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Wick's Review

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Created Jul 07, 2018 07:00PM PST • Edited Jul 13, 2018 02:31AM PST

  1. Quality Help-l
  2. Really Great 4.5

    Sicario 2 couldn’t be more timely, even if its extreme surrealism is an only-in-the-movies depiction of what’s happening today on the TexMex border. That unfenced divide, with traffickers running rampant, makes an ideal milieu for a heavily militarized action thriller. And Sicario: Day of the Soldado is all that.

    It’s distinctly better than the sickly great Sicario 1, in part because Emily Blunt is out of the picture, leaving the estimable Josh Brolin & Benicio Del Toro to rule the roost. As to being of-the-moment, some scenes are set in McAllen, TX, so much in the news lately due to the crisis of children illegally crossing the border.

    The movie works then as a whacked-out lens into the border situation, but even more as a first-rate paramilitary thriller. Hopping from West Africa, to the Pentagon, to a Naval Air Station, to Mexico City, to dusty border towns like McAllen, it has the crisp operational cadence of a Tom Clancy story set in 2018.

    It also works because of the mostly killer cast, starting with Brolin and del Toro, but also including the very compelling youngster Isabela Moner, who plays the precocious daughter of a cartel kingpin. Her scenes with a never better del Toro are by turns frightening, funny, intriguing and touching. They elevate the movie from a guns-n-testosterone fest to one that creates real empathy and pathos. Bring on Sicaro 3!

  3. Great 4.0

    Josh Brolin has become the thinking man’s badass, able to play smart, tough and conflicted. Good thing, since he’s in about every third movie these days.

    Benicio del Toro has never been better than as the vengeance-seeking hitman in Sicario, especially in this episode. We knew he could play brutal. Seeing him play tender, as when he communicates in sign language with a deaf peasant, is revelatory.

    Isabela Moner is a superstar in the making. The camera loves her face, especially her perfectly formed lips. Even more, she oozes intelligence and is able to demonstrate a wide variety of emotions. Just 17 years old now, she’s gonna be big.

    • Jeffrey Donovan brings his trademark intelligence to the role of paramilitary operative.
    • Catherine Keener disappoints as a CIA mucky-muck. She’s simply not a heavy.
    • Matthew Modine also disappoints as the Secretary of Defense. Gravitas can’t be feigned.
    • Raoul Trujillo is in the movie somewhere.
  4. Male Stars Really Great 4.5
  5. Female Stars Really Great 4.5
  6. Female Costars Good 3.0
  7. Male Costars Very Good 3.5
  8. Really Great 4.5

    Sicario films are notable in part for featuring innocent families that get caught-up in trafficking, often unintentionally. This leavens the films and makes them much more engaging, even as it shines a light on the destabilizing force that trafficking brings into communities.

  9. Direction Really Great 4.5
  10. Play Really Great 4.5

    The great Taylor Sheridan came to prominence as a screenwriter with Sicario 1, achieved mainstream acclaim for Hell or High Water, and hit a peak in my estimation with Wind River. So, it’s no surprise that Sicaro 2 is so well conceived, taut and surprising. Sheridan written films have become must-see.

  11. Music Great 4.0
  12. Visuals Really Great 4.5

    Many dozens of stuntmen and dozens of drivers

  13. Content Help-l
  14. Risqué 2.1

    Brutal violence characterizes the Sicario series, typified in this episode when Benicio del Toro uses his finger as a bumpstock to turn his handgun into a virtual machine-gun.

  15. Sex Innocent 1.0
  16. Violence Brutal 3.4
  17. Rudeness Salty 1.8
  18. Surreal 2.4

    No matter the Hollywood hocus-pocus, the movie is a two-hour infomercial for why we need a border wall. You can’t have criminals running wild across an open border and then expect Border Patrol to stop them.

  19. Circumstantial Surreal 2.5
  20. Biological Surreal 3.0
  21. Physical Glib 1.8

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