Mann’s Ruin : ‘Vice Is Nice (If You Ignore Colin Farrell)

I was begining to feel a little guilty about the totally gratuitious jibes aimed at thespian/cretin Colin Farrell in the latest edition of the Matador News Update. I mean, for one thing, we should be totally grateful that the producers of “Miami Vice” have chosen to showcase one of our fledgling artists (in this case, Mogwai) on a major label soundtrack album (one that features the former vocalist of the Vatican Commandos, too!). But no, I had to fuck things up for everyone by focusing on something completely besides the point — How Much Colin Farrell Sucks.

Well, I’m not the only one. The New York Times’ A.O. Scott, while hailing Michael Mann’s “Miami Vice” as “an action picture for people who dig experimental art films, and vice versa,” also choose to single out one of the film’s stars for special praise. Colin Farrell isn’t one of them.

Mr. Farrell, however, is a movie star only in the sense that Richard Gephardt is president of the United States. He’s always looked good on paper, and he’s picked up some endorsements along the way — from Oliver Stone, Joel Schumacher and Terrence Malick, among others — but somehow it has never quite happened. Here he squints and twitches to suggest emotion and slackens his lower lip to suggest lust, concern or deep contemplation, but despite his good looks he lacks that mysterious quality we call presence.

Mr. Mann’s script has its share of silly, overwrought lines, but they only really sound that way in Mr. Farrell’s mouth. (Did he really say, “I’m a fiend for mojitos”? ¡Dios mío!) When he’s not on screen, you don’t miss him, and when he is, you find yourself, before long, looking at someone or something else. Gong Li. A boat. A lightning bolt illuminating the humid summer sky.