Miami Vice (S1)
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Like I have to even tell you? The story was famously pitched as “MTV cops” and that pretty much says it all (so long as you remember this was Wham!-era MTV). Two vice detectives in Miami, Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs take down various toughs, hoods and nogoodniks all while scoring the chicks with the biggest hair and hoopiest earrings. Along the way they inspired an entire nation to wear pastels, throw away their razors and let their Soul Glo.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Good is such a subjective word… Watching it now, in 2005, it’s hard to not snicker at the various ‘80-isms throughout the show. And by that, I don’t just mean fads like big Ray-Ban sunglasses but the entire nature of the show seems trapped in another time. At the time, and I know cause as frightening as it is to admit I was actually alive when this was “fresh”, “Miami Vice” was revolutionary back in 1984 when it premiered. Truly revolutionary. It inspired a whole flock of shows from “Hardcastle and McCormick” and “Knight Rider” back then to “Grand Theft Auto” more recently. Looking back on it, some of the concepts seem a little cheesy and don’t exactly stand the best of time as you’d hope but all-in-all, there’s still a lot here to enjoy.
First off, this show would’ve been nothing without Michael Mann. Sure it might’ve been on the network and a few people might’ve tuned it, but it would not have been the cultural phenomenon it was without Michael Mann and his input. Watching it now, you can see his impact on the show even more so knowing what he would go on to in his career. There are tiny flashes of HEAT, COLLATERAL and LAST OF THE MOHICANS sprinkled through the series. OK, maybe not MOHICANS, though I could’ve sworn I remember Crockett shouting to Tubbs, “You stay alive, no matter what occurs! I will find you!”
It may at times feel like a spoof of “Miami Vice” at first glance, but once you get deep inside it, you realize there’s much more here than just funny outfits and crazy hairdos. There’s actually a lot of dark stuff in here – druglords, prostitutes, murderers, weapons smugglers – than you’d believe. And like often happens on shows like “Law and Order,” the good guys don’t often win. Frequently you’ll see the bad guys slipping through the cracks once again due to some sleazy lawyer who got them off on a technicality. They could take these scripts today, recast them and they’d still be hits.
The disc includes all 22 episodes from Season One.
Another let down. I realize Michael Mann is too busy to sit down and talk up each of these episodes but this is all we’re gonna get? The Vibe of Vice talks about how influential “Miami Vice” was and still is while Building the Perfect Vice takes us behind-the-scenes to find out what when on as the show was developed. But neither backs the depth that I’d like from such a feature. They didn’t even get any new interviews with the main three people – Michael Mann, Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas - you’d like to have interviewed! I mean I appreciate the update on Jan Hammer and the costume designer but c’mon… “The Simpsons” DVDs manage to get commentaries for every episode and they couldn’t get Don Effing Johnson and Philip Effing Michael Thomas to record at least an audio commentary for at least the pilot episode?!
The Style of Vice has to actually explain to us how the style of the show influenced the 80s culture. If you haven’t already gotten in they want you to know THIS SHOW WAS INFLUENTIAL. Oh and if you didn’t get that point hammered home, here’s another extra in a very similar vein, The Music of Vice. Pretty self-explanatory how that one breaks down.
Finally, and I’ve saved the worst for last, is Miami After Vice which had me bored into tears wondering if I had somehow stumbled into a Miami Department of Tourism promotional video. Which (and I kid you not) is actually what this is.
A great series that deserved the finest of DVD treatments but instead was dumped onto three-discs in the hopes that fans will pick it up regardless of the content. That said, the content does make it worth it in some regard. Depending on how big a “Vice” fan you are, you might consider renting these or borrowing them from a friend before you shell out $40-plus on this badboy.