Medellin (2023): Medellin presents for its viewers a flavorful meeting of French elegance and Colombian salsa. The action thriller has recently been released on Prime Video and stars Frank Gastmabide, Ramzy Bedia, and Raymond Cruz (‘Taco’ from Breaking Bad) in pivotal roles. Medellin is essentially an action film, as its far-reaching cross-border shenanigans revolve around the game of life and death. But to soften the monotony of seeing car chases and gun fights, the makers also infuse some much-needed lightheartedness with tacky, serviceable humor.
To the credit of director Franck Gastambide and the writers, there are no attempts to make anything more of Medellin than a no-nonsense guilt-free entertainment. Although the name itself refers to Pablo Escobar’s Medellin cartel, the film strays away from realizing any themes remotely close to drugs. Here we are breaking down the major talking points about Medellin’s plot and explaining its electric ending.
Medellin (2023) Plot Summary & Film Synopsis:
The story kickstarts in France, where the Medellin cartel kidnaps local social media influencer Brahim. Brahim’s entire online persona is built on glorifying Pablo Escobar and dressing up like him to gain views. The cartel takes offense to this and exacts revenge on him. They tackle him in Colombia, and his older brother Reda wants to save him. But he is not alone. Reda runs a gym of heavy trainers who all pledge to accompany him. The next day, however, Reda is only supported by best friend Stan and a dwarf, Chafix, who trains in Reda’s club. The three oddly-paired musketeers begin their journey to save Brahim, only to discover that they themselves need saving more than Brahim.
How do Reda, Stan, and Chafix kidnap Don Nacho?
When the trio reaches Colombia, they interrogate local hotels and tourist spots. They find one person identifying Brahim from the photo and saying that the Medellin cartel has a front in the city, the Barraputa Strip Club. While there, they ask questions about Brahim and the cartel to a pole dancer named Cynthia. She is hesitant to say anything, even though it is clear she knows a lot. The trio is tempted into doing pure Colombian cocaine, and they make hay while the sun shines. The wild night gives them a headache the next morning and also a vapid blackout.
They cannot recall the events from the last night. But gradually, it comes back to them when they see they have kidnapped a man and brought him to their hotel suite. They waited for the narco, then started following him, and finally kidnapped him outside the bar. As fate gods would have it, they have kidnapped none other than Don Nacho, the son of El Diablo, who is the cartel’s leader.
Who is Cynthia/Marissa, and what is she doing in the strip club?
Cynthia is the stripper that the trio had talked to in Barraputa. It turns out that she is an undercover cop working in the narcotics division. She has been undercover for a year, looking for inroads into catching El Diablo. Her real name is Marissa. She duly informs her higher-ups in the police to authorize an operation to seize Diablo and his cartel members when Stan gives her a call and lets her know where the exchange is happening. But the police higher-ups take commissions from the cartel to protect them and instead end up firing Marissa and everyone on the case to preclude their arrest.
What revelation by Brahim puts the trio and himself in deep trouble?
To spite El Diablo and push for an exchange of the men, Reda makes a video slighting the cartel. He shows Nacho’s face and confronts him with a duel. He uses his phone to send out the video when Brahim calls them. They are shocked by the call and even more so when Brahim reveals that he was only leveraging this prank to increase his online presence. He staged the kidnapping and is actually alright. He is in another city in Colombia. El Diablo is livid and sends two teams – one to the hotel and one to Brahim. The trio scampers to save Brahim and is involved in a high-octane car chase.
Unfortunately, despite their best efforts, they are not able to get to Brahim in time, even as they successfully escape the pursuing cartel members. Brahim is taken by the cartel and tortured, and Nacho is the only leverage that can save Reda, his brother. Diablo agrees to the exchange, and a place is set. As the fate gods have their fun again, the trio’s move to throw Nacho into the open ocean and throw blood and fish ends up backfiring.
Even though Nacho is able to make it out alive to the boat, he discovers that he has lost both his legs in the attack. The trio somehow gets him to a vet and keeps him alive- barely. And this vitiates the exchange as Diablo instructs his men to kill the trio. They escape with Marissa’s help. Although they conceded defeat in their pursuit to save Brahim, right as Marissa is dropping them off at the Venezuelan border, they get a video from Diablo showing he is being tortured. Marissa says there is only one man in Colombia who can save Brahim.
Who is the “only man in Colombia” that can help the trio save Brahim?
Marissa takes them to Robbie, an American military operative who fought the cartel with Marissa’s father back in the day. Mike Tyson plays Robbie in an inspiring cameo. Even though he does not participate in the action at all, it is nice to hear his characteristic voice and enjoy his screen presence. So, once Robbie takes note of the situation, he gives Reda and Stan a quick shooting crash course to ready them for potential action. For Chafix, he has another job in his grand plan to save Brahim.
Medellin (2023) Movie Ending, Explained:
Who wins the battle between Reda and El Diablo?
Robbie’s plan involves sending Chafix in as bait with a GPS locator on his person. This would allow them to know the cartel’s safe house location and help them save Brahim. The plan goes accordingly, and the two men valiantly save Brahim. Their luck is so good that they hardly see any action, barring one man that Stan puts to sleep. In their excitement, they forget about Chafix. Reda instructs Brahim to stay in the car. This time, they face a lot of gunfire from the cartel. Stan even kills two people, but ultimately, they are able to save Chafix as well.
The ultimate battle in the climax is all set to take place at Pablo Escobar’s abandoned house in the city. Our quads meet Marissa at his house. Having watched extensive documentaries about his life, Brahim is able to figure out a secret pathway in the house that leads them to the back of the garden, where a helicopter in perfect condition is parked. This means that they can escape easily. As soon as he sees it, Brahim takes out his phone and starts recording a video. Reda lashes out at him in anger and reprimands him for what he has become.
Reda wanted more for his younger brother, and the two come to an emotional hug at the end of their arguments. Marissa asks them one tiny favor before they leave the country back to France. Reda sends a video, recording all of them baiting Diablo and the cartel to come out to the house. Stan, meanwhile, installs explosives all around the house. Marissa wants to eliminate the cartel for the welfare of the people of Colombia.
Why does Reda sacrifice himself?
The plan works as Diablo, and others take the bait. He brings every last one of his men to the house. Everyone from the group is able to make their way to the helicopter except Reda. He has the opportunity to escape but realizes that the walls of the house are so thick that if he triggers the explosives from the outside, they won’t work. With the knowledge that the cartel has been known to relentlessly look for their enemies wherever they are in the world and the fact that the explosives can only be triggered from inside, Reda decides to sacrifice himself.
He feels responsible for not being a good family man and brother to Brahim. Despite Stan’s best appeals, Reda presses the switch and dies in the explosion, with the entire Medellin cartel. The three men fly back to France with a heavy heart. To honor his life and heroic sacrifice, Brahim now operates his gym with Stan, and they have installed a huge digital banner recognizing Reda’s heroics outside the building.