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Miami Vice (film)

Miami Vice is a 2006 American crime drama film about two Miami police dectives, Crockett and Tubbs, who go undercover to fight drug trafficking operations. The film is an adaptation of the 1980s TV series of the same name, written, produced, and directed by Michael Mann. The film stars Jamie Foxx as Tubbs and Colin Farrell as Crockett, as well as Chinese actress Gong Li.


While working an undercover prostitute sting operation Miami Police detectives James "Sonny" Crockett and Ricardo "Rico" Tubbs receive a frantic phone call from their former informant Alonzo Stevens. Stevens reveals that his wife Leonetta is in immediate danger, asks Rico to check on her, and he plans to blow town. Crockett learns that Stevens was working as an informant for the FBI but has been made. He and Tubbs quickly contact the Miami-Dade FBI SAC (Special Agent In Charge) John Fujima and warn him that whatever the Bureau's investigation that Stevens was involved with, is now compromised. Tracking down the informant through a vehicle transponder and aerial surveillance Crockett and Tubbs stop him along I-95 and learn that a Colombian cartel knew that Russian undercovers were working with the FBI from the start and had threatened Stevens that unless he confessed Leonetta would be assassinated via a C-4 (explosive) necklace bomb. Rico tells Alonzo that he doesn't have to go home. Learning her fate Stevens, in a state of grief, steps in front of a tractor trailer.

En route to the murder scene Sonny and Rico are phoned by Lt. Castillo and are instructed to stay away. He tells them to meet him downtown and there they are introduced to John Fujima, head of the Florida Joint Inter-Agency Task Force between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the FBI. An angry Crockett and Tubbs berate Fujima for the errors committed and inquire as to why the MPD weren't involved. Fujima reveals that the Colombian group is highly sophisticated and has an excellent counter-intel man, Jose Yero. Fujima enlists Crockett and Tubbs help and they continue the investigation by looking into "go-fast boats" coming from the Caribbean, delivering loads of narcotics from the Colombians. They then use their Miami informant contacts to set up a meet and greet with the cartel.

Posing as drug smugglers "Sonny Burnett" and "Rico Cooper", the two offer their services to Yero. After a high tension meeting they pass screening and are introduced to Archangel de Jesus Montoya, kingpin of drug trafficking in South Florida. In the course of their investigation Crockett and Tubbs learn that the cartel is using an extreme Neo-Nazi gang to distribute drugs, and is supplying them with state of the art weaponry. Crockett is also drawn to Montoya's financial advisor and lover Isabella, and the two begin a dangerous romance. Meanwhile Tubbs begins to worry that Crockett may be getting too deeply involved in his undercover role and fears for the safety of the team. Those fears are soon realized as Trudy, the unit's intelligence agent, is kidnapped by the Aryan Brotherhood gang and her life is threatened the same way Leonetta's was unless the loads Crockett and Tubbs were delivering are directly handed over to the AB. With the help of Lt. Castillo the unit triangulates Trudy's location and performs a daring rescue, but she is critically injured in the aftermath. Soon afterwards Crockett and Tubbs face off against Montoya's number two man Jose Yero, his men, and the Aryan gang at the port of Miami.

After the face off, Crockett begins to call in backup, as Isabella sees him radioing it in shes comes to the realization that he is undercover. Shortly after the gunfight, Crockett takes her back to a police safehouse and tells her she'll have to leave the country. As Crockett and Isabella stare at each other while Isabella is on her boat headed home slowly drifting off, Crockett takes one last glance, walks away and drives off. Meanwhile, Tubbs is in the hospital holding Trudy's hand as she grasps his signifying that she'll recover. Isabella is shown again on the boat crying, while Crockett is headed into the entrance of the hospital to visit Trudy.



Jamie Foxx brought up the idea of a Miami Vice film to Michael Mann during a party for Ali. This led Michael Mann to revisit the series he helped create. Like Collateral, which also starred Foxx, most of the film was shot with the Thomson Viper Filmstream Camera, and the remainder was shot on Super 35mm film. Cinematographer Dion Beebe was also the cinematographer of Collateral.

The suits that Jamie Foxx wore in the film were designed by famous fashion designer Ozwald Boateng. He had worked with Jamie Foxx in the past and caught Mann's eye who then asked him to work on the movie. Michael Kaplan was responsible for the costume design overall.

The film, shot on location in the Caribbean, South America, and South Florida, lost seven days of filming to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. The delays led to a budget of what some insiders claimed to be over $150 million, though Universal Studios says it cost $135 million. Several crew members criticized Mann's decisions during production, which featured sudden script changes, filming in unsafe weather conditions, and choosing locations that "even the police avoid, drafting gang members to work as security."

Foxx was also characterized as unpleasant to work with. Foxx refused to fly commercially, forcing Universal to give him a private jet. Foxx would not participate in scenes on boats or planes. After gunshots were fired on set in the Dominican Republic on October 24, 2005, Foxx packed up and refused to return; this forced Mann to re-write the ending of the film, an ending that some crew members characterized as less dramatic than the original. Foxx, who won an Academy Award after signing to do Miami Vice, was also reputed to complain about co-star Farrell's larger salary, something Foxx felt didn't reflect his new status as an Oscar winner. Foxx received an increase in salary to match Farrell's. It was also reported that Foxx demanded top billing after winning an Oscar.

Mann wanted a movie that was as real as it was stylish and even put Colin Farrell in jeopardy by bringing him along (with real FBI drug squads) to drug busts so Farrell could build up the character of Crockett even more.

Sal Magluta, the drug trafficker identified by Tubbs running Go-Fast boats in the opening scenes of the movie, is in fact one of Miami's real-life reputed "Cocaine Cowboys" and is currently serving a life sentence for money laundering.

Though Mann set out to craft entirely new characters and story, there were still very subtle references to the television show on which it is based. The plot shares many elements with the episode, "Smuggler's Blues":

  • In the movie, Tubbs tells drug-dealing Yero, "We can close each others' eyes real fast, but then nobody's gonna make no money." This is a nod to a line in the episode "Smugglers Blues" in which the drug-dealing Grossero tells Tubbs, "You and I are businessmen. We have business to look forward to which we will never see if we close each other's eyes".
  • In that same episode, Sonny says "Why is he donating to the good and the welfare?" In the movie, Rico asks the same thing while inside of Yero's disco.
  • In both the episode and in the movie, there is a sub-plot where Trudy is held hostage in a trailer which is rigged with explosives.

The first teaser trailer to appear for the film featured the Linkin Park/Jay-Z song "Numb/Encore". This trailer was attached to the release of King Kong in theatres. For several months before its release, the official website hosted the first teaser trailer for download as a High-Definition WMV download, and is still available at the official site


Several companies cross-advertised with Miami Vice or had products showcased in them. These companies included IWC, Adam Airplanes, Bacardi, Motorola, BMW, Donzi, MTI (Marine Technology, Inc.), Benelli, and Ferrari among others

Their products are seen throughout the film:

  • Crockett (Colin Farrell) is seen ordering and drinking a "Bacardi Mojito" from the bartender in the very first scene of the movie and drinks a couple throughout the remainder of the film.
  • Zito uses a Motorola video phone to spy on his partner, Switek, as he goes undercover to bust prostitutes inside of The Mansion nightclub.
  • Crockett and Tubbs use a Motorola Rugged Notebook at their initial meeting with Martin Castillo and James Fujima
  • The three boats in the drug running scene are a Donzi 38 ZF Daytona, a Donzi 38 ZR, and a Donzi 43 ZR.
  • Tubbs uses a Benelli M4 Super 90 12-gauge semi-automatic shotgun at the end of the movie.
  • Crockett's Boat (white paint and labeled "Mojo") is a MTI (Marine Technology Inc.) 39 Series with two Mercury Engines fitted. 116 MPH. In the correct sense it is an Offshore Catamaran.
  • The (first) distinctive plane featured in the film is the Adam A500. There is another characteristic plane in the film, a Piaggio P180 Avanti, which brings Isabella at the Barranquilla airport, Colombia.
  • Like in the original TV series, Crockett and Tubbs drive around in a Ferrari. The model in the film is a Ferrari F430. Later in the movie, they drive a white BMW 645i Coupe, a possible tribute to a white Mercedes Benz they had during the first season.

Critical reception

Response to Miami Vice has been mixed. As of February 26, 2007, it holds a 65 "Generally Favorable Reviews" rating on Metacritic and a 48% "rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Miami Vice received positive notices from major publications including Rolling Stone, Empire magazine, Variety, Newsweek, New York Magazine, The Village Voice, The Boston Globe, Entertainment Weekly, and film critic Richard Roeper on the television program Ebert & Roeper. Additionally, New York Times critic Manohla Dargis declared it "glorious entertainment" in her year-end wrap-up and praised its innovative use of digital photography.

Still, the movie received a thumbs-down from The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times.

'Miami Vice' opened at No. 1 in the United States, with a first-weekend gross of $25.7 million. The film knocked Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest out of the number one position at the box office after Pirates led the box office for almost a full month. The movie went on to earn $63.5 million The movie did better business overseas, bringing in approximately $100 million in revenue which boosted the overall box office take to $163.8 million dollars worldwide helping to further surpass the reported $135 million dollar budget the movie took to make.

The film stands as one of Michael Mann's top three most financially successful movies, next to Heat and Collateral.


The RZA was supposed to contribute to the movie's score but dropped out for reasons unknown. Organized Noise jumped onboard instead.

Two songs which were featured in the original series are featured in the movie in one form or another.

Phil Collins' famous hit "In the Air Tonight", which was featured in the debut episode of the TV series, is featured in the movie and the soundtrack. The song, however, is a cover done by the rock band, Nonpoint.

And while original series composer, Jan Hammer, is completely absent from the movie and soundtrack, the track "A-500" is a homage to Hammer's "Crockett's Theme". It's featured in the sequence where Crockett and Tubbs fly out of Colombia early into the movie and incorporates the first three chords of Hammer's original song, but goes no further than that. This song is composed by Klaus Badelt and Mark Batson.

There are also several differences between versions of music which appear on the soundtrack and what has been featured in the film:

  • Of the first four songs featured in the film's first sequence inside The Mansion nightclub, three are on the soundtrack and Nina Simone's "Sinnerman" is the only song to be featured in its original form. Jay-Z and Linkin Park's "Numb/Encore" is not found on the soundtrack despite being heavily used to promote the movie (it was featured in both of the movie's trailers) and the fact that it's the first song in the film. Furthermore, the version of Goldfrapp's "Strict Machine" is the "We Are Glitter" remix of the song. and both it and Funky Chakra's "Blacklight Fantasy" are edits from Sasha's mix album, Fundacion NYC. Neither version appears on the soundtrack.
  • Clips of two Audioslave songs, "Wide Awake" and "Shape of Things to Come," are featured in the film but the songs do not appear on the soundtrack. This was possibly because the two songs were brand-new and were set to be featured on Audioslave's new album Revelations, which had a release date close to the movie.
  • The version of Moby's "Anthem" on the soundtrack does not appear in the film. Instead, prominent placement is given to Moby's "Cinematic Version" of the song.
  • King Britt's "New World in My View" is featured in the movie but is missing the spoken-word lyrics of Sister Gertrude. The song plays instrumentally in the background at one point in the movie.

Jamie Foxx, when voting for the Vice squad to continue to work with Yero, says, "Let's take it to the limit one more time," making a reference to The Eagles hit song, "Take It to the Limit". The song, however, is neither actually in the movie nor is it on the soundtrack.


Miami Vice was released to DVD on December 12, 2006. It contained many extra features the theatrical version did not and an extended cut of the movie itself. It is one of the first HD DVD/DVD combo discs to be released by Universal Studios. Miami Vice's HD-DVD was one of the best selling DVDs of 2006. The DVD debuted in third place (behind Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and Superman Returns) and managed to sell over a million copies (equivalent to about $16 million dollars) in its first week alone. As of February 11, 2007, Miami Vice had grossed over $36.45 million in rentals.

On August 26, 2008, Universal Studios released Miami Vice on Blu-ray.

Differences between the Theatrical & Director's Cuts

The Director's Cut of the movie runs approximately seven minutes longer than the Theatrical Cut of the movie and contains significant changes. In the Director's Commentary, Michael Mann notes that calling it a "Director's Cut" is "something of a misnomer" and says that the "Director's Cut" was really a result of the studio prodding him to make a different movie.

The differences are as follows:

  • In the director's cut, the movie now begins with an added four-minute sequence which includes credits and a boat race along the Miami marina. This leads into the introduction of the character Neptune, a pimp. Neptune makes a deal with Switek to give him access to his women and then Switek says to meet up at The Mansion, a ritzy club in South Beach Miami. This leads into the club scene (the theatrical version's start to the movie).
  • In the rated version, Farrell talks about how two "go-fast" boats running together look in darkness. He refers to them as "skill sets". In the unrated version, the "skill sets" line has been removed.
  • In the rated version, after both Crockett and Tubbs raid a warehouse for Jose Yero's load of drugs and subdue the guys responsible for the shipment, one of the men asks, "Do you know whose load this is?" prompting Tubbs to smack him in the head. The criminal replies with, "what are you doin, what are you doin". In the unrated version, his voice is slightly higher and he says "what are you doin'" before asking if they know whose load of drugs it is. The criminal then tells them, "It's Jose Yero's!"
  • In the unrated version, after Crockett, Tubbs and the rest of the Vice team visit Nicholas, Nicholas is shown making a phone call to Jose Yero. Nicholas says that Sonny and Rico are cool and that he vouches for them. Yero says that he better be right.
  • Following the phone call to Jose Yero, Tubbs is shown in the shower. He has his arms against the wall, his face near the water. This scene has been extended, slightly, in the director's cut to show Tubbs being a bit more contemplative before Trudy comes in to join him.
  • In the Director's Cut, the scene where Crockett and Tubbs have their identities on the USB flash drive passed around South America has been slightly recut to show somebody uploading the info onto the device.
  • In the director's cut, following the scene where Crockett and Tubbs meet Yero and then go to their hotel room, the sequence where Crockett and Tubbs go with the rest of the team to wait for contact from Yero and his people has been entirely deleted. Following that, the scene where Crockett and Tubbs go back to their room and then run into Isabella and Yero's gunmen has been deleted as well. The movie simply cuts from the first hotel scene to the meet with Yero's boss.
  • In the director's cut, following the meet-up, after they get out of Montoya's car, Tubbs becomes worried about Trudy (due to Montoya's veiled threat against their families) and attempts to call her. He does this repeatedly because their cell signals have been blocked. This is spliced with the regular theatrical sequence of Crockett staring at Isabella as they drive off.
  • A little further into this, the added sequence continues as Tubbs gets the signal back and gets a hold of Trudy. She thanks Tubbs for a beautiful bouquet of flowers that have been sent to her. Tubbs gets nervous and asks her there was a note that came with the flowers. Trudy reads the note and finds out that they're from Yero's boss. Tubbs says they should meet in Miami to have breakfast.
  • In the director's cut, following this, Tubbs and Trudy meet at the diner to talk. Crockett, Zito, Switek, and Gina blend into the background, both inside and outside the diner, to provide cover. Trudy is worried that their cover has been blown and Tubbs tries to reassure her that it isn't. Trudy says she's worried for everyone, not just herself.
  • The audio for Audioslave's "The Shape of Things to Come" comes up after a small gap of silence after Manzanita's "Arranca" fades out in the Director's Cut.
  • In the director's cut, after the first love scene between Crockett and Isabella, instead of cutting directly to Crockett and Isabella having drinks at a Havana café, there's an extra scene of Isabella saying hello to her Aunt with a cup of coffee in her hands. She goes upstairs and joins Crockett who is staring at the beach below Isabella's room. Isabella talks about her Aunt and her Mom and how her mother died when she was younger.
  • Because of the above added scene, the part of the café scene where Isabella mentions her mother dying when she was young has now been deleted from the Director's Cut. Instead, Isabella simply states that she will show Crockett a photo of her Mom.
  • Following the bit in the café, Isabella is shown going upstairs after retrieving a photo of her Mom to show Crockett. The stair-climb is deleted in the Director's Cut.
  • The talk between Crockett and Isabella outside of Yero's "disco" is cut just a little bit at the end and the beginning in the Director's Cut.
  • In the Director's Cut, the scene where Isabella and Crockett exchange glances on Yero's drug boat runs just slightly longer, having been slightly re-cut.
  • In the Director's Cut, the two scenes with Tubbs receiving e-mail from Yero and going over transport rules with the Vice squad as well as the shot, at night following that scene, has slight cut differences.
  • In the Director's Cut, after the trailer park druggies capture Trudy and force her to speak to Crockett and Tubbs, the main leader of the Aryan brotherhood calls Jose Yero BEFORE he calls Crockett and Tubbs instead of after.
  • There are small cuts when Tubbs visits a sleeping Trudy and when Isabella confronts Yero about the kidnapping of Trudy in the Director's Cut. Yero is seen at a different angle in the last shot before Crockett is doing a weapons check at the airport hangar.
  • The weapons and equipment check scene at the airport hangar is just slightly longer in the Director's Cut with more pauses in the dialogue between Crockett & Tubbs. The sequence also has different angles on Crockett & Tubbs as they speak with one another.
  • In the Director's Cut, the lead-up to the climactic battle now has Nonpoint's "In the Air Tonight" playing behind it.
  • The scene where Isabella runs after Crockett demanding to know who he is while shots are being fired has been cut differently.
  • Following this, there is an added scene where Isabella, angry at Crockett for lying to her, gets angry and proceeds to attack him as he drives to the safehouse, causing the car to spin out on the freeway. Isabella tries to escape but Crockett grabs her before she can and ties her arms behind her back so she cannot try anything else.
  • The safehouse scene is slightly longer than what is shown in the theatrical cut and shows Crockett taking longer to get settled and make his phone call and even cutting Isabella's hands free.
  • The credits in the Director's Cut are different. "In the Air Tonight" no longer plays first since it was already featured in the movie. They also roll up right away instead of doing a one-at-a-time centered fade of the cast and crew. The rolling credit music still features "One of These Mornings" and "Boat Race" by John Murphy.


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