I ran into critic, author, screenwriter and Cinevegas juror F.X. Feeney yesterday morning at a Palms Casino diner at the ungodly (by Las Vegas standards) hour of 8:15 am. We got into this and that, but mainly focused on the topics of Michael Mann and Miami Vice (Universal, 7.28)…and for good reason.

Feeney has seen a rough cut of Miami Vice as part of his research for the writing of the upcoming Taschen book on Mann, a massive 192-page visual/intellectual-orgasm coffee-table book that will hit bookstores sometime in early to mid August. (Feeney has also written a Taschen book about Roman Polanski.) Feeney says that it’s “unfortunate” that Miami Vice is saddled with that TV series title, since the geographical heart of the film occurs in a lawless triangle in South America at the nexus of the borders of Columbia, Venezuela and Brazil — an area in which all kinds international crime…not just drugs but kidnapping, arms dealing, human trafficking…goes on. I pressed Feeney about the heart of the film, and he said Miami Vice essentially turns on a wrenching emotional-ethical conflict about Colin Farrell ‘s Sonny Crockett, who’s working undercover in this criminal triangle area, being in love with Gong Li‘s Isabella, the Chinese-Cuban wife of an arms and drugs trafficker, and Crockett facing an obvious conflict in order to do his job. Feeney says that Jamie Foxx‘s Tubbs character has more screen time than Farrell, but emphasized that this view (again) is based on having seen a rough cut.