*revised on on 11/24/2022*
Directed by Agustin Bernal—Traficantes De Michoacan (aka "Drug Traffickers of Michoacan") tells a story of the 3 Arteaga brothers who are from a small town in the state of Michoacan. We got the eldest Arteaga brother "Ruben" (Mario Almada) who dresses up a priest because his mother really wanted him to be one, but he's actually not really a priest since he is a drug trafficker and just dresses up as a priest as a ruse. 2nd eldest Atreaga is "Jose" (Fernando Almada) who is a police chief fighting against drug traffickers in the surrounding areas of his hometown and the youngest Arteaga brother "Saul" (Agustin Bernal) is also a drug trafficker, but on a different turf from Ruben's. These 3 brothers are obviously different from one another, but they get along just fine when they reunite for parties & such. Jose has no idea that his 2 brothers are involved in drug trafficking as he assumes they do legitimate work, but when their young sister Maria gets kidnapped by a sleazy & rivaling drug boss—Jose finds out that his brothers are drug traffickers. It's disappointing to know this, but it doesn't matter for the time being since Jose teams up with his drug-trafficking brothers to rescue their innocent little sister!
Traficantes De Micoahocan starts off pretty promising with Agustin Bernal shooting down some hitmen and then we see Mario Almada (dressed as a priest) shooting a rival of his down. He even attempts at praying for the dead rival, but decides not to after all because he says: "Let's just go. He's not going to Heaven anyway." Amazing dialogue, right? After that, we see Fernando Almada's character gunning down a bunch of pot-bellied drug traffickers inside a wooden shack. Amazing, right? After the first 15 minutes of action, the movie then gets fairly slow with chatter, a menial music performance & the Arteaga brothers getting drunk together. After that, the movie jumps back to getting interesting again once the brothers band together to save their little sister. More guns firing here of course and then the movie ends rather unusual. I hated it.
Traficantes De Michoacan is a movie that isn’t going to hype you up or a movie that’s going to become a favorite of yours. If anything, it’s the movie you’ll have on whenever you can’t decide on what to actually watch or have it on as background sound while you work on something at home. I will say that the Almada brothers & Agustin Bernal gave it their best here despite a menial production. These 3 legends worked hard no matter what.
With all due respect, gentlemen!