Tag Archives: Drug Wars: The Camarena Story

A Week In Film #252: SHELVED

Savages title screen

Potentially excellent, objectively underwhelming tale of two American friends who make it big as weed magnates, but who fall foul of the big boys (led by A WOMAN omglolfml) south of the border.

Struck me as a Yankee version of Layer Cake but built around the oh-so-fashionable poly relationship of rich Californian stoner girl Blake Lively to the yin/yang bromantics Taylor Kitsch (psycho ex-Navy SEAL) and Aaron Taylor-Johnson (touchy-feely philanthropist). Benicio del Toro and Salma Hayek get to be all dangerous hispanic drug gangsters and shit. John Travolta hams it up as a DEA agent. The daugther/surrogate daughter subplot is not properly exploited. There’s extreme on-screen violence. There’s unreliable narration. It looks kind of pretty. It’s directed by Oliver Stone. Next!

Drug Wars: The Camarena Story title screen

Drug Wars: The Camarena Story
TV movie based on the real life kidnapping, torture and murder of American DEA agent Enrique ‘Kike’ Camarena after he pissed off too many well-connected Mexican drug barons, this is something of a stodgy hodgepodge.

This may not entirely be the fault of director Brian Gibson (whose curate’s egg resumé includes fact-diddling-but-gripping Tina Turner biopic What’s Love Got To Do With It, Hazel O’Connor vehicle Breaking Glass and past-it rockers reunite comedy-drama Still Crazy), as he originally helmed a four hour-long mini-series. Presumably the 110 minutes trimmed from the version I saw contained all the characterisation and artistry – leaving oddly short scenes bursting with exposition and Michael Mann-style (he produced it) meaningful looks and little else.

Anyway, interesting story, interesting cast (Steven Buer, Craig T Nelson, Benicio del Toro, Treat Williams, Jose Ferrer, Tony Plana, a massively under-utilised Elizabeth Peña), somewhat flat execution (pardon the pun).