Sicario 2 is hitting the theaters this weekend, and everyone is excited to see the ‘dirty harry’ A-Team back together.
The trailer has promised that it will be an action packed film filled with the same intensity Benicio del Toro delivered in the first film. But, going into view this film it begged the question for me: will this movie be a shell of the first one? Or will the story continue on as well as its predecessor? In my opinion, the film may not have lived up to the first Sicario but it did deliver a story that can very well stand on its own – the war on the border. Its no shocker that a list of heavy Mexican and Spanish films have been made given our country’s current political climate, but Sicario 2 speaks to the realism of the terror that reigns in Mexico and its affect on America.
As with most sequels, the film begins with setting up the atmosphere for which this new story will take place, and where our old characters are in the present day. Sicario 2 doesn’t begin immediately where it left off, but instead begins with several people trying to illegally cross the US border. The US comes swooping in with their large helicopters, and patrol agents to stop the Mexicans from crossing.
You’d think this will be a simple story of the US coming to round up illegal immigrants, but there is a twist! One man desperately tries to run in the other direction to keep from getting caught, but to no avail becomes quickly surrounded by the other US forces. Faced with no other option the man takes off his bag, and drops to begin digging himself in his spot in the sand. Your mind clicks together, this immigrant has something else on his mind. US Patrol agents approach tentatively to capture the man and then – BOOM goes him and all those around him. The film then cuts to three individuals walking into a department store and dread settles in your stomach as you realize this is going to be another attack. The three men say their prayers, set off their bombs, and terrorist attacks ensue.
This leaves Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) character to the conclusion that the Mexico cartels are smuggling terrorist across the border. The Secretary of defense, and Graver comes up with the plan that the only way to keep the cartels focused off the US is to ensue a war between them. Hence Matt gets the old team back together, minus Emily Blunt, and the audience gets to see the long awaited preseance of Alejandro – Sicario.
Alejandro accepts the mission as he stands to gain his vengeance by kidnapping the daughter of the Reyels cartel – the man responsible for slaughtering his entire family. Thus we fall into the good of the film, the good and innocent people who will be caught in the horror of this cartel war. The audience is introduced to Isabel Reyes who is shown as being extremely scrappy, smart, and cunning.
Isabel knows her father has a lot of enemies, and so being kidnapped literally has to be her worst nightmare and the actress shows her fear on the screen well. Alejandro extracts Isabel from her body guards but the bag placed over her head keeps her from knowing its him. When she is then given to federal custody she believes that Alejandro is her savior, until she gets a clearer look at his face. Everything goes according to plan and Isabel is to be delivered across the US border with Matt and Alejandro but then they are attacked by the corrupt, cartel Mexican police. Caught in a hell storm of raining gunfire Isabel escapes and Alejandro is tasked with bringing her back. When the two are reunited they find help in the service of a deaf man who assist them with a place to stay in the middle of the desert.
At this point the film is doing a solid job of setting up the intersectionality between two opposing forces and their fight against each other. Inner racial crimes are something that has plagued people of color for decades as good and innocent people tend to be the unfortunate victims of a war such as this one. You have Isabel, a young girl, who is being threatened and used as a bargaining chip due to the sins of her father. The deaf man who only wants the best for his family assist because he is tired of the tyranny and countless deaths at the cartel hands. This is an unfortunate circumstances that many live in any war torn country ran by a terror organization, which is the danger of causing for the ban of immigrants. Alejandro has the opportunity to seek the ultimate vengeance against his enemy, a daughter for a daughter.. The bad that settles in movie, it is no longer cartel versus cartel it’s the US versus Mexico.
After the gun showdown that left several Mexican policeman dead all sights turn to the US involvement with Mexican forces. As per usual with American governing forces if it’s a threat to the American image than all ties are cut. Alejandro is placed in a bad situation because he has this valuable girl, who can be the key to igniting and bargain for the Reyes cartel, is now tasked with taking Isabel to the border by himself. As noted earlier the relations between Mexico and US worsen as we face immigration reform, repeal of DREAM organization, deportation, and now separation of children at the border. This film creates a space in which you have this issue take place and it seems as if the divide between America and Mexico will split further. However, by placing Alejandro in this situation the film creates out of him an unseen hero. Someone who fights within his race to bring down a cartel and chooses to save the daughter in spite of his American counterparts saying otherwise. Matt realizing this also decides to screw the commanders decision and when it comes time for him to save Isabel he does. In much the same way, they are examples of when American troops have gone against command to help alleviate our foreign allies in the midst of an ugly war.
As the film winds down to a close the ugliness of all the tension comes to head. Isabel and Alejandro head to the border but are stopped by a young boy by the name of Miguel. Miguel is the male mirror to Isabel – same age, young, scrappy, but Miguel has conceded to living the cartel life after he was introduced to it by his older cousin. Earlier in the film Miguel spotted Alejandro inside a DEA police car. So when Alejandro shows up in disguise, with Isabel as his fake daughter, Miguel immediately snitches and the final showdown ensues. Tied, blindfolded, and bound the rival cartel leader places Alejandro down at the end of the barrel of a gun held by Miguel. Miguel shoots Alejandro in the face and his body stills along with the sinking thought: The ugliness of it all is the destruction by your own fellow man. Rival cartel and gang wars cause the corruption, seediness and destruction within your own people. How can you focus on your common enemy when your too busy betraying and selling out people within your own community? Well that question isn’t answered by the end of the film as well as several others. This film ending puts the cliff in cliff hanger, as it jumps to a year later with Miguel (assuming Cartel boss) is walking to pick up a drop. Imagine his surprise when he sees the boogeyman raised from the dead as Alejandro is there to meet him.
So in the end, this film may struggle with a few loose ends here and there but it did deliver on a compelling story that was entertaining as it was tense.
The good: the characters who were willing to put their neck on the line to fight the evil in their own community not to mention great action sequences and performances.
The bad: being engaged in a war against another global superpower and being tossed aside when it pleases them. The ugly, gunning down your own people so that you alone can rise to the top. I would definitely recommend Sicario 2 to anyone who wants a action-packed but also sobering adventure and it scores 7/10.
Alejandro leaves the audience with one question you alone can decide the answer too – “So you want to be a Sicario?”