“Help us start a war,” says Department of Justice federal agent Matt Graver (Josh Brolin). “With who?” says rogue recruit Alejandro Gillick (Benicio Del Toro). “Everyone,” says Graver. “There are no rules this time.” With help from ruthless Mexican drug cartels, ISIS terrorists have entered the US through Mexico. A war between cartels would focus drug dealers on each other rather than migrants and terrorists; that’s the DOJ plan. It sets up “Sicario: Day of the Soldado,” action sequel to the 2015 original.
Can kidnapping 12-year old Isabela Reyes (Isabela Moner) convince her cartel kingpin father that she’s been taken by the rival Matamoros cartel or will the US government’s involvement be revealed? That’s the question in this ultra-violent crime/thriller.
Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin are convincing as federal agent Matt Graver and rogue gunman Alejandro Gillick, characters from the original film. Tough and brutal in their roles, they blur the line between good and evil so that neither (at least initially) is a character we identify with. Isabela Moner as kidnapped Isabela Reyes is tough, too, but she’s an appealing 12-year-old in a very dangerous situation — and a very good actress, too. Matthew Modine is James Riley, Secretary of Defense, and Catherine Keener is no-nonsense Cynthia Foards, in charge of undercover operations.
Others in the cast include Jeffrey Donovan as Steve Forsing and Elijah Rodriguez as 16-year old Miguel Hernandez. Christopher Heyerdahl is Isabela’s private school headmaster. Ian Bohen and Manuel Garcia-Rulfo play Carson Wright and Gallo.
“Sicario: Day of the Soldado” is the middle film of a trilogy, according to its writer, Taylor Sheridan. Like “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” “Soldado’s” primary purpose is to set up the third film which will, presumably, pick up the plot where “Soldado” leaves it — which is, essentially unresolved. That may explain a plot twist (which I cannot reveal) as Alejandro and Isabela lose their way in the second half of the film. Directed by Stefano Sollima, from Taylor Sheridan’s script, with excellent cinematography by Dariusz Wolski, “Sicario 2” is Del Toro’s movie. His extended scenes with young Isabela Moner are the film’s best sequences. Alejandro and Isabela Reyes are characters we will likely see in “Sicario 3.”
Rated R for strong violence, bloody images and language, “Sicario: Day of the Soldado” runs 122 minutes. See “Sicario” (2015) first.
“Sicario’s” second act —
“Day of the Soldado”;
Violent, action packed;
See part one before you go.