Ambassadors episode 2 review

World’s Deadliest Gangs review

Published by jamdog on 9th January, 2003.

 World's Deadliest Gangs review

World’s Deadliest Gangs

Channel 5

Disappointingly, The World’s Deadliest Gangs is not some kind of World’s Strongest Man where you pull trucks with your teeth or bundle a body into a car boot. It’s one of those documentaries which has just enough in-the-public-interest justification to get by but generally relies on a bunch of gory stories from crime journalists who always have that air of having way too much time on their hands and being a little too star-struck by their subjects.

"As a method of showing allegiance, The Americans remove their front four teeth…. Couldn’t they just have some T-shirts printed ?"

Competition for the title World’s Deadliest Gang is intense. Perhaps it could be The Americans of Cape Town, South Africa who steal from their own brothers and rape their own sisters. As a method of showing allegiance, The Americans remove their front four teeth. Is it just me or does that seem a bit extreme? The senseless violence I could deal with but looking like an Ipswich Town supporter? That takes the whole gang thing a bit too far.

Couldn’t they just have some T-shirts printed or perhaps some custom key rings made? You can get some good deals on them on E-bay. Perhaps The Americans are showing their loyalty to US culture by nodding towards The Beverly Hillbillies? Are the webbed feet optional? Just some of the questions the programme won’t be asking.

Gangs come as part of a franchise these days – copycat versions of LA’s Crips and Bloods sprang up across America and even in Europe. It’s the natural consequence of globalisation and the commodification of culture. They’re giving out starter packs sponsored by Reebok – half-price membership if you join before 1st August (I guess that means two teeth instead of four for The Americans?)

"They’re giving out starter packs sponsored by Reebok – half-price membership if you join before 1st August"

The branded, pre-packaged gangs surely miss the point. What’s fascinating about the worldwide gang phenomenon is the little differences in how gangsterism is expressed in different cultures. The Chinese Triads are a solar system away from the Jamaican Yardies – they almost seem to be dealing in a different currency.

Yet both talk about honour and respect – it’s just you can probably get better dope from one of them.

Our obsession with gangsters never seems to wane. Scrote Lit, that horrible little sub-genre of reformed and not-so-reformed criminals with their ghost-written memoirs and the like, continues its growth unabated.

Hard to accept though it may be, we actually ask for programmes like this – our reading habits and viewing habits confirm it. We hate crime but we can’t help but be attracted to it.

If that ain’t criminal tell me what is?

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