A Failed Colin Farrell Reboot Is Trending On Streaming

By Nathan Kamal | 23 hours ago

colin farrell

Colin Farrell famously spent the early 2000s as only of Hollywood’s new It-Guys, tagged to be a star ever since his breakout role in Joel Schumacher’s 2000 Vietnam War drama Tigerland. Even more famously, as his star rose in the film industry with generically thrilling but highly grossing movies like Phone Booth and The Recruit, so did his personal issues with drugs and alcohol. By 2006, he essentially had become one of the most famous leading men in the world, then went to rehab and emerged a few years later to star in quirky indie dramas. Colin Ferrell’s last major film before he (for a time) abandoned Hollywood was Michael Mann’s Miami Vice, the adaptation of the hit 1980s cop show. Currently, Miami Vice is one of the top ten most-watched movies on HBO Max, which says a lot for a movie that barely made its budget back and was savaged by critics at the time. 

Colin Farrell

2006 was a fruitful year for all the primary players in Miami Vice. Colin Ferrell was just coming off Oliver Stone’s Alexander, which cast him as the titular Macedonian world-conqueror, and Terrence Malick’s The New World, in which he played the colonialist Captain John Smith. His co-star Jamie Foxx, meanwhile, had recently won an Academy Award for portraying Ray Charles and had already worked with director Michael Mann in the Tom Cruise hitman thriller Collateral. Mann himself was at a career-high after racking up several years’ worth of critical acclaim with Heat, The Insider, and Ali. So what happened with Miami Vice?

For one thing, the plot of Miami Vice is borderline incomprehensible. Colin Farrell stars as Miami detective James “Sonny” Crockett (the role played in the show by Don Johnson) and Jamie Foxx plays his partner Ricardo “Rico” Tubbs (previously portrayed by Philip Michael Thomas). The movie shifts between scenes of nightclubs full of dancing, scantily clad people, and dimly lit interrogations by Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx, but what they are trying to do exactly is difficult to follow without a guide. Fortunately, Miami Vice does not demand a whole lot of narrative cohesion.

Most of the film consists of the lead actors looking thoughtful, anguished, or thoughtfully anguished. Even with Colin Farrell’s character look, which can be described as “Billy Ray Cyruscore,” it has to be admitted he was at the height of his 2000s beauty and Jamie Foxx is always a good hand with a flat stare. There is also a bewildering number of scenes of both of them showering. But as a movie, it can generally be described as “no plot, just vibes,” which audiences and critics of the time did not much appreciate. 

The original Miami Vice series was famed for its flashy, MTV-style editing, pop music needle drops, and the chemistry between Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas. In the film adaptation, Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx rarely even seem to look at each other, let alone banter. The movie also deliberately holds back as long as possible to utilize the iconic theme song, Phil Collins’ “Something in the Air Tonight,” apparently at Michael Mann’s insistence. A cover of the song by nu-metal band Nonpoint plays over the end credits, which shows how much anyone seemed interested in engaging with any of the iconography or tone of the original. 

Miami Vice made $164 million at the box office; against a $135 million budget, it qualified as a financial failure, especially considering the drawing power of both Colin Ferrell and Jamie Foxx at the time. It also flopped critically, currently holding a 47% on Rotten Tomatoes. Reportedly, the production was troubled behind the scenes, with Jamie Foxx demanding both top billing and for Colin Farrell’s pay to be lower than his own. Allegedly, he also did not want to film scenes on boats or planes, which is probably a problem for a movie almost exclusively set on boats and planes. 

To be fair, Colin Farrell also did not help things. According to the actor, he was in such a state of perpetual intoxication during the filming of Miami Vice that he does not remember a single frame of making the movie and was immediately transported to rehab after principal photography. However, of all the movies he could have forgotten being a part of, he should probably be happy that Miami Vice is one of them.