Search icon


05th Jul 2017

Netflix’s latest documentary on Miami’s cocaine trade is ‘as sensational as Scarface’

Paul Moore

How Miami became the drugs capital of the world. Cartels, gangsters, violence and drugs.

Narcos, El Chapo, Sicario, Precinct Seven Five, The Infiltrator, End of Watch.

Just some of the relatively recent TV shows and films that have focused on the billion dollar industry that is the drugs trade, but the fascination goes way back.

To many, Brain De Palma’s remake of Scarface was the definitive take on the on the ’80s cocaine boom in Florida. Tony Montana’s legacy is still felt today because plenty of people adore this story of a Cuban refugee who became a powerful drug kingpin using just his balls, brain and brawn.

This being said, another piece of entertainment has contributed towards Florida’s image of the drug capital of the world during the ’80s, Miami Vice.

With such glaring differences between both representations of the narcotics trade in the Sunshine State during this period, where does the truth lie?

Well, Floridian filmmaker Billy Corben has attempted to unravel the cocaine-ravaged and blood-soaked history of Miami’s drug trade in Cocaine Cowboys.

Ok, what’s the focus of this documentary?

When brutal Colombian cocaine lords moved to Miami in the early ’80s, they brought with them a form of decadence, drugs and debauchery that hadn’t been seen since the Prohibition days. This stylised , high-energy film reveals how Miami went from a sleepy southern city to a drug-and-murder capital, as told by the people who put the vice in Miami Vice.

What we see is a city that’s quickly invaded by the Colombian Mafia and with that comes violence, blood and drugs.

If you’re looking for authenticity, the two narrators, Jon Roberts and Mickey Munday, were actually convicted drug traffickers whose history is far from clean.

Not only do we hear extravagant tales of how the drugs were smuggled in, but we’re also treated to archive footage, newsreels and interviews with killers, assassins, police officers, drug lords, smugglers and more.

Granted, the film probably could be edited by 20 minutes, but if you’re interested in the this period of history then this is a very interesting watch.

In fact, The Times stated in their review that “the haystacks of cash and coke are laughably insane – as is the head-count. This is the only state in the world where Scarface might raise a smile.” Empire praised it for being “fast-paced and fascinating” while The Houston Chronicle urged you to “forget Scarface and Miami Vice. Cocaine Cowboys is the real deal — a down-and-dirty look at the high living and illegal drugs that dominated south Florida in the 1980s.”

Need another reason to watch? Well, The Hollywood Reporter reckon that Cocaine Cowboys is “as sensational as Scarface and a lot livelier than that Miami Vice movie.”

Take a look at what’s in store.

Clip via –