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Review: Sicario 2

I just watched it the other day and could not believe how bad it was. A complete shambolic bollocking, as the Brits would say.

The movie has no real central idea to convey. The first movie, which I loved, had a very simple, very basic idea that it laid out in its final line: “you are not a wolf, and this is now the land of wolves.” There’s absolutely nothing like that in the sequel. Instead it feels like a half-assed attempt with half a script cobbled together to string along a series of events that happen in a sequence. There’s four or five ideas that they just seemed to cram together into this one movie, each one completely undeveloped.

First, it’s the idea of the CIA creating a drug war between two cartels. Hey, that’s a pretty interesting, compelling idea for a movie about the border. If they just went with that idea and followed it through to the end, I figure they’d at least end up with an okay movie. But then the ambush happens and they drop it.

Then we go on to the idea of Alejandro bonding with the cartel daughter and deciding to protect her. But it’s not enough. We just see them stumbling upon a dead guy and using sign language. Nothing happens to allow us to understand why Alejandro now cares about this girl. Remember, this was a guy who had absolutely no problem with wasting some cartel leader’s children in the first movie. We’ve already established this about his character. We need to be convinced that this girl is different and why she’s different in his eyes. But we never get it. There’s no reason why he now cares about cartel leaders children. It’s a question hard been in my mind since I first saw the trailers, and they never satisfactorily answer it.

Then we go on to the idea of Josh Brolin and his guys going up against Alejandro, which was heavily implied in the trailers. This is not really a new idea, of the two former friends/allies suddenly at odds with one another. It’s somewhat of a trope that’s been done countless times in movies. But hey, it can still make for an enjoyable and compelling movie. I’m not asking for the moon here. Yeah, I’m onboard to see Josh Brolin and Del Torro getting into it. But... the movie never delivers on this conflict at all. We think it’s gonna happen, and then... it’s dropped. Again, this is what I mean when I say they just cram a number of ideas into this one movie and never develop any of them. It’s insane how half-assed it all comes out feeling.

So then we move onto this one kid from the border who’s now started working for the illegal alien smuggling ring. At first he just seemed like a normal kid who’s doing this because of a bad influence and he wants some money. Okay, fair enough. But then he completely turns into an evil shit and blows Alejandro’s cover and even goes on to execute him. Wait, where did this come from? Why is he such a complete villain now? Didn’t see it coming. But okay, maybe that’s just how some people are. Then, after the execution, he’s riding on the truck and suddenly jumps off. No idea why. Maybe the movie is suggesting that he had a change of heart and regrets it? Maybe? It’s just bizarre and again the movie does nothing to explain this. I guess maybe he’s not that evil? But then a year later, we see him again and he’s all tattooed up with gang signs on his arms and he seems like a scummy gangster. Okay, so now... I guess the movie wants us to believe that he actually was an evil villain after all, even though he jumped off the truck? Wha? See, I’m getting whiplash from all the weird direction changes in this movie. But okay, now we see him get caught by Alejandro. But instead of getting killed for being an evil shit, Alejandro now... wants to recruit him? What? Why would he want to do that? I suppose you can argue that Alejandro had no way of knowing that the kid was the actual guy who tried to execute him with a shot to his head, but he still rattled him out and got him caught. This bizarre ending just didn’t make any sense to me.

And something I noticed was that Josh Brolin planted the grenades and the kitted out assault rifle for Del Torro to find later in the truck. That implies that Brolin knew Del Torro was still alive and wanted to help him out. But how did he know he was still alive? Didn’t he just see him get shot in the head in the drone footage? I’m so confused.

And see, all of these ideas just go nowhere, or result in odd and confusing conclusions. The first movie has one simple thing to say, and it said it. This movie has no real concrete idea to talk about, so we just get a bunch of incoherent babble. They just get dropped and cut off before they can be developed.

I actually liked the little girl actress, Isabella Moner. She was doing a good job in the first part of he movie and giving us some attitude and it worked. But then in the second half, she just goes completely mute and silent and nothing goes on with her and it’s just over. We don’t get to see the end of her story. She’s just whisked away into witness protection. Which makes zero sense, since in this case they’d be using the US government to give her witness protection from... the US government.

Catherine Keener was another waste. I thought she was gonna be pretty important as the shadowy government official who ends up as a villain or something. But they don’t do anything with her and she just disappears from the movie. Alejandro never confronts her... she’s just gone. Another interesting element dropped from the movie. What a waste of a great actress.

The movie just doesn’t work as a cohesive story. As I’ve outlined here, it’s a number of disparate elements that all awkwardly follow each other and none of them are given any care and attention and focus. It’s Things Happening the movie. I cannot believe they thought this would be a worthy sequel to a great movie like Sicario.

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