The story of El Chapo is still being played out in real life. After being extradited to the U.S he has been in maximum security with his trial scheduled for November 2018. The U.S Federal Government have labeled him the most feared man on the planet. Considered to be the biggest drug lord of all time, he has appeared in Forbes magazine on numerous occasions listed as one of the most powerful people in the world. The build-up to the trial has been as dramatic. His lawyers released a statement earlier in the year promising that none of the jury members would be executed. I certainly would not want to be called to jury service on this trail!
His story is one of rags to riches. Joaquín Guzmán was raised in a poor family and sold oranges to help the family. His father was a farmer who would regularly beat him. As a teenager, he worked the poppy fields and cropped his own marijuana. With the profits he supported his family as his father had a habit of spending all of his money on booze and women. The name El Chapo stands for shorty and was given to him in his teens due to his height of five foot six. He may have been relatively short but was very stocky and had a ruthless streak that would carry him through the rest of his life. Guzmán started right at the bottom in the organised crime world but rose quickly to become a Boss. And once he had the power he took more. His rise to the top is one of the most violent tales in history. He personally killed and tortured countless numbers of people including rival bosses who got in his way to total control of the drug world.
The El Chapo series on Netflix was first released in 2017. It was easy to see that it was instantly going to be compared to the hit series Narcos. But El Chapo really does stand on its own. The show gives you a personal journey with Guzmán taking you back to his childhood and the key influencers that carried him in his path to becoming one of the most powerful people on the planet. The storyline does not hold anything back at all. The portrayal of the Mexican government does not look great and they come across as seriously corrupt. The brutal honesty of the script really makes this series captivating and it is easy to fly through three or four episodes in one sitting.
The cast is brilliant. Marco de la O has a great presence on screen as El Chapo. While some of the scenes would have been a challenge for any actor, especially the solitary confinement scenes, Marco de la O is amazing and thoroughly deserves to be awarded for his performance. Another stand out is Humberto Busto. He plays the unbelievably corrupt politician Conrado Higuera Sol. His ambitions of becoming President lead him on a path every bit as wrong as Guzmáns and it seems he will do anything to rise to the top. His journey up the ranks is as quick as El Chapo's too. The focus on these two characters weaves its way through the story providing a political thriller rather than a historic doco story just focused on a drug lord. The great thing about the series is the obvious research that has gone into it. The detail is amazing and the style of camera work gives the series a unique feel throughout.
Now I have to say that I went into this show with a skeptic mind thinking that it is a genre that has been done before and done exceptionally well. It had a lot to live up to and I must say that it took a few episodes for me to get into it. But that is only because it is so different and once I got into it I was hooked. El Chapo has three seasons to watch on Netflix. Season 3 dropped in July 2018, so the great thing about this series is it is fresh. If you are looking for a great show and are not put off by lots of sex and violence give El Chapo a go it's great. And the weird lip sink gives it a strange retro feel too!