I finished (re)watching the Miami Vice movie yesterday, and I can confirm my impression that it improves on repeat viewings, at least for me. It’s still one of Mann’s weaker films, mainly because the characters are more sketchy, but it makes for a nice change from all of those ’80s and ’90s cop buddy movies. The main reason for this is the characters’ professionalism. You get the impression that these guys are good at their job, and so are the criminals.
In so many other films, neither the good guys nor the bad guys are very professional. Usually, the cop characters seem to be (bad) stand-up comedians first and policemen second. Similarly, the villains of such pieces fail because they’re so easily manipulated. How often in these action movies do you have to suspend your disbelief so much that it’s almost at sea level because the characters act in such stupid ways?
Yes, the professionalism of Mann’s Miami Vice also means that it packs less of an emotional punch. To some extent, the conflict between the guys wearing white hats and the ones in the black hats is so cerebral that I was fascinated, but I didn’t necessarily care. Ricardo’s relationship feels a bit more real, because there’s a sense of history; Sonny’s affair with the high-class gangster moll doesn’t seem like the sort of relationship that has a future, but the erotic charge between Colin Farrell’s Sonny Crockett and Gong Li’s Isabella is nevertheless quite effective.
It’s unlikely that anyone who completely hated the film the first time or who doesn’t like Mann’s work would like Miami Vice on a second viewing. If you don’t fall into either one of these camps, you may want to check it out again in the slightly extended version.
P.S.: And to make up for yesterday’s puerile homoerotic joke, here’s a different ’80s joke. Enjoy! (Note to self: Mwahahahahaha. Erm.)