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Sicario: Racist Sequel?

When everyone who is criminal is either African, Arab, or Mexican and everyone who is heroically “doing what they need to do” is white then you start to ponder, “is this a racist movie?” or is it just another “America is the best and everyone else sucks” movie? Welcome to Sicario: Day of the Soldado.

The film is a sequel to a 2015 production by the name Sicario (2015) and it presents a new mission for FBI Agent Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) and operative Alejandro Gillick (Benicio Del Toro). The mission is for the agents to trigger a war between Mexican cartels by kidnapping the daughter of one of the biggest cartel leaders and framing it on another cartel leader. The mission comes as a form of revenge, seeing that these cartels have been smuggling drugs and terrorists across the border to America.

The film’s plot is intricate enough to keep you interested. However, there are several issues; firstly, the unashamed, in-your-face racism where prayer rugs are used as evidence of terrorism, where all Mexicans are portrayed as drug smugglers, thieves or killers and where white lives matter more than the lives of anyone else. Secondly, starting a cartel war that can destroy an entire country, simply because “as we learned in Iraq it is easier to fight the enemy when they are fighting each other,” makes for an audience (at least international audiences) that is not really rooting for the mission to pan out. Thirdly, the film somewhat criticises the practices of war and American officials, but it also portrays immigrants in such a dehumanised way. Lastly, the plot structure itself was quite stretched.

The events of the film are very violent with several bloody scenes and killings by the dozens, so if you are not into that kind of thing, this film is not advisable for you.

As for the acting, Josh Brolin did what his part required of him: he was a strong tough soldier and commander who asks few questions and does whatever is needed to achieve his goal. Benicio Del Toro on the other hand is supposed to be seeking revenge for his family’s death, but the portrayal of those emotions just never comes off as quite right. There are also several scenes where the motive behind his actions are not clear; this is both the director and the actor’s fault. Other secondary characters were mostly okay, with nothing outstanding, except for Isabela Moner playing the cartel boss’s daughter.

If you like violent war films, you don’t really care if they are racist or not, and you are just looking to see some deadly fight scenes, then this film might is just what you need.

Like This? Try

Sicario (2015), Prisoners (2013), Hell or High Water II (2016), Edge of Tomorrow (2014). 

360 Tip

This is the third action movie for Josh Brolin in 2018, after Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Deadpool 2 (2018).

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