Looking at the Mexican drug wars from both sides of the border, “Cartel Land” is punchy and vital but not particularly informative.
The documentary sets up a somewhat fatuous parallel between vigilantes in both Mexico, where the police have proved unwilling or unable to seize control from the drug cartels, and Arizona, the site of some spillover violence. The main difference is the Arizona vigilantes, led by Tim “Nailer” Foley, are driving around far from their homes looking for trouble, whereas the Mexicans, inspired by a doctor named José Mireles, are arming themselves to restore basic order.
Scenes of shootouts and arrests make the film exciting to watch, but rather than explain what’s going on with the cartels and how they work, the film settles for pasting together the most exciting footage it can find. Drug wars mean lots of angry people running around with guns, but we already knew that.
– Read the entire article at New York Post.