Cocaine Cowboys II: Hustlin' with The Godmother



CineVegas (Magnolia Pictures)

LAS VEGAS -- Notorious Colombian cocaine queenpin Griselda Blanco, who was arguably the most intriguing figure in Billy Corben's lively 2006 documentary, "Cocaine Cowboys," receives further face time in the sequel, "Hustlin' with The Godmother." While not quite as satisfying as its zippy predecessor, which portrayed the real-life events that informed "Miami Vice" and "Scarface," the follow-up still delivers the fascinating goods in its new guise as an oddball love story.

Given that the woman also known as Black Widow was behind bars and was never interviewed by the filmmakers, entree is provided by the man doing the hustlin'-one Charles Cosby. A small-time Oakland drug dealer, Cosby, an African-American, sent a fan letter to the incarcerated, matronly Blanco. In short order, the two became lovers and business partners while she was still serving time.

In its shift from '80s Miami to '90s Oakland, "Cocaine Cowboys II" has scrapped the previous Latin vibe in favor of a hip-hop flavor, along with clever dramatic recreations told through graphic comic-style animations.

But while Corben still manages to mine plenty of stranger-than-fiction truths, including Blanco's near-successful plot to kidnap John F. Kennedy, Jr., the film drags itself into a bit of a corner by relying almost entirely on Cosby's drawn-out first-person account.

Although he probably knew Blanco better than most -- at least, most who are still alive -- the tellingly unrepentant hustler ultimately proves no match for the Godmother when it comes to the criminally charismatic.

PRODUCERS: Alfred Spellman, Billy Corben, David Cypkin
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Tom Quinn, Jason Janego
MUSIC: Honor Roll Music
EDITORS: David Cypkin, Billy Corben
Sales Agent: Rakontur
No rating, 100 minutes.