Review Date: August 25, 2006
Director: Michael Man
Writer: Michael Mann
Producers: Pieter Jan Brugge, Michael Mann
Colin Farrell as Sonny
Jamie Foxx as Tubbs
Gong Li as Isabella
A couple of slick undercover Miami cops get involved in a very serious drug trade with some nasty narcotics dealers, and at the same time, attempt to get to the bottom of an apparent leak in the FBI. The boys also hook up with some chicks and act really, really, really serious the whole way through. None of the style, action and inherent fun of the TV series makes its way into the film, but I suppose they did that on purpose. Then again, why name your movie after the show if you’re not going to relate it in any way?
What a boring movie. Coming from the man behind such classics as THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS, HEAT and COLLATERAL, I was expecting to be either blown away or pulled deeply into an engaging plotline about drugs, guns, bad guys and all kinds of cool crime shit, but about an hour into this movie, I was still wondering what the heck everyone was doing, and why I should give a shit. It felt like the entire movie was based around one drug deal, and despite the jargon sounding real, the locations looking real and most of the acting coming through (more on Gong Li later), authenticity alone does not a movie make, and with nary a memorable scene or line in the film, I was bored stupid most of the way through this thing and left wondering where the film’s apparent $130M budget went. The directing was cool and gritty, with Mann continuing to use digital cameras here and there, Farrell seemed to be enjoying himself as Sonny (love the moustache!), but I could have cared less about anybody else, particularly Jamie Foxx’s character, who was about as one-dimensional as they come (who was this guy?). Also, someone gets really hurt at some point in the movie, placed in a life/death situation in the hospital but you barely even know the person by that point, and are supposed to care about them?
Furthermore, any scene featuring Chinese actress Gong Li added the extra component of having to guess at what exactly was being said as about 50% of her dialogue simply didn’t make it through my translation machine (and she was speaking English!). The romance between she and Farrell also felt forced and didn’t work for me (zero chemistry) which sucks because the second half of the film seemed to focus on that lame aspect of the picture, rather than the cool drug/crime stuff. Also, if you’re looking for action and suspense, this film is not for you, as its first gunfight shows up about 1 hour and forty-five minutes into the movie, and while a pretty cool shoot-out sequence finishes things off, most of the time people are talking, moving about (via cool cars, cool boats and cool planes) and talking some more (“You gonna deliver the keys of coke to such-and-such place, and we’ll deliver the money at such-and-such time”). I honestly didn’t care about anyone or the plotline of this movie, which generally suggests a subpar film and is exactly what we get here. Maybe it’ll go down easier on DVD (it putters on for about 130 minutes), especially with the subtitles on for Li’s performance, but overall, the film lacked energy, excitement and an interesting plotline, all of which are elements that one simply cannot do without in a crime flick. That said, go out and rent fuckin’ NARC instead and see the ultimate undercover cop flick!
(c) 2014 Berge Garabedian