Blood Coast is the latest addition to Netflix’s growing collection of non-English action films and shows. Produced by Gaumont, this six-episode-long series tells the story of a police officer in the coastal city of Marseille who tries to find and bring down a new drug manufacturer in the region along with his team of trusted associates. The protagonist, Lyes Benamar, also has to deal with some personal matters, as the series tries to put more shade on the character that was written only for action. In fact, the entirety of Blood Coast seems to exist solely for the action moments, which are not too great either, and the show is sometimes too indulgent and simply boring to continue with. Overall, Blood Coast might be of interest if you are looking for an action plot without any complications and if unnecessary drama does not deter you.
The plot in Blood Coast is about Lyes and his team of police officers, who are all determined to bring down the crime rate in Marseille, which is riddled with drug-related violence. The opening of the series has the police force find out about a new batch of drugs in the city, which is not from the usual producers of the region, the Saidi family. This new batch is related to a different gangster named Franck Murillo, who used to run the drug scene in Marseille until some time ago. Although Murillo had been able to escape the country after being arrested by the police, he was declared to be dead in Venezuela within a few months. However, it is soon revealed in the very first episode that Murillo is very much alive, and he has returned to Marseille to take revenge against Ali Saidi. By Murillo’s side is his associate, Tarek Hamadi, who has his own secrets that play an important role later on in the show.
Most emphasis is given to the fight scenes and gunplay sequences, and rightly so, since the action is the only element worth any mention in this Netflix series. Some of the fight sequences, especially towards the beginning, are satisfactorily elaborate and fast-paced, giving the whole scene some much-needed tension and urgency. But sadly, this feeling does not remain consistent throughout the show, for the action, too, loses its spark after some time, just like every other aspect of it. Hand-to-hand combat also could have had a better effect than just the use of guns every time, but there is not much in this regard either.
What could have made Blood Coast interesting is the addition of some drama and depth with regards to the characters, but unfortunately, the writing in the show is not very effective. Instead, these scenes and elements become too drab and feel unnecessary. While the show begins with drugs and hardcore violence, it takes some sort of turn towards social drama, with the presentation of helpless teenagers and the characters trying to come to their aid. One of the police officers, Tatoo, is very emotionally attached to a young boy named Bakari, whom he tries to protect from a life of crime and violence. This plot line also becomes directly important later on, along with some other ones that are related to children as well.
The protagonist, Lyes Benamar, is also a balanced character who has his vices or negatives, along with being a police officer determined in his work. He has established relations with the crime families of the city and has to face consequences for this as well. This is because of a senior Internal Affairs officer, Victor Miranda, who wants to prove these relations and punish Lyes for this unlawful act. Despite facing the heat, the protagonist often chooses the well-being of others over his own, and he does not mind placing himself in danger in multiple instances. It is predominantly this nature of his that pushes Lyes against the likes of Miranda, which also leads to a particular fate for him. But the man does not mind that either, or rather, he cannot really help against it. Despite all these attempts to have depth in the plot and the characters, these dramatic elements go completely amiss in Blood Coast. Rather, the plot could perhaps have been tighter and more compact had the show maintained the tone and pace with which it originally began.
The other characters, like police officers Audrey and Arno, are also given some shades, with an attempt to make them appear like real individuals. But none of this works, as the writing remains limited to the superficial, with no natural effectiveness to any of these plot points. In a rather bizarre contrast, the character of Alice Vidal is not given any proper depth, even though she is on a personal mission, for her father had been killed because of drug gang warfare. The woman seems to play a role in the central plot very inconsistently, only to be wooed and impressed by the male protagonist, Lyes.
There is no reason to mention acting performances or camera work in any specific terms, for they are all adequately done with nothing remarkable or noteworthy in them. Nicolas Duvauchelle, who has played other characters with far better effect in other French Netflix productions, is the main antagonist, Franck Murillo, in this series. Tewfik Jallab, as Lyes Benamar, and Jeanne Goursaud, as Alice Vidal, have done most of the heavy lifting, while the supporting cast has also done a fairly decent job. The predominant use of modern French hip-hop and rap tracks has become such a commonly used affair in crime thrillers of the kind that they seem overused within the first couple of episodes. The visuals and craft used are typical of Netflix shows of this kind. Overall, Blood Coast is really like any other non-English Netflix crime thriller, which can be easily skipped or replaced with other productions of the kind from any other European country.