Reviews

Miami Vendetta (1986)

You drive cars. You eat sandwiches. You pet dogs. You drink alcohol. You talk on the phone. And, you drive more cars. That’s life. And that’s essentially what happens in Miami Vendetta. What am I trying to say?

Cop’s Girlfriend: “How you doin’, birthday boy?”

Cop: “I feel like I’ve been dragged through the asshole of hell.”

How YOU doin’, Miami Vendetta?

This is brutal. Not in a visceral sense, like Cannibal Ferox. Not in an emotional sense, like Husbands. But in a newly-minted Miami Vendetta sense. For this is a film which is so determined not to engage us that it becomes notable for that very fact. A shot-on-video “action”/”thriller” concerning an expressionless cop and his quest for Cuban political justice (seriously), Miami is the polar opposite of Desperation Rising. Where that film is a self-consuming odyssey through the bowels of crackhead experimentation, Miami is a guy painting his apartment neon green. Plus, the cars, sandwiches, telephones, etc. Now, that’s a good time to me. I’ll watch that. But I can’t recommend it.

Miami Vendetta has its moments. The first 25 minutes are quite wonderful. It’s like a bunch of A-Team-loving kids saw a few minutes of Serpico on cable, got freaked out, and grabbed a camcorder. Synth-waves constantly crash. People spew forth hilarious outbursts (“I’M IN A TUNNEL AS BLACK AS YOUR ASSHOLE!”). There’s some mild gore. But then, we settle in. The synths mysteriously dry up, and with them, the movie. At this point Miami becomes impossible to watch, but semi-entertaining to talk about.

For instance, one-time director-writer-producer Stephen Seemayer titled his film Miami Vendetta. Yet, it takes place in Los Angeles. Apparently, the actual plot involves talking about Miami in some capacity, but I slept through most of the second half and can’t confirm. However, I can confirm that a restaurant named “DO-NUTS” and a video store called “The Video Man” are both integral to said plot. I can also confirm that a high-tech computer helps solve the case. And that’s awesome. But you know what’s not so awesome? Stephen Seemayer is not insane.

An ultra-obscure SOV action film needs to destroy us. It needs to be a black hole vortex of baffling madness that we can constantly reference and turn-on our friends with. That’s the joy of the medium and the aesthetic. Otherwise, what’s the point? Miami Vendetta does not give us what we need. It’s simply a lucid, unexciting action film that happened to be made with a camcorder; noteworthy for a shockingly staid approach and not much else. If you enjoy wallowing through the absolute dregs of SOV tedium, go for it. But really, you’re better off just watching .357 Magnum or The Bounty Hunters again. And if you haven’t seen those yet, what the hell is your problem?

Also: there was no cocaine.

From the Archives