Narcos: The Good, the Bad and the Dead – Ambush (Review)

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Narcos “The Good, the Bad and the Dead” shows how many organizations are against Escobar. It also shows just how much Carrillo really bothers Pablo. It seems that Murphy is right about the colonel scaring the cartel leader, the man from Madrid even stalks Escobar in his dreams.

As various organizations work to take Pablo down, he tries to take the colonel down by less violent means at first. Having the street kid tell about Carrillo killing his juvenile friend and then writing letters to newspapers.

His efforts go unrewarded.

Although the state prosecutor does order an investigation into Pablo’s escape from prison and the charge of Carrillo’s killing a child.  The president’s vice minister is less than pleased at this turn of events.

Carrillo continues the smaller scaled attacks on Escobar and these are proven to be all too successful. At the same time, the “Gentlemen from Cali,” the Orejuela family,  team up with Judy Moncada (Cristina Umaña) and a far right organization dedicated to fighting a communist guerrilla group.

The communist rebels murdered the father of the Castaño brothers; Jesus and Carlos (played by Luis Enrique Gomez and Mauricio Mejía respectively) and Pablo supports the guerrillas.  CIA spook Stechner  persuades the brothers to join forces with both Judy and the Orejuela family. 

As the brothers meet with Judy and Pacho (Alberto Ammann) Limon hunts down Maritza. He tells his childhood friend that they can take Escobar out if they reveal his movements to the government, aka Carrillo. The taxi driver convinces her that the DEA will give her and her daughter tickets to leave the country. 

Despite an obvious interest by Judy, Pacho turns the brothers down in they request to join forces.

Javi’s hooker is the mediator between the frightened Maritza and the DEA agent. She tells the Peña of the plan. He clears it with his boss and Carrillo. Peña’s boss agrees with the idea of the plan but later tells both Javi and Steve that they cannot be involved.

Crosby is very displeased at the Carrillo child murder allegations and he wants the US agency far removed from any further questionable activities.  His distancing act saves the lives of the two DEA agents.

Far from giving Escobar up, Limon has enlisted Maritza to set a trap for Carrillo.  As the Colombian forces head to the address provided by the two, shots ring out. Carrillo and his troops are trapped in a narrow street and ambushed by Pablo’s men.

It is a bloodbath.

At the end, Carrillo lies wounded in the street and Escobar comes to talk to his enemy. Taking the cartridge that the colonel had the street child deliver Pablo puts it in his magazine and returns the bullet to Carrillo.

Before he dies the colonel calls Escobar a coward and the cartel leader empties the magazine into his enemy.

Murphy and Peña are distraught at the murder of Carrillo and his men.  Later, Javier is approached by his snitch and the man takes the DEA agent on a ride. They arrive at a heavily guarded mansion and the two go inside.

Javi enters a room to find Judy Moncada and the Castaño brothers waiting. It seems that Judy is more than ready to team up with the anti-communist league to take down Escobar.

Narcos continues to provide an intriguing fictionalized account of the battle to defeat Pablo Escobar.  Carrillo, who is the story’s version of Colonel Hugo Martinez the real man who lead the fight against Escobar. In reality Martinez never died in a hail of lead at the hands of Pablo or his men.

Regardless of this bit of poetic license, Narcos also offers a somewhat  watered down version of the real Escobar’s activities.  The cartel leader was ruthless and at the time of his death was responsible for a huge amount of deaths in his country.

Despite the high body count in the Netflix bio-drama,  reality was according to experts much worse in real life.

Toward the end of this episode, Maritza learns that Limon tricked her. He  also saved her life. La Quica will not be looking to kill her anymore. She has, however,  become an accessory to the murder of Carrillo and a number of his men.

Narcos is streaming on Netflix and the entire season can be watched in one sitting or two. Head over and check this one out, it is addictive viewing.

 

 

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Narcos: Our Man in Madrid – Breaking Point (Review)

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The president responds to Escobar’s message of death from the week before. So too does Colonel Pinzón. Both men have reached their breaking point, as Murphy points out in the opening moments. The colonel resigns his position and the president brings back Carrillo. Narcos steps up the action as a result.

As Murphy tells the audience, Carrillo (the man “in Madrid”) is the one individual that scares Escobar. When the colonel returns, he tells the two DEA agents that operations will now be subtle and small scale. Javi is pleased.

First, however, they make a bold statement. Taking over 100 men they head to Barrio Escobar and Carrillo urinates on Pablo’s mural.  Then the men round up the street urchins who are Escobar’s eyes and ears.

The colonel warns them that by helping Pablo they are assassins. One lad speaks up asking if he is meant to “Sh*t my pants.” No, murmurs Carrillo as he shoots the boy in the head.

The colonel then gives a nine millimeter round to the smallest lookout and tells him to give it to Escobar. “Tell  Pablo  this is for him.” He then tells the children to leave.

Javi is disturbed by the cold-blooded murder of a child, “to make a f**king point.” La Quica is still searching for Maritza and getting nowhere. He complains to Limon and the two head off for ice cream.

Murphy complaints to Carrillo about being left out of the latest action and the Colonel takes this on board. Later, after the raid on one of, what they believe to be Escobar’s labs, Murphy is brought along.

This lab is actually one of Judy Moncada’s (Cristina Umaña) that was being  dismantled by Pablo’s men. Meanwhile, the young lad meets with Escobar and gives him the cartridge. He tells Pablo that the “man” said the round was for him. 

Javi has an informant tell him about the lab. It is a set up orchestrated by Judy Moncada.  She has gone to Gilberto Orejuela  (Damián Alcázar) for his   help. The goal is to kill Escobar. They set up the labs belonging to Judy in order to flush Pablo out. 

After Carrillo leads the raid,  they capture Gato (Pedro Calvo) and one other man. The colonel takes them, and Murphy, up in a helicopter for questioning.  The first man knows nothing, he says, and Carrillo kicks him out of the chopper. 

Gato refuses to talk and he shares the same fate as his companion.  Murphy is shocked and disturbed at the coldblooded action taken by Carrillo. He starts drinking and calls his wife in Miami. Javi spends more time with a prostitute as Pablo monitors the boy talking to a news reporter on camera.

Obviously, Narcos is getting darker, as things apparently did  in real life when Escobar escaped from prison.  Not only does Pablo have the president trying to catch, or kill him, but other cartels are also conspiring to take him out.

It remains to be seen just how loyal Escobar’s youngsters will be now that Carrillo has taken to killing them.  Pablo is gambling on public opinion going against the colonel to relieve the pressure. Although he promised his wife Tata that they would leave the country if things get too bad.

This bio-drama is gripping stuff. Moura, Holbrook and Pascal are knocking it out of the park with their performances. Kudos to Cristina Umaña as Judy Moncada; ice cold and full of enough venom to kill an elephant, this lady captivates every time she is onscreen.

Narcos is streaming on Netflix right now. All 10 episodes are available to watch at once.  Head over and check this fact based thriller out.

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‘Narcos’ Al Fin Cayó!: Finally He Fell – Death (Recap/Review)

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Episode two of Narcos starts with the mass murder of all those hookers, one of whom turned Escobar in to the authorities. Despite La Quica killing the one responsible, he still wants t0 kill Limon’s friend Maritza.

The president, who said perviously that he will not negotiate with Escobar, is blind sided when the country’s prosecutor gets a visit from the cartel leader’s lawyer. Before that, Pablo  gives an interview where he addresses the president’s statement.

Meanwhile the president orders a crackdown on all drug dealing. The soldiers are all over the area and headed up by Colonel Pinzón. A stiff necked and unrelenting military leader, Pinzón is put in charge of everything and the DEA have to deal with the prickly team leader.

Murphy and Peña get a boss. A women sent in by President Bush to head up the DEA contingent. Murphy barely avoids being fired and sent back stateside. It is Peña’s efforts that save him. The new boss; Claudia Messina (Florencia Lozano) wastes no time letting the two men know who is in charge. 

Messina is no babe in the woods, however. She snipes at Pinzón, by flanking his authority when he refuses to cooperate. While it gets her access to what she wants, the general is no fool either. The move is not wholly successful.

This episode of Narcos, follows the three sided build up of all the players  after Escobar’s escape from prison. The US, under the guidance of former CIA director President George Bush Sr., builds up a team comprised of heavy hitters and one “spook” (complete with beard, long hair and a poor attitude).

On a sidenote, the actor Brett Cullen, who plays Arthur Crosby, sounds so much like Oscar winning actor Gene Hackman that he could do (voice) loops for the star if Hackman ever goes back to acting. It is very uncanny. 

President Gaviria  sets the Army on Escobar and they cover the streets of Medellin.

Escobar, apart from giving the interview and instructing his lawyer to negotiate with the president, stays low. The streets, as the narrator points out, are his. The children of the area are his eyes and ears and the Army does nothing without the urchins telling Escobar.

Even as the cartel leader relaxes, he plans on retaliation against Gaviria and Pinzón’s troops. His network take out scores of the Army patrols quickly. Blood runs red in the streets and the president learns the hard way that Escobar is more powerful than he thought.

 

Escobar’s retributory attack on the Columbian troops is prompted by the DEA and the colonel raiding his compound. Pablo and his family flee in the night just as the authorities reach his hide out.

As the army harasses the locals, Pablo’s men, and children,  watch the troops closely.  After the raid, Escobar gives the order to kill the Army in the streets they are patrolling.

Pablo dances with his wife while the men are murdered. As one reviewer puts it, Escobar does a “Godfather.”

Meanwhile Le Quica is obsessed with killing Maritza. She had the brass to turn him down when he suggested having sex and it infuriated him. He wants her dead;  less for the alleged tip off than for his injured machismo pride.

After a narrow escape Maritza goes on the run with her child.

This is, to a large  extent, a fictionalized version of Pablo Escobar’s rise and fall as one of the richest criminals in history.  Certainly we do not really know if Pablo danced with his “child” bride as wholesale slaughter flooded the streets with crimson.

But it looks good.

The cartel leader with the Robin Hood persona had the support of a lot of  people whom he helped.  This episode shows just how much help he could rely on from the “common” people.

It is a foregone conclusion that the series must end with Escobar’s death, this is, after all, what happened in real life.  Apparently this may happen in season two.

Narcos is streaming on Netflix right now.  All 10 episodes are available to watch in one sitting. Do not miss this addictive retelling of the fight to capture Pablo Escobar.

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‘Narcos’ Season Two, Ep 1: Free at Last (Review)

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Having watched the first two episodes of Narcos, season two, it is easy to see what all the fuss has been about. Wagner Mauro as Pablo Escobar is mesmerizing and in the first episode, “Free at Last” the man’s performance proves that charisma on the run, “is a thing.”

For those who did not watch the first season and do not have the time to binge the whole thing, the show’s makers offer a Narcos Season 1 recap. A Pablo Escobar 101, so to speak.

This “bio-drama” is following the real life crimes and life of the wealthiest drug cartel boss in the world. There has been an amount of poetic license taken  but that is to be expected. Escobar died back in 1993, along with his second in command, mown down by a hail of bullets delivered by the Colombian Police.

Season one saw him at his most powerful. Season two will, somewhat unsurprisingly, see the man die. (As with most biopic properties the subjects fate is a forgone conclusion.)  IndieWire spoke to the show’s creators and Mauro about this season and revealed that while Escobar was the centerpiece of season’s one and two, he was not the show’s focus.

As executive producer Eric Newman says in the interview, “the show is not called ‘Pablo Escobar’ it is called Narcos.” The title is Spanish meaning drug traffickers ergo there will be more cartel leaders featured after Escobar’s death.

In the first episode of season two, the authorities attack the prison where Escobar is being held and the cartel leader literally walks out.  He escapes and then walks through the Army team sent to find him.

Escobar now has everyone looking for him. The president assigns one general to head up a special task force to bring Pablo in. The cartel leader has to travel in the boot (trunk) of a taxi to conduct business.  While he is still popular with the poor of Columbia, a hooker calls the police and turns him in.

Pablo’s business is mostly comprised of bringing gangs back in line and punishing those who work against him. A number of competitors are killed as are a whole house full of hookers.

As Escobar is reasserting control over the business, Steve Murphy becomes extremely stressed out when his wife Connie (Joanna Christie) packs up their child and heads out to Miami. She will stay with her mother and does not wish to discuss the decision with her husband. 

Murphy is angry and attacks two Miami businessmen who are using cocaine in the airport men’s room.  The DEA agent is arrested for his efforts. Javi gets him out of jail and they head to the house where La Quica is busily killing hookers who he believed tipped off the police about Escobar.

The DEA and two Army soldiers chase the killer and his friend Limon (Leynar Gomez but lose them in the market. La Quica wants to kill Maritza (Martina Garcíanext as he also suspects her of snitching.

The episode ends with the Columbian president stating that he will not negotiate with Escobar.

Narcos is an impressive recreation of the rise of Columbian cartel super bosses. Escobar, with his Robin Hood image, carefully fostered,  was a force to be reckoned with and despite there being some “fictionalization” the story of the hunt for the man is fascinating.

The series looks stunning. All bright colors and scenic locations.  The acting is top notch and Boyd Holbrook, Pedro Pascal and Wagner Moura have become new personal favorites.   Martina Garcia is unbelievably beautiful and can act as well.

Narcos is a Netflix production and as such is available to watch “in one go.”  It is mesmerizing stuff, filled with real characters and offers “real life” recounting of the struggle to catch Pablo Escobar.  Watch this one, if you are not already.

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