Miami Vice (2006) 
Blu-ray Action-Adventure
Written by Todd Daugherty   
Monday, 27 April 2009

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As a fundamental symbol for everything to remember (and forget!) about the 1980s, Miami Vice is a name very few of us will let go from our memories. Its iconic fashion, action and luxurious excess are embedded in our memory banks. Its sport jackets, electric colored t-shirts, shoes without socks and thick rimmed sunglasses have gone the way of the buffalo, but the undercover crime solving action of the hit television show of the past finally made it to the big screen, and your home Blu-ray player this decade.

Miami Vice follows the story of undercover cop duo Sonny Crockett (played by Collin Farrell) and Ricardo Tubbs (played by Jamie Foxx) in Miami, Florida. The partners embark on a mission to investigate the murders of two federal agents, only to find out the suspects' power and business dealings are spread across the globe in a powerful drug trafficking ring.

The pair go deep into the world of illegal trafficking as transporters, and show us how innovative, eccentric and hazardous the drug trafficking world can be. From lining up a plane's radar signal to another plane, to ridiculously fast boats cleverly named “Go-fast” which can sneak by radar undetected, Sonny and Ricardo set out to prove that their transportation methods are legit for high-powered drug dealers.

Miami Vice is clad with expensive cars, fancy boats, and luxurious lifestyles. Of course those all wouldn't be significant without the presence of high speed chases, fantastic scenery, high action shootouts and passionate romance. These elements all debuted in the original television series, and were once again brought to the forefront of this new era remake. However, many of the similarities between the original series and the motion picture end there.

Director Michael Mann once again portrays his vision through the medium of the digital HD camera. A plethora of handheld shots are also used, giving it a similar feel to Mann's other digital hit, Collateral. This makes the action scenes more lifelike and the intimate scenes more tangible to the viewer. However, if you're looking for crisp, polished and flawless picture from your Blu-ray movie, keep moving. Video noise is abundant, night shots are raw and unfiltered, and colors have little to no enhancement. HD Digital shooting is unforgiving and accurate, and a great deal of the on-location and well designed scenes complement the digital shooting of Miami Vice. More so, the depth of field in this film is phenomenal, with scenic shots and even tight intimate scenes giving you solid focus from directly in front of the camera to the infinite backgrounds of the ocean's horizon.

Collin Farrell played his character very convincingly. Sonny Crockett had a look of natural determination and focus throughout the film, the look of a true professional respecting his role. Farrell delivers with success through both romantic and action scenes equally.

Jamie Foxx also does a fantastic job with his character, which I think was lacking in itself. Ricardo Tubbs' role of second fiddle to Sonny made him seem much less significant even though the two are equal and respectful partners. Both actors' cool, calm and collective attitudes combined with the unrelenting focus of undercover work make them both stand out as powerful characters that command your attention.

As for the film itself, it felt like Miami Vice had trouble establishing a significant pace. Many dialogue scenes lacked the energy to carry the film's momentum from action scene to action scene. Stagnant dialogue and awkward transitions between undercover work and everything else made immersion difficult. The film depicts the precision and speed of the underground world of drug trafficking, yet did very little to avoid a slow pace once the trafficking sequences were over. I found myself having a difficult time to truly immerse myself into Miami Vice, and even the romance scenes couldn't help. Many of the romantic connections made seemed unnatural, and were highly lacking in character development and chemistry establishment. All it took for Isabella (played by Li Gong) to fall in love so hard with Sonny that she cried after making love to him for the first time was a trip to Cuba for a Mojito and some dancing. Isabella is the financial manager and part time lover to the boss, and comes off as a strong and independent yet cold woman. Her transformation into a tearful heap of cuddling love after just meeting Sonny hours prior makes you dismiss the chemistry entirely.

The lead crime boss, Montoya (Luis Tosar) was seen very little in the movie, and only adds a mysterious element to the plot and not very much fear or other significant “bad guy” reactions. Additionally, his second in command, Jose Yero (John Ortiz) was not intimidating at all, and seemed to be more of a quirky-looking-yet-jaded business manager than a respected and demanding face of organized crime.


The Miami Vice Blu-ray is delivered in a 1080p HD Widescreen format at a ratio of 2.40:1. As said earlier the film is shot digitally, and video noise is a staple of the finished content. Colors are accurate and very defined, and the cinematography crew took advantage of this by laying out some truly bold and colorful scenes with a healthy mix of many many shades of white and great contrast throughout. Night shots offer gritty realism, and when combined with the suspenseful undercover work and action scenes, give almost a documentary-like feel and sometimes even the realism of the classic COPS television show.


Audio is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. While the surround feel was “there,” it was very forgettable. There were no scenes that absorbed me like I expected from a suspenseful undercover classic like Miami Vice. Dialogue was the opposite of crisp, as I found myself with a squinting, confused look with the thought of “What did he/she just say?” filling my thought process more often than I want to remember. The soundtrack, which had a feel of getting big names rather than assisting the flow of the film, seems out of touch with the scenes and didn't really complement them as I am sure the film intended.


Throughout Miami Vice, the Blu-ray exclusive U-Control allows you to become fully engulfed by many of the inner details that surround this movie. Tech Specs of featured vehicles that get introduced offer detail mechanical specs, price tags and fun facts about their involvement in the film. Intriguing behind-the-scenes footage and director commentary come from the Picture In Picture option and accompany significant scenes. Cast Bios provide you with actor and character details when a new key character is introduced. Production Photographs come in tandem with featured shots. GPS lets you track the action of on-location shooting through a detailed map.

Bonus Features

  • Miami Vice Undercover gives you a look into the research done for the film. Former undercover agents and various experts are on the set to instruct what experiences and philosophies are needed to fully immerse yourself into the world of undercover investigations.
  • Shooting On Location brings you behind the cameras to see how the on-location destination decisions, shot selection, remodeling, and storyboard concepts all converge together to give Miami Vice a seamless look of realism.
  • Behind The Scenes Featurettes give you an in-depth look at the intricacies of what it takes to fully complete a scene. Specials on gun training and selection, hotel camerawork, and speedboat footage show the level of detail that went into the making of Miami Vice.

Another fun feature is the clip maker. During the movie, you can set custom mark in/out points to create your own scenes which are accessible from the main menu. A fun way to bookmark your favorite action scenes or turning points of the movie.

Some of the content in the bonus features is not formatted in 1080p like the feature piece is presented. There are many shots of interviews and behind the scenes footage that you would expect to see on the bonus disc of a DVD and not on a current Blu-ray disc. Also, some content finds its way into more than one of the features offered. They also pop up in the U-Control content that is offered during playback of the feature, so expect some redundancy if you're one of the Blu-ray owners that explores every nook of your disc.


In conclusion, Miami Vice is not your typical Blu-ray experience. The uniqueness of guerrilla HD digital shooting may intrigue or bother the viewer, but depth of field, contrast, and scene detail will make it worthwhile to many. The film itself has tempo and chemistry issues, but great acting from the two main stars. The bonus features of the disc will provide an educational and entertaining experience, but can spark some déjà vu if you watch every option. The movie left me unfulfilled in regards to plot line and direction, but did quench my thirst for action, fast cars, fancy boats, and beautiful scenery.

Studio Universal Studios Home Entertainment
MPAA Rating R
Starring Jamie Foxx, Colin Farrell
Director Michael Mann
Film Release Year 2006
Release Year 2008
Resolution(s) 1080p (main feature)
Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
Running Time 134 minutes
Sound Formats English PCM 5.1
Subtitles English
Forum Link
Reviewer Todd Daugherty

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