Ganglands (Branqueuers: La Serie)

Loved this. Believable, epic action scenes, strong storyline and quality acting.

Braqueurs (Ganglands) is a superb series based on a movie of the same name and each episode in this six part series has action scenes reminiscent of Michael Mann’s Heat.

Ganglands is over-dubbed in English and doesn’t come across as stilted as other foreign language series. So many times foreign language originals look good but are let down by the poor over dubbing or subtitles.

Mini-rant over on with the show!

Set in France, the opening scene shows Mehdi leading a team of armed professionals in a daring and high risk takedown in a quarry overcoming heavily armed opponents with excessive force and firepower. The prize is a truck with concrete blocks masquerading as rocks and hiding bars of gold. After the robbery, the crew then need to smash each rock to extract the gold.

Following this high octane opener, there is a shift in focus to Shainez who runs a scam of pretending to be a prostitute, gaining the trust of men, then robbing them together with her friend, Liana. This time, however, the plan goes awry when they end up with eight kilos of cocaine and Shainez gets kidnapped.

Now this is where it gets interesting because Shainez is Mehdi’s niece and he gets involved in the negotiations to get her back. They force Mehdi into increasingly dangerous endeavours, often at short notice, to get his niece to safety and make sure he and his crew live. To do this, he co-opts Liana to help who is more closer to Shainez than anyone knew.

The series escalates, taking time to develop both the plot and characters. Every episode has a shootout of varying degrees; one takes place inside an underground car park that is worth a pause, skip back and rewatch at least three times because it is cleverly choreographed and shot.

Ganglands doesn’t pull any punches, and the storyline is far from predictable. The main and sub-plots are well constructed, there are epic performances by the cast and, although we are essentially talking about gang warfare on a well-trodden drug angle, Mehdi’s character is likeable and believable.

6 episodes in the first series and the latest is that there will be a second series although the date of release is unknown.

For the trailer, see here

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