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Michael Mann hit another home run with this movie. He hit it out of the park with the Miami Vice TV series, and then came back years later to take what the TV show was all about, and condense it all into one film. Some guys out there are saying that the series was better, but I don't think so. I think the series Pilot episode was fantastic, and I'll be reviewing that shortly.

Mann's trademark in his films is making his locations characters in the movie. Here, we get to feel the vibe of Miami and a taste of Cuba. This is exactly what I was expecting. I am not disappointed.

Let me say a word about the gunplay in this flick. It is done very well. Michael Mann ordered a lot of training for Collateral. As a result, when Tom Cruise pulls his handgun and goes to work on some thugs – it is textbook. The same can be said of Miami Vice. So pay attention.

If you have the Directors Cut DVD, (I suggest you get it) the movie opens with an offshore powerboat race. The photography work is amazing and really makes you feel like your there. What does this have to do with Miami Vice? Well, in the series, racing boats was the cover Sonny Crocket had to get undercover and into hooking up with the bad guys for some running. This was a nice touch throwing a hat tip to the old series.

I like Collin Ferrell as an actor. He works hard being his character and has becomes his character, you can't see him acting because he isn't... he is Sonny Crocket. A lot of guys don't like Collin Ferrell because he is Collin Ferrell, but I think he's alright. Sure, he sucked in Daredevil, but that's because it was Daredevil and everyone sucked in that one.

Jammie Fox is the same way, you can't see him acting because he is Tubbs, he is the character. Fox is a force of nature in this flick. Because of this, we have a flick where the acting raises the bar. This is a mark of a great director. One who demands and pushes his actors to get it right.

The first guns that we see in this flick are shown during an ambush. A Russian - Aryan Nation type gang hits a pair of FBI agents. Hard. The first gun we really see is a pair of Barrett .50 caliber sniper rifle. The military uses these for long range sniping. This gang uses them to make sure the FBI agents are really and truly dead. The way that Mann shot this ambush sequence is interesting... they really did shoot .50BMG through the car like that... that is exactly how it would really look. Gruesome. .50's can make a human being look like a prairie dog when hit with a high power rifle. Now, would the bad guys really have weapons like this? Could they have them? Yeah, it's a possibility. You can buy semi auto .50 calibers legally. They are expensive weapons, but if this gang is hooked up like this gang is supposed to be, and if they wanted to make a statement... then they could use one realistically. It is important to note though, that gangs do not use .50BMG rifles. No one does outside of the military or long range rifle competition. They just don't do it. At 5 bucks a shot, and 7500 bucks for the rifle, it is just too expensive. Possible, but unlikely.

The other gang members are packing a variety of weapons, one of which is a chopped down M-16 type rifle. Short barrel, 30 round magazine, flat top. Nice muzzle flash. It looks good on film. Again, this is possible. AR-15 rifles are easy to convert to full auto. Gangmembers could have purchased any number of AR rifles and then picked up M-16 parts from a number of sources. If this gang is rolling around with .50 calibers, them splurging for a few M-16 parts kits is nothing. The fact that converting AR-15's into full autos is a huge felony is probably the least of their concerns.

After the ambush and some discussion, our heroes need to take down a fast boat operation. They want it to look like a hit from a rival gang. To breach the door Tubbs uses an interesting weapon. This is a 40MM grenade launcher loaded with buckshot. If you wanted to blow a lock, this is also a very unlikely weapon selection, but like the .50, it is in the realm of possibility. The 40MM shotshells pack a lot of pellets, more than any 12 gauge. But they are lower velocity than out of a regular shotgun because of the much shorter barrel. Yes, it could blow a lock like that... but the film shows only 5 pellets impacting the door. I might be wrong, but I thought that 40MM shotshells packed about 25 (at least) 000 buck pellets. A 12 gauge will pack 5 000 buck So I think they used that to shoot the door from the outside. Just a guess. Then when the truck backs into the door, we see a different door with a different hit pattern, one that has a lot more holes. A little editing issue here or just a lack of continuity? Tubbs uses his 40MM to blow the door, then enters with a SIG P220 .45 raised and ready to rock. Nice handgun. I love the P220. I wish I still had mine. The SIG is popular with law enforcement all over the world.

The foxy lady on the team, Gena, is packing an HK G36C carbine. This is a chopped down version of the German Army G36 rifle. A fancy gun for a Vice team, but not unlikely. The G36C lacks the built in optical gunsight, but has all the other goods such as fantastic reliability and good ergonomics. And very good accuracy for such a short rifle like this. They are expensive, not all that common, and very cool. Could this weapon be used by a Miami LEO? Yes. HK does sell them to Officers when they are authorized by the department. So if she really wanted one, she could get one. Weight is probably a reason she wanted that one. They are light.

Crockett is packing an equally interesting weapon, a SIG 552. Remember the movie Ronin? This is a shorter version of that one. This is one of the better carbines out there, but really not all that special. I like the fact that it has a folding stock. Making a long gun short and easy to stow away is a huge advantage. Later there is a seen where we see Crockett pull this carbine out of a small gym bag. That advantage isn't just a tactical one, but also a practical one. Smaller weapons are just flat out easier to pack around. Extend the stock and that small package becomes a full power, fully stable rifle. You are only loosing maybe a couple hundred feet per second. Not a difference that a bad guy would feel inside ranges a law enforcement officer would engage in.

Both of these rifles I just talked about have reliability advantages over AR-15/M-16 type weapons. Namely because they have gas pistons and operating rods instead of the M-16's direct gas impingement. This means that they wont gum up like M-16's can.

In the scene where Crockett and Tubbs meet with the head evil dude who's in the three big SUV's... his security goons are packing some serious heat. One guy has a full sized Uzi, while another one has an FN Para-FAL. A folding stocked version of the FN FAL. This is the most desirable the FAL types. A heavy weapon for a goon, the FAL rifle is a .308 shooting from a 20 round magazine. These are one of my favorite rifles. I had one once, sold it to a friend and I really wish I didn't. I am a dumbass.

We see in one instance that Trudy packs a small black S&W. It looks like it could be a CS9 Chief's Special, but we are not sure. We only see it very briefly. A good gun as I have reviewed one before. This is a good choice for Trudy. She is not a field agent, just a technical asset supporting the operations. She only needs a defensive pistol and in this role the CS9 is ideal.

We see in a couple of places where Crockett checks out his pistol. He's packing a compact 1911 .45. This is a great choice for Crockett. Simple, reliable, and accurate enough for a 1911 of its size. At first I couldn't tell what kind of pistol this was exactly, but in the scene when Crockett and Tubbs are staging out of an aircraft carrier later in the movie, I can see that the pistol has porting in the slide and barrel, no sights, and a bull barrel. At first I thought this is a Detonics Combat Master, of a configuration that they didn't make very many of. It was a configuration they did for the CIA. A perfect choice for Crockett who needs a small gun to carry undercover but will need a strong fight stopper when he pulls it out. Crockett had a Detonics in the original series. But this one isn't a Detonics. It is an STI Tiki. Same idea as the Detonics, but made by a company that specializes in competition guns. This gives insight into Crockett. He takes his guns very seriously. You don't see very many STI's in law enforcement.

Tubbs gets to fly a very cool little aircraft. An Adams A-5 500. A Burt Rutan design. High powered, fast, and capable of doing exactly what is shown in the movie. A very slick aircraft. Exactly the kind of plane a smuggler would wish they had. Burt Rutan is a Mad Scientist when it comes to aircraft design. They are different, but they work well. I remember seeing one at the EAA airshow in OshKosh... it was a small plane like this one, but it had a jet engine on one side, and a big freaking gattling gun on the other side. Amazing maneuverability. Not a lot of survivability though.

I can't talk about Miami Vice without talking about the Ferrari. The series has Crockett driving a Daytona Spider. This new one, I'm not sure which model Ferrari it is, but damn... it is awesome.

The Trailer Park assault. Gena and Crockett are packing their carbines while Tubbs is toting a nice Benelli M4 shotgun. If you want a semi auto fighting shotgun, Benelli is the only way to go.

He puts it down and picks up a pizza box. To get the bad guys to open the door with their guard down.

As soon as the badguy opens the door, they move. Tubbs takes down the guy at the door and Gena moves in and takes control of the room. As Tubbs comes back in, we see that he didn't go in with this shotgun, but transitioned to his SIG P220.

The Boss man has an M-4 carbine with a Surefire fore end light and an AimPoint M2 optical gunsight.

The scene where Gena shoots the guy holding the detonator is a classic. And she is right... about everything. In the DVD if you slow it down you can see that she puts her round through the guy's upper lip. From her angle, the slug would blow through the teeth, just under the roof of his mouth, and crash through the back of his throat and into the medulla oblongata, where it would shut his body off like a switch. The possibility of a twitch is there, but it would be involuntary twitching and nothing the bad guy would have any control over because his mind is no longer connected to anything. He would die very quickly.  In fact, he would be dead before he hit the ground.

There is a scene where the bad guy shows the boss bad guy a video tape of the chick and Crockett dancing. Notice that the bodyguards are armed with some nice guns... Steyr TMP's. Very nice submachineguns.

After the trailer scene, our heroes are forced into a nasty situation where they have to walk into a trap. Their advantage is that they know it is a trap and they have a plan.

One of the shooters with the .50 BMG rifle, a Barrett btw, has a Trijicon ACOG on top of his gun. This is a good scope for shooting in low light, but it isn't a sniper scope. This is probably something one might use if you are not shooting at long range and you are in low light like they are. If you notice the cops sighting in on the bad guy snipers, we see the reticle. By the shape of it, and that it is illuminated, I can tell that the police are using Nightforce scopes. These scopes are awesome. One thing I like about them is that the reticles are lazer etched into the glass and are not made of thin wire. This gives the scope added strength in an area that a scope is traditionally weak in. The cops are also using a Remington 700, most likely in .308. Not a bad rifle for the money, great shooters. When the police sniper fires, all hell breaks loose. As hell breaks loose, we have one of the Vice team members in close proximity with the bad guys. He has a Benelli, same as the one Tubbs used earlier. Tubbs has his own here. They both use them to great effect, sweeping targets of opportunity. The gun fight here is one of the best ever filmed. It is fast, brutal, and realistically done. The weapons handling, the maneuvering... very well done.

Coleman, the lead thug is armed with an HK G3. Most likely stolen from Mexico. You can see the amount of firepower that a full auto .308 can deliver. You can also see that it is not exactly the most effective in full auto fire. Coleman is taken down hard by Crockett in a nice move of shooting under the SUV Coleman was using for cover. However, bullet wounds to the head, especially rifle hits, do not look like that. Clean, no blood, with a raised ridge around the hole. That could have been done better. Rifle hits to the head typically deform the whole head if not opening it up like a rotten melon.

Tubbs takes down the drug runner guy with his 40MM. Guns don't throw people through the air usually, but that much lead hitting a body like that... I don't know... maybe it could. Probably not, but it looked awesome on film. Didn't it?




Copyright G H Hill 1999-2012

Graphic Artwork by Martin White



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