You won't see the famous pastel suits. You won't hear Jan Hammer's famous theme song. But as Miami Vice opens on the big screen, 22 years after its successful television run, you will get the unmistakably intense vibe that characterized the show. And you'll also see Colin Farrell wearing one of the most alarming movie mustaches since Will Ferrell played anchorman Ron Burgundy.
Farrell takes over for Don Johnson, playing the role of undercover cop Sonny Crockett, who works with his partner Ricardo Tubbs to "cut into" a South American drug-smuggling operation. Together, Crockett and Tubbs—played by Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx—risk their lives to discover how some white supremacists blew the cover on a crucial FBI operation. But as they venture deeper and deeper into a jungle of evil, posing as professional smugglers, they run the risk of losing their moral compasses along the way.
Their journey will take them far beyond the problem of the Aryans. After a tense meeting with a nervous drug dealer named Jose Yero (John Ortiz), they're taken all the way to an encounter with the cartel's Colombian prince of darkness—Arcángel de Jesús Montoya (Spanish actor Luis Tosar). This is a truly frightening and powerful man, who can deliver a bone-chilling threat by saying, in smooth and silky tones, "I extend my best wishes to your families."
But Crockett and Tubbs don't have families. They can't afford it. They know that anything they do could ruin not only their own lives, but the lives of anyone connected with them. They can't even fall in love, or they risk exposing and spoiling a whole network of operatives.
So no wonder Tubbs looks worried when Crockett announces that he's in the mood for love. "There's undercover," Tubbs mutters urgently, "and then there's 'Which way is up?'"
It doesn't matter. Just when things seem to be running smoothly, Crockett suddenly waves goodbye to Tubbs and speeds off in a boat with a beautiful woman—a fiercely intelligent Chinese Cuban named Isabella, played by Gong Li. They're off to Havana for a steamy, reckless love affair. She's beautiful, no question there. And she's clearly smitten with him. But there's a problem. Isabella is Montoya's financial advisor.
Under such volatile circumstances, can any romance last? Playing with fire, Crockett tries to draw Isabella away from Montoya's clutches. Isabella, meanwhile, must decide whether to be loyal to her murderous master or to her own heart.
Crockett's newfound love isn't the only relationship putting the vice squad at risk. Tubbs is taking tumbles in the sheets with a foxy colleague named Trudy (Naomie Harris of 28 Days Later and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest). You'd think they would know better than to complicate their police work like this—and Tubbs is about to feel the hurt of taking such a gamble.
Moviegoers who watched Mann's Miami Vice television series may recognize this plot outline from the show. But this is not so much a remake as a complete reinvention. The 2006 Miami Vice doesn't stay in Miami for long—our heroes are quickly hurrying off to Paraguay and Haiti (played here by the Dominican Republic). Things get much darker and more violent than the television adventures ever did.