‘Bandidos’ Review: A Heist Comedy That Quickly Became A Mess

When one thinks of heist comedy, everyone only has the Ocean’s series by Steven Soderbergh to turn to. This was followed by Money Heist, which was not a comedy as such but a full-fledged drama that received cult status in no time upon its release. Following in its footsteps, Bandidos, the brand-new Mexican Netflix Original, is all about a bunch of misfits who are thieves by profession and want to carry out a heist that could turn out to be one of the best experiences of their lives. Created by Pablo Tébar and directed by Adrian Gunberg, the show was released on March 13, 2024.

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Bandidos consists of seven episodes that have a runtime of thirty-five to fifty minutes and features several characters, namely Miguel, Wilson, Lili, Lucas, and Citlali. They all are a bunch of robbers, forgers, and hackers who have come together after Miguel came across a map that could lead them to an ancient Mayan treasure that was stolen by the Spanish conquistadors, which includes the legend of a small statue of a Jaguar made of pure gold. While Miguel and his team dream of living off the spoils of the heist, Miguel’s rival and adopted brother Ariel wants the same treasure, but in his newly opened museum for display. 

The group is keen on forging a meticulous plan to get hold of the treasure. There are betrayals, obstacles, and new members that join the party as they begin their journey toward the place Miguel assumes holds the gold they are seeking. Miguel’s father Juan is also an archaeologist and a robber himself, who introduced his son to the world of treasures and the history associated with them from his youth. Was this group successful in getting hold of the gold, or were they followed by someone who wanted to hijack their efforts?

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The biggest problem with Bandidos is the inconsistent nature of the story and the screenplay. This Mexican show has a random start and jumps right into the game without a proper explanation of what is happening. The lead characters are not established, which sadly causes the viewers to be on the back foot as they keep wondering if there is any meaning to the screenplay unfolding on the screen in front of them. There is no proper setup about Miguel, his uncle Wilson, and the line they are in to help us understand the basic plot of the show. It takes one whole episode to make sense of what every character is up to.

The writing by Pablo Tébar is out of place, and there are no redeeming qualities that allows the show to make sense after a point. It is in the fourth episode that the writers and the makers lose the plot, and Bandidos is in autopilot mode with convenient twists and turns. Just like every other Latin show, there are surprising revelations made at some point for the shock value. In this show, there are several, and they lose their novelty very quickly. 

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Bandidos has some great humor laced into the screenplay and the story, but it loses fizz in the second half of the show as it begins to take itself too seriously, even though the final product is average at best.  The humor around premature ejaculation syndrome is in bad taste (pun intended), and it did not add any value to the overall narrative. The story gets messy unnecessarily, and the makers lose track of what the ultimate goal of the characters they have developed is. The actors could have been given some depth to work with, or there could have been layers and complexities to each one of them and their reasons for desperately wanting the money they intended to make from the sale of the treasure. The show borderline glorifies thievery, and it is not cool. There need to be some consequences to their actions, but none of the characters face any. 

Three episodes into Bandidos, the show grows on you until the second half hits, and it is messy. People in the show just move from one point to another without any explanation as to how this is happening. The act of convenience is what hampers the show and costs it its watchability and engagement value. Heist shows and movies are predictable, and it is the edge-of-the-seat aspect that keeps them going till the end. Here, the makers seem to have given up and have no interest in keeping the show going. Some people are presumably dead and turn up alive and thriving in the same town as before but under a different name. Please tell us if this sounds realistic. There are countless situations that require rampant suspension of disbelief, and at times, this could work if done convincingly. In Bandidos, that did not happen. 

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A few characters come across as brats, and the makers have hardly given them a redemption arc. The fun element of the show is lost in the second half, and Bandidos quickly becomes dull. Even with the elements of history and the stories about the country’s past, none of them have been utilized to their full potential. The direction suffered greatly because of a lazy screenplay. Adrian Grunberg hardly tried to make the show interesting, reminding us that the premise and the subject matter are rather amusing. The show does have some interesting messaging; the characters are struggling with sharing their stories about insecurities and poverty, highlighting the state of the people in Mexico, but the makers have hardly explored this aspect. The editing of the show is interesting in the beginning, yet it could not hold on in its entirety. 

The performances of the actors are average. Only two actors stand out throughout the show: Alfonso Dosal as Miguel and Mabel Cadena as Ines. Alfonso, as Miguel, has a Jake Peralta from Brooklyn Nine-Nine quality to him where he acts stupid and goofy but is a highly intelligent man. Alfonso is the only character that retains this quality till the end, and there is sincerity in his performance, which includes the humorous ones as well. Mabel Cadena is incredible as Ines, who is a no-nonsense cop and refuses to be corrupt, but circumstances force her to become one. Mabel’s anger and frustration towards people in her life and at work are relatable, and her character is given complexities to work with. Bandidos could have been a fun ride if the makers had not forgotten the genre and the overall tone of the show. A messy show with an inconclusive ending.


Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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Bandidos could have been a fun ride if the makers had not forgotten the genre and the overall tone of the show. A messy show with an inconclusive ending.'Bandidos' Review: A Heist Comedy That Quickly Became A Mess