Film Review: SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADO (USA 2018) ***

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Sicario: Day of the Soldado Poster
The drug war on the U.S.-Mexico border has escalated as the cartels have begun trafficking terrorists across the US border. To fight the war, federal agent Matt Graver re-teams with the mercurial Alejandro.


Stefano Sollima


Italian director Stefano Sollima takes over the director duties from Denis Villeneuve in the SICARIO sequel, both films written by Taylor Sheridan.  The director’s imprint makes a difference with the sequel, a solid one at that playing more like a no-nonsense action suspensor.  In case one is wondering, the film translating to English would read: Hitman: Day of the Soldier.

The film’s trailer shows the film’s key scenes where the task and thus the subject of the film is at hand.  It is an operative that has no rules, and one that is as dirty as it gets.

The film is as current as it gets with Trump wanting to build a wall between the border of the the U.S. and Mexico.  The setting is the U.S. Mexican border where illegal aliens are crossing the river to get into the States.  The drug cartels are, according to the film, smuggling terrorists across the U.S. border.  When the film opens, a terrorist attack has just occurred with innocent Americans killed.  The Americans want revenge and hire CIA agent Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) from the first movie to start a drug war. so that these drug lords will destroy each other.  Graver hires undercover operative Alejandro Gillick (Oscar Winner Benicio Del Toro) to kidnap Isabela Reyes (Isabela Moner), the daughter of a drug lord, in a false flag operation designed to incite war between rival cartels.   The mission goes awry when it is discovered by the Mexican government, prompting Graver to order Reyes’ execution.  When Gillick refuses, he turns rogue to protect her as Graver assembles a new team to hunt them both.  

One of the film’s extended segments shows Isabela in school having a schoolyard fight with another girl who she punches in the face.  At the principal’s office, she challenges the principal to expel her.  Her toughness is clear but after her kidnapping, all she does is scream and get scared.  It is puzzling the reason Isabel is shown to be tough unless it is to show the trauma she is going through while being kidnapped.  The film also omits any scene with her father, Carlos Reyes.

The script by Sheridan opens the film up for many subplots.  One is the young Mexican who is an expert on the area around the border, and who is hired to guide the illegal aliens across the border.  His character is smart, merciless and yet vulnerable with a family he cares for.

Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin make the movie.  They play hard-ass characters who are violent, determined and efficient sicario (hit-men) in what they do.  Christine Keener does well as Graver’s boss who is just as brutal in the execution of her duties.  The screen lights up when these characters come head to head in confrontation.

If this SICARIO makes money, the ending prepares the audience for yet another sequel.  There are plenty of potential and opportunities for more action packed stories.  If Brolin, Del Toron and Keener are in for another SICARIO, that would indeed be a good thing.


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