Bryan Cranston uses his Breaking Bad persona to good effect in this wildly uneven yet undeniably entertaining – and mostly true- 80s tale of an undercover cop who got close to smashing Pablo Escobar’s Colombian cocaine cartel.
Based on the autobiographical book by Robert Mazur, the film follows the family man cop as he goes on the deepest undercover mission of his career, befriending dealers, bankers and murderers and even having to pretend Diane Kruger, a rookie on her first UC mission, is his fiancee. As another of his accomplices (the always good John Leguizamo) says: “You’ve got the best job in the world.”
Hanging out in clubs and snorting with hookers takes its toll on Mazur, whose family life is endangered and his cover risks being blown at any point, especially when his CIA-issue briefcase falls open at the wrong moment and reveals it’s a recording device. He also has to befriend the charming Benjamin Bratt, Don Pablo’s numero dos, and quite the Latino gentleman business man.
All in all, and with Amy Ryan popping in occasionally to bark orders and swear a bit as police chief, this is just the sort of leather-jacketed, thickly accented bit of movie dress up to entertain you, full of oily losers, shady business associates and edgy detectives. A host of surprising British actors turn up, too – Jason Isaacs, Daniel Mays, Art Malik and Shane Meadows’ favourite Joe Gilgun, as well as few London locations standing in for Miami and Paris.