Cocaine Cowboys
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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 stylized, 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."

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 69%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"It's the sort of glamour-meets-violence drugs-crime story on which lads' mags thrive: unqualified, over-reverent and hysterical."
‑ Dave Calhoun, Time Out
"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."
‑ Bruce Westbrook, Houston Chronicle
"Documentarian Billy Corben's revealing film exposes the methods and players in South Florida's drug trade that literally built the city of Miami that we know today with billions of dollars in blood cash."
‑ Cole Smithey,
"The haystacks of cash and coke are laughably insane - as is the head-count: thousands of people were gunned to death. This is the only state in the world where Scarface might raise a smile."
‑ James Christopher, Times [UK]
"Too often the film crosses the line between recording his subjects' illegal activities and aggrandising them."
‑ Neil Smith,
"The Jan Hammer music on the soundtrack works overtime to assure us that Cocaine Cowboys is the real, nastier version of Miami Vice"
‑ Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press
"This documentary on Miami's lethal '80s cocaine scene is cut fast."
‑ Bill Stamets, Chicago Sun-Times
"With a nearly two-hour running time that includes its share of blowhards, repetition, and cheesy attempts to heighten drama, Cocaine Cowboys brings to mind an unfortunate comparison: Miami Vice. The movie."
‑ Tricia Olszewski, Washington City Paper
"At nearly two hours, Cocaine Cowboys (appropriately) doesn't know when to stop talking, but as a chronicle of a demented epoch, it's both entertaining and just about definitive."
‑ Ned Beauman, Film4
"Fast-paced and fascinating, but a little too frenetic for its own good."
‑ Ross Bennett, Empire Magazine
"This is an ugly film, but with an undeniable allure."
‑ G. Allen Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle
"At half the length it would have been twice as good, but nevertheless it stokes a nostalgia some may have for a magic period in Miami history when it was ever so briefly the American Casablanca."
‑ Stephen Hunter, Washington Post
"Grisly crime scene snaps accompany the story, which makes Miami Vice look like a tea party and Florida like hell on earth."
‑ Derek Malcolm, This is London
"Without narration, the doc has scant moral compass, its very title celebrating the machine gun-wielding mercenaries involved."
‑ Emma Morgan, Total Film
"Rich in detail and fascinating characters."
‑ Doris Toumarkine, Film Journal International
More reviews for Cocaine Cowboys on Rotten Tomatoes

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