In Terrence Malick's The New World, Colin Farrell played a brave, burdened man who infiltrated a dangerous foreign culture, and fell in love with someone on the other side of the cultural divide. His feelings for her complicated his responsibilities, causing his heart to be caught in a tug-of-war when the British went to war with the Native Americans.
Now, in Michael Mann's Miami Vice, Farrell plays the same kind of character: brave, burdened, and loyal to his superiors as he infiltrates an international drug operation and falls for the girlfriend of the malevolent kingpin. Will he do his job and bring down the drug lord? Or will he abandon his duties and run away with the woman of his dreams?
Wait a minute … this is Miami Vice? Wasn't that television series about the partnership of undercover cops Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs? Isn't it supposed to feature fast cars, fast boats, and fast airplanes?
Well, yes, and Mann has brought back the speed, intensity, and action of the original. 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, where things get much darker and more violent than the television adventures ever did.
Oh sure, Crockett and Tubbs are still serious crime-fighters in serious suits. They still talk their way into a world of glamorous wickedness. Even the end credits song, a cover of Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight," contributes to this blast from the past. But where Don Johnson played Crockett as a high-spirited wisecracker, and Philip Michael Thomas played Tubbs as a sidekick too cool for stress, Farrell's Crockett and Jamie Foxx's Tubbs look like equal competitors in a sport ...1
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