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April 5, 2014

Movie Review: Cocaine Cowboys: Reloaded (Blu-ray, 2006)

Drug addiction and the incredibly lucrative drug trade have been a huge part of some serious societal issues in the states over the past few decades. Importing and selling cocaine during the late 1970's and 80's in Florida is the hot topic of the Billy Corben’s thoroughly engaging documentary Cocaine Cowboys (2006). Magnet and Magnolia entertainment has been no stranger to provocative films and hard-hitting documentaries so recently they have put out a longer cut of the film you may have first caught on cable in a longer edit and titled it Cocaine Cowboys: Reloaded on Blu-ray.

The film contains interviews with dealers, lawmen and even one of the most vicious hitmen (now serving time on death-row) to ever be involved in crimes in the Florida and Miami / Dade County area. We start from the ever brutal beginnings in 1978-79 when many Cuban immigrants came to Florida thanks to a maybe too friendly gesture by then president, Jimmy Carter. When the cocaine trade was at its peak in the 1980's, the demand for illegal narcotics caused blood to flow frequently in the streets.

Quite possibly the most prolific and notorious drug kingpins was a woman, a Colombian by the name of Griselda Blanco. Blanco ordered the deaths of many people over the years sometimes most minute things. She didn’t have any prejudice as to who she was having killed. Men, women, children, babies, she did not care. It was all about the money and respect with her and this is why she became the most feared figure in the drug-trade.

The progression of the cocaine trade and the eventual downfall by the dealers came with time when these once untouchable criminals start falling like bloody dominoes from killing each other, ratting each other out or falling into traps made by clever feds. It's a fascinating watch to see how this drug basically built the city and sculpted the skyscrapers of the city of Miami.

The extras are sparse but they’re still interesting to catch. We get some deleted scenes that include some stories told by the main participants that may have been out of place or just cut for pacing. The quality appears considerably sharper than what I remember seeing when the original shorter Cocaine Cowboys cut was broadcasted on payed cable. Overall it looks and sounds very good.

Cocaine Cowboys: Reloaded is one hell of a documentary that most surely will please anyone interested in quality true-crime documentaries. Recommended.

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