Cliche-ridden and packed-to-the-brim with FM radio staples, Miami Vice turns out to nevertheless (or because of those factors) work brilliantly in this TV-to-movie form. This edit doesn't exactly feel like a feature film, but rather a couple of pilots or TV movies stitched together. For newcomers who might be taken aback by how gritty and cinematic this show really is, it's more than enough to help one get over plot threads that might have been seen many times before, thanks to the craft of Michael Mann and the powerful performances by the leads. Miami Vice is a neon nightmare and the barely-above-VHS quality of this edit actually added to its 80s appeal for me. I can hardly wait to watch the next installment in this trilogy. Anyone who loves 70s cop procedurals and 90s breakthrough network dramas like X-Files and West Wing owe it to themselves to see this evolutionary step between those two eras.
Overview - Extend the Miami Vice pilot to include “Calderone’s Return” (E04-E05).
Video - 512 X 384p AVC. The picture quality is a little soft, particularly in the pilot. Colours and sharpness improve during the second half. Editing is fine. A bit choppy during commercial breaks, though not a major issue. This is a huge ass file, 9.4 GB, which doesn’t seem right for the video size.
Audio - 317 kbps AAC. 2 Channel stereo. No subs. Dialogue is clear. The sound struck me as compressed, likely in keeping with TV from the 80s. Good for hearing conversations, less so if you desire gunfire, music, revving engines to roar from you speakers.
Narrative - Pretty good about staying focused on “the Columbian,” the slippery Calderone. Future series dynamics are touched on (Rodriguez, and Sonny’s family). I though some of the driving scenes went on too long, as did the boat trip to and from the Bahamas.
Enjoyment - It has been ages since I watched the pilot. There are clumsy comic elements that would quickly disappear, along with Sonny’s kid and Lt. Rodriguez. I was always a big fan of this show, especially the later seasons. This does have a dated look to it. To be honest, I have shows from the 60s and 70s that look a hell of a lot better.
I liked this, but I have doubts post 90s viewers would appreciate as much.
I can't imagine how this would play for somebody who grew up in the 90s or later, but I was totally into it. Would it seem old and cheesy? Would the style and montage moments gradually work their magic on a new generation? I can't quite turn off my blinders, because I just loved this show so much as a kid. For me, going back and watching this was thoroughly enjoyable.
Okay, some technical stuff. My copy looked like it was sourced from old VHS tapes. I imagine the image quality of the source is to blame, so I can't slam it too much, but it sure didn't look very clean. Editing-wise, it was great though. You couldn't recognize what was part of one episode and part of another most of the time. Audio edits were great as well, though I could've used some of the voice levels being raised in some of the quiet conversation scenes.
As far as narrative, this essentially breaks down into a movie with 2 halves. In the first half, Tubbs pursues Calderon to Miami, and in the second half, Calderon strikes back "6 months later", eventually leading the guys to the Bahamas to try to bring him down. The 2nd half is definitely not quite as strong as the first, mostly due to the source material. You can just tell that they didn't spend as much money on the camera work, and some of the supporting cast just aren't very good actors. But all-in-all, it's a pretty great bookend to the first half, and it feels like there are real stakes (though it is a little weird that Crockett isn't more pissed about losing his family and almost dying due to Calderon!) There's only one weird bit: a long montage during the boat ride to the Bahamas with flashbacks from things we've just seen in the last hour. It would've worked great during the TV show, but when it's all together as a movie, it's totally unnecessary. I'd rather have spent that 5 minutes on a couple of scenes to help flesh out Crockett's relationship with his wife. It's pretty unclear for half the film, and I'd have liked to see more of the estrangement, and then whatever the conversation was that led them to try to work it out. Just a small gripe, though.
Overall, for any old fans, this definitely holds up and is a great ride. I wish I could give an objective view too, but I'm just giddy looking forward to the next film in the series! Thanks, RangerKris.
I never watched this show. Not really sure why, maybe headed off to college and thought I was too cool for it. But I know it was popular, and suppose I can see why. Thanks for putting together a condensed format by which I can finally check it out. As usual, I'm not the best source for reviewing audio visual quality because I don't have a high-end system, but as usual the editing of both seemed clean. The narrative made sense and I enjoyed it, partly just to be transported back to the height of my teenage years. The jacket over T-shirt thing will always be classic.
I've watched a handful of episodes of Miami Vice, but was never a big fan. This fanedit is a pretty damn good introduction for newcomers, and I'm sure MV fans would get a kick out of it.
A/V Quality - I understand that the show isn't available on Blu-Ray, only through "sub-par" DVD, the quality is quite bad. There's a lot of pixelation and compression artifacts, especially in the pilot episode. And I really don't understand why it's a 9 GB MP4. The editor says it's that big because of the "additional grading and audio enhancement that was needed" but I have no clue what he means. Honestly this would have been better as a nice 4 GB DVD5.
Editing - Superb work!
Narrative - Nicely executed overall. It can't help but feel like two long episodes stitched together, but the story flows nicely.
Enjoyment - I dug watching this (despite the quality issues) and will most likely check out Ranger's next installments.