Thursday, July 5, 2007

List of vices require fancy cars

One of summer’s hottest movies, Miami Vice, has an opening scene wherein a twitchy informant arranges a swift meeting with undercover cops Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs. As the informant arrives, a Bentley car is revealed. And in a Ferrari car, the cops roll up.

Since Don Johnson first donned a white linen jacket over a pink T-shirt, automotive style has been a part of Miami Vice, where cars definitely haven't taken a back seat. Johnson's Sonny Crockett drove a black Ferrari Daytona, a car that is at par today as it did in 1984. Paul Ferriss of the National Post writes that the sense of timelessness is roughly repaying “by Crockett's use of a portable phone the size of his forearm and by the fact that, on the way to the climactic meeting with a drug lord, he pulls his Ferrari up at a phone booth to call his ex-wife.”

According to the Internet Movie Database, the Daytona was not a Ferrari at all but a modified Corvette. This was a fact verified by a Ferrari North America spokesman who affirms that the disguised car has taken on near-legend status among both movie and car eccentrics. Ferrari executives were so angered by this - they offered the use of a new Testarossa to replace what they considered to be a hate. Complete with its camper van-sized driver's mirror, the white Testarossa resides at the Swap Shop Flea Market in Sunrise, Fla. But calls to the swap shop weren't returned.

The Ferrari F430 that appeared in the movie version of Miami Vice is the result of a product placement deal designed to enhance Ferrari's image in North America.

Marco Mattiacci, vice-president of marketing for Ferrari North America, said their company believes it never hurts to show its cars in a positive light, driven as only God and Enzo intended aggressively by Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx. He added Ferrari has used product placement in movies (Charlie's Angels 2) and TV shows (Desperate Housewives, The Sopranos) to help indorse its products for the past three to four years. He further said Ferrari has an important relationship with the entertainment industry; proofs are company's previous relationship with the TV show and Michael Mann, the series' executive producer and the movie's co-writer and director, is a Ferrari owner and duff.

But Ferrari was not the only automaker that was exhibited in the movie. SUVs are the vehicles of the drug runners and neo-Nazis that battle against Crockett and Tubbs. As the film opens, two white Range Rovers dropped off some bad guys at a disco. Later, to do some showdown with the cops, some villains drive their GMC Yukons and Cadillac Escalades, while the cops roll up in a white BMW 6 Series and a black Dodge Charger.

Robert Thompson, director of The Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University in Syracuse, N.Y., said that cool cars can make an impression but have a limited amount of screen time in movies, whereas, on TV, they can develop over time.


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