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MIAMI VICE

Probably the best way to describe Michael Mann’s cinematic update on MIAMI VICE ($30) would be as the adult version of the television series. Stripping away the glamorous veneer of the eighties TV show, the theatrical film version of MIAMI VICE is darker in approach and more in line with Mann’s cinematic works like THIEF, MANHUNTER and HEAT. As MIAMI VICE opens, we find police detectives Sonny Crockett (Colin Farrell) and Ricardo Tubbs (Jamie Foxx) in the midst of a prostitution sting when they receive a desperate call from an informant advising that an FBI undercover operation is about to go bad. Several dead agents later, Crockett and Tubbs are deputized by the Feds and working deep undercover to bring down some key players in the Colombian drug cartel.

Posing as smugglers, the detectives gather intelligence on the cartel’s inner workings and how shipments are moved onto U.S., which ultimately leads the two towards the kingpin of the operation and the possibility of bringing down the global drug distribution network. However, Crockett takes the operation to the next level, by beginning a very dangerous affair with the kingpin’s lover and financial advisor Isabella (Gong Li). As expected, loyalties are tested and jealousies boil over, which leads to the film’s explosive final act and one of the best cinematic shootouts of modern cinema. The cast of MIAMI VICE also features Naomie Harris, Ciarán Hinds, Justin Theroux, Barry Shabaka Henley, Luis Tosar, John Ortiz, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Domenick Lombardozzi, Eddie Marsan, Isaach De Bankolé, John Hawkes, Tom Towles, Mario Ernesto Sánchez, Frankie J. Allison and Tony Curran.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has made MIAMI VICE available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. The cinematography appears to be a mixture of film and digital video, and I love the film’s stylized look, which is beautifully rendered by the superb 1080p presentation. Image sharpness, detail, depth and clarity can be quite stunning, although there are a lot of dark sequences, where the picture does appear a little less defined. Colors can pop in places, but for the most part, they are rendered with a realistic level of saturation. Blacks, whites, contrast and shadow detail are generally excellent, but can be a bit skewed due to artistic aspirations. The elements from which MIAMI VICE are transferred are pristine. Grain and/or video noise are present much of the time, sometime to excess, which is cool, because it gives the movie a gritty flavor.

MIAMI VICE is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. No surprises here, MIAMI VICE has a killer action movie sound design, that is certain to put your audio equipment through its paces. The aggressive mix utilizes of all the outlying channels in a highly effective manner to deliver clear and precise sound effects placement, as well as allowing sound to come at the viewer from everywhere, as the effects effortlessly zip, pan and ricochet all around the soundstage. The bass channel adds explosive power to gunfire and explosions. With some exceptions, dialogue is usually easy to understand. French and Spanish DTS 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some nice supplements. Director Michael Mann is on hand to provide a running Audio Commentary. Universal's U-Control interface is utilized for an interactive version of the movie that provides in context picture-in-picture, pop-up supplements in relation to individual moments or sequences in the film (requires a Profile 1.1 player). Moving on, we go to the Featurettes. Miami Vice Undercover offers a glimpse on how real undercover cops helped shape the stars’ performances, while Miami And Beyond and Visualizing Miami Vice look at the film’s location work and shooting style. Gun Training, Haitian Hotel Camera Blocking and Mojo Race are shorter behind-the-scenes programs that hone in a particular aspect of the production.

Michael Mann’s cinematic MIAMI VICE is definitely not the television series with movie level production values applied. It is an entirely different animal that will appeal to fans of Mann’s theatrical films. The Blu-ray presentation is a truly excellent rendering. Highly recommended.

 

MIAMI VICE 


Miami Vice (2006) (Unrated) [Blu-ray] (2006)

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DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2008 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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