Cocaine Cowboys 2 - Hustlin' With The Godmother

posted August 06, 2008 04:58:00 PM CDT | 7 comments

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The first Cocaine Cowboys was one of the greatest accomplishments in the era of “hood documentaries.” The film was so good that it transcended the niche, and Hip Hop was so moved by the film that N.O.R.E. led a pack of rappers rhyming about the film’s vast coverage of a murderous Miami cocaine cartel. Creative editing sequences, clever suspense plots and unbelievable archival footage made this a film that theaters regretted ignoring in the first place. The same Griselda Blanco that ordered the murders over 50 drug traffickers is the un-featured star of Cocaine Cowboys 2, which chronicles her puppeteering Oakland, California cocaine traffic from behind bars.
   
Charles Cosby is the official star of the sequel. He’s an Oaktown hustler who was introduced to the Blanco Columbian regime, and ascended from hood rich distributor to kingpin for the Blanco family. Crosby is likable to the camera. He tells a mean story, with lots of details of ZR-1 Corvettes, specific dope-dealing accounting, and juicy sex. While that makes him a great narrative voice of the ‘90s drug game, at times, his own vanity seems suspect to the suspension of disbelief. Whereas, Cocaine Cowboys initial featured stars were either reformed transporters or incarcerated hitmen, Crosby walks the street today, and seems to fancy himself a reformed man, still picturing himself with stacks of big-faced hundreds and Cadillacs. Although appealing to the fantasy of pushing weight, the overall quality of the film cheapens when it makes his reporting appear as the truth of what happened, not just one opinion. As any viewer can see from the unfolding plot, this is a man who was loop-holed out of snitching by the skin of his teeth, yet boasts that he never snitched, and remains tight in the Oakland streets.
   
The Cocaine Cowboys franchise also cuts a few corners. While the first film’s archival footage told the story, this work relies heavily on Cosby’s photo collection and tongue-in-cheek animations of shootouts, sex, and other accounts. What appears to be edited photographs of shot up cars and reenactments move the plot along, but lack the polish of its franchise predecessor.
   
If you enjoyed Cocaine Cowboys the first, chances are, the second will grab you. However, as films like these become a major vehicle for promoting urban cinema outside of our core audience, the sequel feels a bit too hood rich to follow suit. Charles Cosby is a legend, and one who lives to tell his story with a great deal of character. However, if this franchise hopes to further, they ought not piece together an addendum from leftovers from the first.

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