H D - S E N S E I

A view on Hi-def DVDs by Gary W. Tooze


Introduction: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 7500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

Samsung HPR4272 42" Plasma HDTV
Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD player (firmware upgraded)

Sony BDP-S300 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player (firmware upgraded)
Sony DVP NS5ODH SD-DVD player (region-free and HDMI)

Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

Gary W. Tooze








Miami Vice - Unrated Director's Cut Edition [Blu-ray DVD]


(Michael Mann, 2006)

Review by Gary W. Tooze

Video codec: VC-1
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 2.4:1

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, DUB: French DTS 5.1

English SDH, Spanish, French, none

50GB Blu-ray Disc



• Full-length audio commentary from director Michael Mann
• Featurette: Miami Vice Undercover (480-  13:03)
• Featurette: Shooting on Location (480 - 10:01)
• Featurette: Visualizing Miami Vice (480 -12:42)
• Behind the Scenes Featurette:

Gun Training (480)

Haitian Hotel Camera Blocking (480)

On the Boat (480 - 4:25)
• Blu-ray U-Control Features; Picture-in-Picture' - Tech Specs, GPS, Cast Bios, Production Photos


Feature: 37.6 Gig
Disc: 50GB (dual-layered)

Released: August 26th, 2008
Standard Blu-ray case
24 chapters


Product Description:
Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell go deep undercover in the explosive, action-packed Miami Vice Unrated Director's Edition! When detectives Ricardo Tubbs (Foxx) and Sonny Crockett (Farrell) are asked to investigate the brutal murders of two federal agents, they find themselves pulled into the lethal world of drug traffickers. From the acclaimed director of Heat and Collateral comes an exclusive motion picture experience you won't want to miss!





The Film:

First, this is a Michael Mann film, which means it’s populated with good-looking men, women, cars, and clothes that all radiate an existential malaise that you will not find in your typical Michael Bay helmed summer action blockbuster. Miami Vice pulsates with an energy that only Mann’s digital photography can capture, so much so that even when Crockett (Colin Farrell) and Tubbs (Jamie Foxx) do nothing but strike poses, there is something breathtaking about it. The camera is always there; close enough that you might be able to make out the designer label on their suits, or possibly catch a whiff of Crocket’s after-shave lotion. Sure, this might all sound superficial, and in a sense, it is, but in a Michael Mann film, vocation, demeanor and style typically define his characters.

Excerpt from Richard X's review at The Film Lounge located HERE

Video: NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc. After watching close to 150 Blu-rays and reviewing about 100 so far I am starting to get a strong handle on what can be expected from a 1080P digital transfer. In the beginning I thought everything looked fabulous - as I was comparing the image resolution to SD-DVD. But now, being somewhat more discerning, I'd say that Miami Vice falls very close to the very middle of what I have seen, in terms of visual quality, - probably in the lower 50%. It looks very competent, clean with varying degrees of visible noise although instances of exceptional detail are not as prevalent as some may have hoped. Colors can look bright and true. As most people know this was shot on digital (as opposed to film). Many filmmakers like the versatility advantages of this modern option but, to me anyway, it can look a shade flat and glossy as well as tending to accentuate the existing noise. I'm not a big fan as of yet. Technically it exceeds the older dual-layered HD-DVD edition as it takes up 37.6 Gig of discs space on the Blu-ray - this is in excess of the capacity of the defunct HD-DVD format. So in the end I wouldn't say this is of demo quality for the image (although some of the audio portions are very strong - see below). Bottom line is that it looks 'good', far better than SD and probably its HD counterpart, but doesn't scale the heights that we anticipate Blu-ray to advance. I hope the large screen grabs can give you a good idea of how it will perform on your system.   

Screen Captures














Audio: The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 has some darn strong moments and supports the action sequences of Miami Vice with some buoyancy. Both subtle and more explosive audio effects find there was to the rear speakers with some alacrity. John Murphy's music of the film melds quite wonderfully with the tropical visuals and more dynamic sequences. I'd say that the sound quality exceeded the visuals on this Blu-ray. I expect some fans will find the audio strength of this Blu-ray very thorough - exceeding the older HD quite dramatically in some instances! There is an untested French DTS 5.1 DUB offered in my edition. There are optional English (SDH), French or Spanish subtitles available. 

Extras: For the 'Unrated Director's Cut' Michael Mann gives a beneficial commentary. He's turned into a journeyman filmmaker and has much to impart. Mann has become fairly good at descriptions and relaying anecdotes at appropriate times. It would seem a tough job, for some, to fill the, almost, 2 1/2 hours - and there are gaps - but Mann does an admirable job. There are also about 35 minutes worth of, rather mundane, featurettes in 480 resolution; Miami Vice Undercover, Shooting on Location and Visualizing Miami Vice. These look to also be from previous editions as do the shorter segments on Gun Training, Haitian Hotel Camera Blocking and On the Creation of the Boat. Its very positive to see Universal advancing with its Blu-ray options by including the interactive navigation of U-Control Features; that being 'Picture-in-Picture' - Tech Specs, GPS, Cast Bios, Production Photos. It's a bit gimmicky at present but one can visualize this option gaining some great popularity when alternative dissemination of information is utilized. Overall, you'd have to say this is a pretty stacked set of supplemental material with some effort gone into its development. Universal should be commended. All said and done, I expect the commentary will export the most value but the other features and bells + whistles are duly noted and appreciated.    


BOTTOM LINE: For better or worse this film gets comparisons to the popular TV series. Mann was probably the perfect choice to bring it to the big screen with his penchant for style emphasis. Actually, I think he did a fine job and the film is entertaining as a crime thriller with romantic overtones. I was a bit underwhelmed by Farrel, thought Foxx was strong support and Gong Li is always a pleasure to see perform. This Blu-ray is imperfect but the definitive way to see Miami Vice - coming closest to its theatrical roots. For fans I'd say it' may be worth it for the audio alone although both the extras and, less exhilarating, image likewise support a healthy, Blu-ray package. It's not a resounding thumbs-up - but it is a thumbs-up regardless.

Gary Tooze
August 19th, 2008



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