My Girl Crush on Gong Li & Why Miami Vice Is The Crime Film of the Future

8 Sep

miami-vice-008by Madeline Iva

I was thinking the other day, i.e. doing the dishes, and watching MIAMI VICE (the movie, not TV show) staring Gong-Li, Colin Farrell, and Jamie Foxx.  [SPOILERS abound below—you’ve been warned.]

FIRST LET US DISCUSS THE OUTRAGEOUS HOTNESS FACTOR OF THIS MOVIE: I mean really. Jamie Foxx. Damn. Colin Farrell–mullet, mustache and all, with those big brown eyes—damn. And Gong-Li. I’m a little gay for Gong-Li. If I had to sleep with one of them, I think Gong-Li would be my first pick, but I wouldn’t say no to a foursome.

The love story in the center of MIAMI VICE is like the rich gooey filling at the center of a chocolate bon-bon.  So good, and then it’s gone.  Whenever I finish watching the movie on DVD, I walk around afterwards a little dazed, still living in the movie, still clinging to that mood of desperate longing.

gong-liThe film has many wonderful aspects, yet MOSTLY I’M OBSESSED OVER GONG LI’S CHARACTER. Which is not to say it’s a perfect movie. Do I believe she’s Cuban-Chinese? Nah. Do I care? Not really, because while her accent isn’t so great, she is helping to eradicate the role of “the girl” in crime film movies.  Her role transcends decades of stereotypes.

SHE’S PART OF THE GANG – NOT JUST A TOY  So many of the small female roles in crime films are accessories—these women characters are there to lounge about on couches looking bored, sexy and rich. I cannot stand these women roles.  They are trophies, an equivalent to a car or designer piece of furniture and with about as much personality.

No, in this film, Gong Li is the number two in command. When the undercover cops meet face to face with the representative of the cartel, Jose Yero, and his instincts start to pick up on Colin Farrell—that something’s not quite right about him—It’s Gong Li’s character, lurking in the shadows who tells Jose to the cut the shit, stop wasting their time. She’s an integral part of the plot—the cartel’s white collar money manager, and she helps call the shots in collaboration with the king pin.

biz-womanHER RELATIONSHIP WITH THE BAD GUY: It’s got some murky corners, admittedly. Michael Mann doesn’t take the time to spell things out from A-Z. She’s with the bad guy, yes as his business partner/employee, but not just that.   They’re involved.

montoya

Montoya, the drug king pin, has brown bedroom eyes, and there are little flourishes to this small role that are compelling.

However, she points out to Colin Farrell that they’re not married. She says doesn’t need a husband to support herself or to own a house. And we’re left to fill in the blanks however we want. Open relationship? It’s okay if it’s just physical? Later, she strait up tells king pin that she’s slept with Colin Farrell. Not to hurt the bad guy—she tells him to clarify her actions, and to avoid secrets as they discuss their path forward in doing business with the team.  Yet neither does she explain her reasons why to him.  He’s free to interpret it however he wants.

Me? I’m just thrilled to death that our bad-girl-good-girl is not drawn along that false dichotomy of worthy monogamous partner/slut.  And her actions are pivotal to the plot. Towards the end, it’s her emotional betrayal that determines everyone’s fate.

WILD CARD!  Jamie Foxx’s character Ricardo Tubbs, warns Colin Farrell’s character, Crockett at one point that “she’s may be many things…but in the end, she’s with them.”

And she is with them – until she and Colin have such hot chemistry that she’s with him too.miami-vice-movie15

They meet in a business setting. They trade just one long look that no one sees the second time they meet, and when the time comes he goes for it. He offers to talk to her about business, one on one. Instead of answering, she says she wants a ride on his boat. Then she asks him what he likes to drink. He’s a fiend for mojitos so off they to Havana Cuba (her home ground, not his) where they dance and dive deeply into one another until Sonny is not sure which way is up.

But in their short time together, whether it’s business or personal–and they go back and forth between the two with extreme fluidity—they are peers. They are collaborative. It’s written into the script with a bit of clunky-ness, but they play it out better that it’s written—and I LOVE IT!   Their doomed relationship—the hotness—the there’s-no-way-this-can-end-well desperation: I just wiffle that sh** up.

sad-endI am also left with another kind of longing. I want to write stuff as diverse as this movie. I want to show a couple (though perhaps a pair that’s a little less doomed) who lose nothing of their smexy twisty factor from the characters being on an even plane. Sigh.

OTHER REASONS WHY I LOVE THIS FILM: the characters—the multi-dimensional, multi-cultural, hot, and mostly very rational characters are what I totally fall for. Yes, visuals are lush and grand—Miami at it’s stormy, dramatic best. The soundtrack is full of moody feels that adds to it all. But it’s the characters—always the characters that I come back to.filmboatrace

CRIME FILMS OF THE FUTURE: Michael Mann provided a diverse cast in a setting that calls out for diversity: Miami. He made a crime film that’s a convincing mixed stew of race and gender. In painting his cast with a melting pot brush, he doled out a heaping portion of the power, the action, the leadership, and the romance to the POC’s and the women.

The result is that all of the characters have agency—not just the leads, not just the white people, not just the men.

Jamie Foxx may be a supporting role, (i.e. he gets a bit less screen time than Colin Farrell), but he’s not a side kick. He has a relationship as well—and if you think they’re all set from the beginning, you’d be wrong. His girlfriend plays a major role in the plot—and yes, her life is at stake at one point, but she is not in any way a victim. She’s part of the team, she has a job, and she is the one who determines the way forward in the face of threats they face.

"That's not what happens. What will happen is... what will happen is I will put a round at twenty-seven hundred feet per second into the medulla at the base of your brain. And you will be dead from the neck down before your body knows it. Your finger won't even twitch. Only you get dead. So tell me, sport, do you believe that?"

“That’s not what happens. What will happen is… what will happen is I will put a round at twenty-seven hundred feet per second into the medulla at the base of your brain. And you will be dead from the neck down before your body knows it. Your finger won’t even twitch. Only you get dead. So tell me, sport, do you believe that?”

THEN THERE’S THAT ONE SCENE — MY FAVORITE SCENE: It coulda been a guy doing the scene. It could have been Ricardo or Crockett rolling under the building, drilling a hole, inserting a camera, and going into the bad guy’s lair first. Instead Michael Mann gave this role to a woman on their team. The next moment is a tense stand off as Gina goes up against a guy with a bomb trigger ready to blow them all up. It’s such a bad-ass scene. It’s definitely on the level of the best Dirty Harry moment—but it’s underplayed, explosive and elegant all at once. In other words–it’s the BEST EVER!!!! My favorite moment in the movie, truly.

THE BAD GUYS HAVE DEPTH AND COMPLEXITY:

The bad guys are Hispanic, Chinese, and White supremacists. They work together as bad guys do when they’re focused on making mega amounts of cash. And while the white bad guys are completely repugnant, the POC bad guys are almost as hot and interestingly complex as the main characters are.

EVERY SINGLE MINOR ACTOR WAS SO CRAZY GOOD:

I feel like I could hold an Oscars award just for the category of best supporting actor in this one film. There are so many contenders: Gina, the team member whom I described above. The police commander, Martin Castillo, who gets some great lines. (My sweetie and I will occasionally quote his lines to each other from time to time.) There is no one in the entire cast who is not brilliant.

John Ortiz -- the most unsung brilliant actor in Hollywood today.

John Ortiz — the most unsung brilliant actor in Hollywood today.

However, the standout performance for me is John Ortiz who plays Jose Yero. This guy is a tremendous character actor with an enormous range. He is sadly unsung in Hollywood. You’ve probably seen him in the Silver Lining Playbook, and if you have, you’d have a hard time recognizing him in this movie. He takes a repugnant role and makes it so compelling, interesting, and charismatic. He brought a depth of emotion to a psychopathic pig. And!!! He did it with no words, just looks–just in the way he interacts with people.

So check out MIAMI VICE if you haven’t already.  It’s a movie you can revel in over and over again.

Meanwhile, if you want some desperate hotness in your life, follow us at Lady Smut.

Madeline Ivaimgres writes fantasy, paranormal, and contemporary romance.  Her novella ‘Sexsomnia’ is available in our LadySmut anthology HERE, Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, will be available for pre-order Oct 1st and out November 1st, 2016.

 

3 Responses to “My Girl Crush on Gong Li & Why Miami Vice Is The Crime Film of the Future”

  1. Kiersten Hallie Krum September 8, 2016 at 4:55 pm #

    Wow. I couldn’t disagree more, and that’s with me *loving* Michael Mann movies. I watch this movie all the time, but as a train wreck, not out of love. One of the things I dislike most in the film is Gong Li’s character. She has zero chemistry with Crockett (and a dead woman has chemistry with Colin Farrell, so…) and most of their “romance” is silent staring b/c Gong Li had so little English ability when she made the film. (She speaks French, Chinese, and one or two other languages fluently, just not English. So this is not a “why doesn’t she speak English?” thing, merely a fact of which the commentary/BTS info at the time of the movie’s release made note.) This also makes her affect very flat and inhibits my belief that she holds any emotion whatsoever for Crockett. Also, what they did to Colin Farrell’s hair, and the mustache? No. Just no.

    Ricardo’s lady, now she’s a different story, and the action at the end is pretty intriguing and totally Michael Mann’s crazy, fluid, “realistic” style, but that’s also what makes so much of this film so hard to follow until you’ve watched it 2 or 3 times (closed captions help a lot). The soundtrack is so garbled, especially like in the club scene and that’s where the “realness” of the film needs to take a backstep to making sure the audience can hear and understand, even if it’s less realistic. Worse, the movie lacks the spirit and whacky fun the original series managed to maintain (something the A Team movie managed to pull off successfully IMO) even as it was plunging into heretofore unknown depths for a TV cop show. And the “romance” between Crockett and Lady What’s Her Name is so bad, I quickly mute and/or FF through those scenes every time.

    Eh, to each their own.

    Like

    • Madeline Iva September 8, 2016 at 8:48 pm #

      I agree the sound track is a bit garbled, and her English *not* the best — his stash (hmmmm) — but I thought they had mad chemistry. And I liked the way everybody kind of underplayed things. It wasn’t sentimental, it was fast and in a situation where everyone would be very guarded and holding their cards close to their chest these little bits of personality still come leaking through.

      And yeah, I agree — to each his own. But I think if you like the early Criminal Minds episodes where they try to reveal as little of their personal lives as possible because they don’t want the team profiling them–so when something does come out, you leap on it and gobble it up — if you like that kind of thing, you’ll like this movie.

      Like

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