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Ran across this over the morning and thought you would find it interesting. Seeing as I just spent most of the year binge watching through Miami Vice, I had to go back to Michael Mann's film work and see how it holds up against the bulk of his prime show.
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I did not like the Miami Vice movie at all. I've seen so much of the show, and there's so many issues with it. Farrell and Fox have absolutely no chemistry as Crockett and Tubbs. That's really like the #1 problem of the movie. I wasn't even sure they liked each other in the movie, whereas in the show, there's that whole "I got your back" mentality about them with this brotherly bond. In the movie, he leaves Tubbs behind to go on that cruise with the girl to Cuba...in the show, this only happened once, he left Tubbs behind in the episode 'Nobody Lives Forever' and Tubbs gets the crap beat out of him, and this leads to Sonny feeling guilty and trying to make up for it later. People can make fun of Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas all they want, but those two had a chemistry together that has largely been unmatched in buddy cop films and shows.
If you do like that movie though, I would highly recommend checking out the episode 'Smuggler's Blues'. The entire movie is really like a 2 hour long re-write of the Smuggler's Blues episodes. And yep, it's the one with Glenn Frey pretty much playing himself in it, but he still pulls off a good performance. There is only minor differences between the film and that episode, most notably, Trudy doesn't die but Tubbs is given such a crappy situation at the end. (he jumps, Trudy dies. He don't jump, she still dies)
and the point of where in the film, Sonny leaves Tubbs behind, in Smuggler's Blues, there's the scene where of him and Glenn Frey talking about Vietnam and he says "I had to leave fallen comrades behind, but this one, I CAN'T leave behind".
I don't know if that movie should've even been made though cause Vice pretty much is a product of the whole 80's era, and it's a definite necessity for the younger generation of 80's loving hipsters, and I don't know if that formula can work in modern setting. Crockett and Tubbs benefited from that environment of the wild wild west mentality of the cocaine cowboys. That all changed in later decades.
To be completely candid with you Bogie, I never followed the Miami Vice TV show as closely as you clearly did & still do apparently. I viewed Miami Vice the 2006 movie more like co-workers who know what makes each other tick, but they're not hanging out after work going to a local cop dive eating brats, buffalo wings, swallowing an ice cold beer together & bonding. It's not that they don't care about each others welfare; they just appreciate space apart from each other so that when they are in life & death situations respect for their colleague doesn't blur or get in the way of arresting the big criminal fish or killing him as an absolute, last resort.
Chemistry between central characters matters yes, but in my estimation, Crockett & Tubbs are more like 2 guys who appreciate 1 another's skill sets under cover & they have no desire to be blood brothers or bosom buddies at all. Why them come together against that drug smuggler who hurts Trudy is because these bad guys bleeped up the professionalism & smoothness of their vice unit collectively. Sure Trudy is considered a friend that no harm should come to. However, when a unit gels professionally & you know each members tendencies; when a bad guy messes with that cohesion that took yrs to build an aggressive response of revenge is required.
I actually liked the feature film better than the series because if you are that close to a partner & something horrific happens to them or a loved one they care about....Your professional relationship is forever tarnished & compromised now because your objectivity is totally lost & you're too emotionally invested in the protection of your parter rather than completing the mission in the field. Some level of distance is mandated to see the big picture, lock up the bad guy, & not become yr partner's guardian angel.
I like that we don't know if Tubbs will retire from police work to tend to Trudy's needs. I like that Crockett has regrets over falling in love with this money manger & flipping her world upside down. I like that the audience has no idea if this Vice Unit will split up or not at the end of the movie. That's real life. Not a 40 minute show where everybody will be back next week no matter what.
I do appreciate the insights & familiarity you have with Michael Mann's early work in TV before he became a major motion picture director though Bogie. Thank you.
Yes, the original Miami Vice TV show was perfect for the era it was produced in. All that is true. However, I applaud Mann for modifying the storyline to fit in a 21st Century backdrop about cops, drug smugglers, people caught in the crossfire; & the toll this kind of work transforms a person into--cold, calculating, stoic, & indifferent with jaded attachment issues.
I did see some of the original series when it was originally released on network before cable & satellite widened an audiences viewing choices at large. It was a well made show with solid script writing. I just like Micheal Mann now as an established director who cut his teeth on the original TV show, but he doesn't plan on living there forever. TV was a steeping stone to bigger productions in cinema & he's not gonna be a slave to that small screen medium unless Hollywood says Mike you can't cut it as a big screen director anymore.
He doesn't despise TV perse. No, it's more like his grand visions & storylines are better suited for wrap around surround sound environments with outstanding picture clarity. I also like that his high intense action scenes are few & far in between. He understands that less is more in terms of explosions, chase scenes, & gun violence. All that really matters is the emotional investment the audience has with the characters on both sides of the law.