Oscar.
Mann wanted a film that was as real as it was stylish and even put Farrell in jeopardy by bringing him along (with real FBI drug squads) to drug busts so Farrell could build up the character of Crockett even more. It was later revealed that Mann faked these busts.
Sal Magluta, the drug trafficker identified by Tubbs as running go-fast boats in the film's opening scenes, is in fact one of Miami's real-life reputed "Cocaine Cowboys" and is currently serving a life sentence for money laundering.
Although Mann set out to craft entirely new characters and story, there were still very subtle references to the TV series on which it is based. The plot shares many elements with the episode "Smuggler's Blues" (Season 1, Episode 15):
- In the film, Tubbs tells drug-dealing Yero: "We can close each others' eyes real fast, but then nobody's gonna make no money." This is a nod to a line in the episode "Smugglers Blues" in which the drug-dealing Grossero tells Tubbs: "You and I are businessmen. We have business to look forward to which we will never see if we close each other's eyes."
- In that same episode, Sonny says: "Why is he donating to the good and the welfare?" In the film, Rico asks the same thing while inside of Yero's disco.
- Both the episode and the film include a sub-plot wherein Trudy is held hostage in a trailer which is rigged with explosives.
The first teaser trailer to appear for the film featured the Linkin Park/Jay-Z song "Numb/Encore". This trailer was attached to the release of King Kong in theaters. For several months before its release, the official web site hosted the first teaser trailer for download as a High-Definition WMV download, which is still available at the official site.
Several companies cross-advertised with Miami Vice or had products showcased in them. These companies included IWC, Adam Airplanes, Bacardi, Motorola, Nokia, BMW, Donzi, MTI (Marine Technology, Inc.), Benelli, and Ferrari among others
Their products are seen throughout the film:
- Crockett is seen ordering and drinking a "Bacardi Mojito" from the bartender in the film's first scene and drinks a couple throughout the film's remainder.
- Zito uses a Nokia video phone to spy on his partner, Switek, as he goes undercover to bust prostitutes in The Mansion nightclub.
- Crockett and Tubbs use a Motorola Rugged Notebook at their initial meeting with Martin Castillo and James Fujima
- The three boats in the drug running scene are a Donzi 38 ZF Daytona, a Donzi 38 ZR, and a Donzi 43 ZR.
- Tubbs uses a Benelli M4 Super 90 12-gauge semi-automatic shotgun at the end of the film.
- Crockett's boat (white paint and labeled "Mojo") is an MTI (Marine Technology Inc.) 40 Series with two Mercury 575 hp Engines fitted. 160 mph (260 km/h). In the correct sense it is an offshore catamaran.
- The (first) distinctive plane featured in the film is the Adam A500. There is another characteristic plane in the film, a Piaggio P.180 Avanti, which brings Isabella to the Barranquilla airport, Colombia.
- As in the TV series, Crockett and Tubbs drive in a Ferrari. The model in the film is a Ferrari F430. Later in the film, they drive a white BMW 645i Coupe, a possible tribute to a white Mercedes Benz they had during the first season.
The original Miami Vice television series composer, Jan Hammer, is completely absent from the film and soundtrack. Michael Mann did not want to use the theme song in the film. Furthermore Mann didn’t want any association with the TV series at the behest of Universal executives. Fans of the series e-mailed Universal thousands of letters to include the theme, but ultimately Mann said no. As Hammer put it: "I was completely surprised they didn’t have a remake of it. I think it’s a matter of being too cool for school."
Phil Collins' famous hit "In the Air Tonight", which was featured in the television series' debut episode, is featured in the original film as a cover done by Miami-based rock band Nonpoint. during the closing credits and on the soundtrack. Mann's "Director's Edit" released on DVD places the song in the film just prior to the climactic gun battle as suggested by members of the production crew during post-production.
- Nonpoint - "In the Air Tonight"
- Moby featuring Patti LaBelle - "One of These Mornings"
- Mogwai - "We're No Here"
- Nina Simone - "Sinnerman (Felix da Housecat's Heavenly House Mix)"
- Mogwai - "Auto Rock"
- Manzanita - "Arranca"
- India.Arie - "Ready for Love"
- Goldfrapp - "Strict Machine"
- Emilio Estefan - "Pennies in My Pocket"
- King Britt - "New World in My View"
- Blue Foundation - "Sweep"
- Moby - "Anthem"
- Freaky Chakra - "Blacklight Fantasy"
- John Murphy - "Mercado Nuevo"
- John Murphy - "Who Are You"
- King Britt & Tim Motzer - "Ramblas"
- Klaus Badelt & Mark Batson - "A-500"
The music included on the soundtrack has several differences from what was featured in the film:
- Of the first four songs featured in the film's first sequence in The Mansion nightclub, three are on the soundtrack and Nina Simone's "Sinnerman" is the only song to be featured in its original form. Jay-Z and Linkin Park's "Numb/Encore" is not found on the soundtrack despite being heavily used to promote the film (it was featured in both of the film's trailers) and the fact that it's the first song in the film. Furthermore, the version of Goldfrapp's "Strict Machine" is the "We Are Glitter" remix of the song, and both it and Freaky Chakra's "Blacklight Fantasy" are edits from Sasha's mix album Fundacion NYC. Neither version appears on the soundtrack.
- Clips of two Audioslave songs, "Wide Awake" and "Shape of Things to Come", are featured in the film, but the songs do not appear on the soundtrack. This was possibly because the two songs were brand new and were set to be featured on Audioslave's new album Revelations, which had a release date close to the film.
- The version of Moby's "Anthem" on the soundtrack does not appear in the film. Instead, prominent placement is given to Moby's "Cinematic Version" of the song.
- King Britt's "New World in My View" is featured in the film but is missing the spoken-word lyrics of Sister Gertrude. The song plays instrumentally in the background at one point in the film.
Theatrical run 
Miami Vice opened at No. 1 in the United States, knocking Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest out of the number one position at the box office that weekend, after Pirates led the box office for almost a full month. In its opening weekend, the film grossed over $25.7 million at 3,021 theaters nationwide, with an average gross of $8,515 per theater. The film would go on to earn $63.5 million domestically. Miami Vice would fare better internationally. The films aired in 77 countries overseas, grossing $100,344,039 in its international run. Overall the film grossed $164 million worldwide helping to further surpass the reported $135 million budget.
Home release 
Miami Vice was released to DVD on December 12, 2006. It contained many extra features the theatrical version did not include an extended cut of the film itself. It's one of the first HD DVD/DVD combo discs to be released by Universal Studios. Miami Vice's HD-DVD was one of the best selling DVDs of 2006. The DVD debuted in third place (behind Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and Superman Returns) and managed to sell over a million copies (equivalent to $7.91 million in pirated versions) in its first week alone. As of February 11, 2007, Miami Vice had grossed over $36.45 million in rentals.
Critical reception 
Response to Miami Vice has been split. Miami Vice received positive notices from major publications including Rolling Stone, Empire, Variety, Newsweek, New York, The Village Voice, The Boston Globe, Entertainment Weekly, and film critic Richard Roeper on the television program Ebert & Roeper. New York Times critic Manohla Dargis declared it "glorious entertainment" in her year-end wrap-up and praised its innovative use of digital photography.
It was included in the top ten of 2006 by Scott Foundas (LA Weekly) at #7, and by Manohla Dargis at #8. Additionally, in November 2009, the critics of Time Out New York chose Miami Vice as #35 of the fifty best films of the decade, saying:
Writer-director Michael Mann brilliantly rethinks the seminal 1980s TV series on which he made his name. The hi-def videography gives a tactile, scorching sense of the characters’ surroundings, and Colin Farrell and Gong Li’s doomed love affair bears the full tragic brunt of Mann’s mesmerizing on-the-fly narrative.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Miami Vice|
- Official website
- Miami Vice at the Internet Movie Database
- Miami Vice at AllRovi
- Miami Vice at Rotten Tomatoes
- Miami Vice at Box Office Mojo
- Miami Vice script
- Miami Vice soundtrack questions, answers and other information
- Thomson Viper Camera
- Miami Vice 2006 Movie Production Notes
- Miami Beach USA Miami Vice: Fashion Trend-Setter Again?
- Entertainment Weekly's cover story on the making of the film
- Interview: Michael Mann & The Cast Miami Vice
- Senses of Cinema essay