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Sicario: Day of the Soldado

Sicario

So: anybody up to go see a grizzly action drama about a young girl being kidnapped by US undercovers and trafficked over the Texas/Mexican border?

The top-notch original film, which starred the ever-terrific Emily Blunt, looked at the complex lives of border agents with tough smarts and compassion. Here, writer Taylor Sheridan focuses on the male stars who supported Blunt in the earlier piece, U.S. agent Matt Graver, played oh so gravely by Josh Brolin and the mysterious Alejandro Gillick, a mysterious Benicio Del Toro. Given free reign by the American government to wreak havoc with Mexican drug kingpins, Graver, having just growled his way through interrogating (outside the rules) Muslim suicide bomb accomplices, is raring to go. Money is no object, neither, apparently, is the Geneva Convention. And so, buddying up with some of the old gang (but, sadly, not Emily), the team sets out to take a kingpin’s daughter hostage and, I guess, start a cartel war.

Hard to tell, really, because most of the storytelling, which Sheridan usually handles well, is muddled and dull. Oh, and it’s completely amoral, but not in a fun way. Who is the best of the bad guys? Who am I supposed to root for? And why isn’t Emily Blunt in this movie?

There’s a stab (the only stab, by the way, everything else is done with guns) at conscience and some kind of moral center, but director Stefano Sollima loses most of that in the sauce of blood, snarling and spurting innards. That brew will certainly entertain some people. Me? I was more interested in finding out what happened to one guy Del Toro fatally shoots in the head. Seems as if said dead guy falls to the ground, but when the fancy overhead shot shows the kind-of good guys escaping, I swear I couldn’t see Mr. Bloody lying anywhere. Hmmm.

Sheridan sets up the proceedings for yet another sequel. Please bring back Blunt, along with heart, soul, continuity and some common sense.

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