Sunday, June 08, 2008

Michael Mann Calls You "Sport" Before You Get Shot

I did that thing the other night again, landing in the place halfway between not being able to get to sleep and waking up way too early.

Either way, I was too useless to try to do anything productive, so I decided to dip into my stack of unwatched DVDs. I chose Michael Mann's Miami Vice of 2006.

It did not put me to sleep. Although I'm a little surprised that it didn't -- it takes a while to get rolling. And even when it does, it drags in places -- most notably, during the courtship of Colin Farrell and Gong Li. Of the rendered judgments of the movie, this is the one I agree with the most -- it's flat, and if there was any chemistry there, it didn't show up on film.

The narrative is a little disjointed -- it feels like it's missing something: as if it belongs in a four-episode arc of a series. Especially the ending, which is kind of weak on its own.

I wouldn't rank it among Michael Mann's best works. However, it does have a few bits of great dialogue, including this doozy delivered by Detective Gina Calabrese (played by Elizabeth Rodriguez) to a hostage-taker who says he's going to push a button and blow up everyone in the room:
"That's not what happens. What will happen is... what will happen is, I will put a round at 2,700 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?"
The visual works better when you see she's behind a Heckler & Koch G-36C when she's saying it:

I just can't see "dude" working as well in this context.

Now, besides the word "medulla," the other word that you don't hear very much is "sport" (at least, not as a term of address, and certainly not one outside of crazy uncles and 1950s sitcoms).

One other place you'll hear sport used like this is Michael Mann's 1986 movie Manhunter -- the line comes from Will Graham, as he's about to get serious about catching the bad guy:

"It's just you and me now, sport."

You know he's serious, as he's looking out at the rain. Also, that he's smart, since he's not getting wet.

In conclusion... well, I didn't really have a conclusion. I had a digression -- looking up Manhunter surfaced an interesting YouTube video, which led to the start of a much more involved discussion about the merits of Michael Mann's Manhunter version Brett Ratner's Red Dragon (hint: Manhunter is better) but that will have to wait.

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