Miami Vice (2006)

Starring: Colin Farrell, Jamie Foxx, Gong Li, Naomi Harris, Ciaran Hinds

Directed by: Michael Mann

Rating: 1 2 3 and a half

Jamie Foxx as Ricardo Tubbs and Colin Farrell as Sonny Crockett in Miami Vice

First there was Starksy and Hutch. Then there was The Dukes of Hazzard. Not to mention Bewitched, Thunderbirds, The Avengers and, um, Scooby Doo and The Flintstones. And now the latest TV series to be writ large on the cinema screen is that iconic '80s cop show, Miami Vice. But in stark contrast to its telly to cinema predecessors, this TV adaptation actually takes itself seriously - and is worth taking seriously too.

For starters, it's not set in the '80s (although nobody appears to have told Colin Farrell that, hence the greasy gold highlights, diddy ponytails and alarming porn star 'tache) which leaves us free of pastel suits with rolled up sleeves (but not designer stubble or, er, Phil Collins).

And for seconds, we have top notch action director Michael Mann at the helm - not a man known for slipping knob gags or banana skins into his movies - together with the decidedly superior thespian talents of the aforementioned Colin Farrell and Oscar winner Jamie Foxx as vice cops Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs. Darker than a night out with Tim Burton and filmed in grainy digital, complete with documentary-style shaky cam that swoops from breathtaking panoramic location shots to intrusive close ups that throw you right into the thick of the action, believe me, this is no brash, Technicolor '80s tribute.

But fear not! Just because the plot is serious (our uncompromising two tough guys go undercover to bring down an evil drug baron. or something), this doesn't mean we're denied our just desserts of glamour - or pale linen suits, for that matter. From the hot nightclub scene at the start (although since when were you last able to chat on your mobile on the dance floor?) via a speedboat trip to Havana and some cheesy Blow-style drug lord mansion scenes, there's plenty of slick and sexy style to feast your eyes upon. And plenty of sex, as well, incidentally.

Okay, so occasionally it does come on like an overlong episode of CSI Miami, without the Godlike Horatio Kane to bring order to the chaos as he slips on his aviator shades. Although being a Miami Dade CSI fanatic will help you decipher some of the obscure dialogue, which is liberally spattered with law enforcement acronyms and drug slang - and often delivered in thick, impenetrable accents as well, just to keep you on your toes.

Nice 'tache, not! Colin Farrell as Crockett and Gong Li as Isabella in Miami Vice

However, it's the classy action scenes at the end of the film that both save and steal the show. The final good guy/bad guy confrontation is nail bitingly tense and claustrophobic, machine guns popping like fireworks as we witness what appears to be a real, strategic FBI shoot out, instead of the usual trigger happy, camera friendly carnage.

Short on characterisation and depth (Crockett has an eye for the main chance and Tubbs has a girlfriend - this appears to be the main difference between our identikit heroes) and long on style and, well, running time, Miami Vice is nevertheless a supercool action flick that's head and shoulders above the rest usual summer multiplex fodder (Snakes on a Plane, anyone?). Although I still say Horatio would've sorted the situation in half the time.

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