Sicario: Day Of The Soldado
Stars: Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Isabela Moner, Jeffrey Donovan, Catherine Keener, Matthew Modine, Manuel Garcia Ruifo and Elijah Rodriguez
Director: Stefano Sollima
Scriptwriter: Taylor Sheridan
Composer: Hildur Guonadottir
Cinematography: Dariusz Wolski
Columbia Pictures
Rating: R for violence
Running Length: 123 minutes 

In the first “Sicario” film of 2015, Emily Blunt’s character was shown not to have the nerve to be a border police officer. Emily has gone on to star in her husband, John Krasinski’s films and does not appear in this movie. However, Josh Brolin, Benicio del Toro and Jeffrey Donovan are back as CIA agents who work covert operations. This time, the female lead is a young girl, Isabela, played by Isabela Moner, and she goes back and forth between kidnappers. The basic premise is that of revenge in a world of drug cartels and violence. The word “sicario” means, essentially, an assassin. 

The story begins in Kansas City, Mo. with a suicide bombing, fifteen people dead and it looks like the Mexican drug cartels are at work here. Matt (Josh Brolin) and his sidekick, Steve (Jeffrey Donovan) are called into play and they decide to kidnap, Isabela, the teenage daughter of the drug cartels as punishment. Now, the scenes change to the border between Mexico and the United States. Also, they bring in Alejandro (Benicio del Toro) as a special agent. Nothing goes according to plan and they discover that the suicide bombers were actually Americans living in the U.S., so Mexico was not involved. What to do with Isabela? Matt puts out a hit on her, but Alejandro says “no.” Now the man and girl go on the run and it is a cat and mouse game with disguises, narrow escapes and meeting a would-be thug, Miguel (Elijah Rodriguez.) 

The first “Sicario” had beautiful scenery with sun rises and sun sets against the southwestern U. S. horizon. This continues with Cinematographer Dariusz Wolski. Also, the late composer, Johann Johannsson, who had such a memorable soundtrack for “Sicario,” is replaced by Hildur Guonadottir, who has a special touch all his own. 

Some may wonder why a second “Sicario” was made, and perhaps the brooding character of Alejandro, dramatically played by del Toro, was the reason.  He gives the word “gloomy” new meaning. Here is a man, apparently, without mercy, yet, something is still there in a back room lit by a single candle. On the other hand, Josh Brolin’s, “Matt,” just goes ahead with whatever assignment he is given. Isabela Moner, as Isabela, plays a teenager who can take care of herself, having grown up with violence around her.  It is Elijah Rodriguez, as Miguel, who is the surprise, and here is a young actor showing what he can do. Watch for acting pros Catherine Keener and Matthew Modine, also. 

“Sicario: Day Of The Soldado,” shows the intensity of the continuing drug war between cartels on both sides of the border. Violence begets violence and so it continues. When the opportunity occurs to attack, don’t hesitate. Mistakes can be made, too, as in trying to find out just where terrorists come from and you have one chance at doing this. Makes you wonder just how best to fight this drug war.  Military tactics? Undercover? Building a wall? Destroying the evidence, but then there is always another crop next year. 

The lone soldier or “soldado,” is out there somewhere, just like the sniper of today’s warfare. You just don’t know when or how they will strike. Be aware of violence in this film. 


Copyright 2018 Marie Asner