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‘Sicario: Day of the Soldado’ works both as a solid sequel and standalone film

July 6, 2018 GMT

I review MOVIES, and NOT segments of an ongoing franchise, meaning that I look at each film as standalone entertainment. The sequel, “Sicario: Day of the Soldado” does pretty fair in that respect, although the viewer would benefit somewhat by seeing the first movie.

Director Stefano Sollima (“Gomorrah,” “A.C.A.B.,” “Suburra”) keeps the ball rolling very smoothly from the 2015 “Sicario,” returning with two of the stars from that storyline.

The incredibly stereotyped Benicio Del Toro (“Traffic,” “The Hunted,” “Snatch”) as Alejandro, has played drug dealers/counter-drug cops from as far back as 1987 in an episode of “Miami Vice” (his second appearance on the small screen).

He has done other great work throughout his career, but with his chiseled facial features, Spanish good looks and dark, quiet vocals, he was meant to be placed in these types of movies.

As Matt Graver, Josh Brolin (“W.,” “Only the Brave,” “Deadpool 2”) is also linked to “drug war” movies, his breakout movie being the 2007 hit, “No Country for Old Men.”

Both Del Toro and Brolin make for fine players in the fictional extreme sport of the kill-or-be-killed drug trade, and can always be depended on to grab your attention on the big screen.

Newcomer Isabella Moner (“100 Things to Do Before High School”,”“Dora and Friends: Into the City!,” “Transformers: The Last Knight”) is beautiful as the woman-child, Isabel Reyes, who will probably be featured in the third installment (I am almost positive there WILL be one).

With her bright eyes and terrified look, she is giving out the greatest “damsel in distress” vibe since Pearl White in “The Perils of Pauline,” and THAT was over 100 years ago!

Other returning players from the first movie include Jeffrey Donovan (“Burn Notice,” “Fargo,” “Touching Evil”) as Counter-Narcotics mercenary Steve Forsing and Catherine Keener (“Ohara,” “Capote,” “Being John Malkovich,” “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”) as CIA “suit” Cynthia Foards.

Both play excellent second-tier roles (especially Donovan) even though given very little screen time.

Veteran actor Matthew Modine (“Full Metal Jacket,” “Weeds,” “Stranger Things”) also makes a brief appearance as A.G. James Riley.

A small subsidiary role is given Elijah Rodriguez (“Book of Life”). As Miquel Hernandez, he makes an appearance, almost as a human MacGuffin, eventually signaling the furthering of the Sicario saga, undoubtedly playing a much larger role in the third installment.

His youthful appearance may logically link him romantically with Moner’s character. But, we will have to wait and see...

“Sicario: Day of the Soldado” is a nice stand-alone action movie, with nice performance, great visuals and enough suspense and intrigue to keep you guessing at the conclusion.

It is not ground-breaking or Oscar worthy, but will inject enough “Bam! Pow!” into your entertainment fix, to satisfy that movie-going itch.

An added feature is an air-conditioned movie theater and popcorn...

Billy Summers is a freelance photographer who also reviews films for the Putnam Herald. He can be reached at summers855@yahoo.com.