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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Miami Vice 

Michael Mann is a voyeur. His best scenes, both in writing and direction, are of men and women sitting around and talking to each other. But these aren’t idle diner scenes, marked by colorful but trite dialogue exchanges and pop culture references. They take place in the VIP rooms of exclusive clubs, in mobile SUV offices, and in secret warehouses in Colombia. The people talking are more often than not at odds, and what isn’t said is doubly as important as what is said.

This holds true for Miami Vice, and that may surprise a lot of people. The movie is 2 hours and 10 minutes comprised mostly of conversations, plottings, dealings, and tracking shots of glamorous vehicles moving fast against breathtaking South Florida scenery. What “action” there is is brief and graphically violent; the protracted gunfights of Heat have given way to the sharper, starker, and much darker violence of Collateral. In short: If you want CGI explosion after CGI explosion, you will be disappointed. Fans of the trademark Mann dialogue-driven tension are in luck.

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