There are many labels that you can put on the summer movie season of 2018, but for me, it seems to be the summer of Josh Brolin. With three action films in less than eight weeks of “Avengers: Infinity War,” “Deadpool 2,” and now “Sicario: Day of the Soldado,” he is all over the place. Of the three, the latter is the one I was both most intrigued and apprehensive about. I was a huge fan of “Sicario” in 2015, and when the sequel was announced a month after its release, I wasn’t sure where the story of agents on both sides of the U.S./Mexican border could go. Veteran of Latin television Stefano Sollima takes the reins with this one, and it truly does not disappoint.
This time, White House official James Riley (Matthew Modine) and one of his colleagues in Cynthia Foards (Catherine Keener) call on Brolin’s contractor Matt Graver to help them ignite an off-the-books war between the Mexican drug cartels. This gives him the opportunity to enlist Alejandro (Benecio Del Toro) by telling him that he can use this mission to finally complete his revenge on the cartel leader responsible for killing his family. After they stage a kidnapping of the leader’s daughter, Isabel (Isabela Moner), and making it look like it was done by a rival cartel, a number of other circumstances (including the people responsible for giving Graver the mission to begin with) ignite a powder keg that could have international complications.
I know this phrase is very cliché, but this script is nothing short of a rollercoaster. From the intense action to multi-leveled story that keeps things moving (trust me, this is a film that cannot be multitasked, as there is a LOT going on here), I was captivated from the first frame to the last. Brolin and Del Toro do great work together as they did before, complimented well by their supporting cast that also includes “Burn Notice” star Jeffrey Donovan, but the standout here is Moner. She captures the essence of her character on each and every level and is able to convey each and every emotion Isabel feels in a way that shows beyond a shadow of a doubt the brightness of her future. Keep on eye on her as she approaches her next big project in the live-action version of “Dora the Explorer”.
I enjoyed “Sicario: Day of the Soldado” so much that I am strongly considering doing a pseudo double feature in the near future with the first at home and then venturing to the theater for an encore viewing of it. This film works on every level, and with the rumor of this being a trilogy, I now look forward to it’s next chapter with anticipation of the highest order.