Sicario: Day of the Soldado and all the images you see in this review are owned by Columbia Pictures
Directed by Stefano Sollima
You know what I thought when I got out of the first movie? This is PRIME material for a franchise! Yeah, the first Sicario was a dark journey through the worst aspects of the War on Drugs which felt REALLY complete as a story, but after it made a boat load at the box office the studio couldn’t help itself from squeezing as much money out of this cash cow as they could which HOPEFULLY means we’ll get a crossover with The Fast and the Furious franchise, but until then we’ll have to get stuck with more straightforward entries of vastly diminishing returns. Okay, that’s a little unfair. After all, it’s not like you COULDN’T make another movie with this cast, and the premise seems like a great starting point to bring up issues surrounding immigration and border patrol that have only become more exacerbated since the last film came out! Wishful thinking I suppose, but you’ve gotta have SOME amount of hope, right!? Will this be a great and topical sequel to an already fantastic movie, or was this project doomed long before it had a chance to say something important about our current political climate? Let’s find out!!
Following the events of the first film, Matt Graver and Alejandro Gillick (Josh Brolin and Bencio del Toro) seem to have parted ways at least for the time being as the former is still running operations at the border while the latter is waiting for another chance to hit hard against the Cartel. The good news is that such an opportunity has presented itself and will lead to their most drastic and bloody mission yet! The bad news though is that said chance only happened because terrorist blew up a grocery store in Kansas City where at least one of them seems to have gotten into the country illegally from the border (ugh…) and might have even gotten a bit of help from the Cartel. With a blank check from the government to mess things up in Mexico, Matt decides to kidnap the daughter of one of the Cartel bosses down there (Isabela Moner) and then blame it on one of the other Cartel bosses; causing a civil war within the country that will decimate their stranglehold on the area. Things SORT of go off without a hitch, but once it’s time for them to return the girl under the guise of “finding her” across the border, things go sideways as Matt and Alejandro’s crew is ambushed and the girl runs off into the desert. Alejandro goes for the girl while Matt and the rest head back to base in Texas, but all is well as the ambush has made things more complicated than they should be and it’ll be that much harder for Matt and Alejandro to find a way to resolve this without stabbing each other, the US government, or anyone else, directly in the back. Can Alejandro not only find this girl but find a way to keep her safe from those who wish her harm? Just how far will Matt go for Alejandro, and will he be forced to choose between his friend and his duty? Wait, how are we supposed to be rooting for these guys now!? You SAW what they did in the last film, right!?
Blade Runner 2049 and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures and Sony Pictures
Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Yup! Blade Runner sure was a movie, wasn’t it? I mean I was always more into eighties Carpenter than eighties Scott, but it’s clearly a movie that’s impact can still be felt to this day from science fiction films like The Matrix and Dark City to anime like Ghost in the Shell and Akira. Heck, even the live action Ghost in the Shell looks as much like the original Blade Runner as it does the source material! Many of us have been living in this film’s shadow for as long as we’ve been alive, and so the prospect of a sequel seems rather quixotic considering how hard it would be to not only live up to that movie’s actual merits but to also live up to the sense of scope and impact that it ended up leaving in its wake. Does the director of that one movie where Jake Gyllenhaal meets a giant spider have what it takes to stand with one of the titans of the genre, or will this project collapse faster than Rutger Hauer’s plan to not die at the age of four? Let’s find out!!
One more thing! Some people may consider a pertinent detail that we learn five minutes into the movie to be a spoiler. I don’t REALLY see it as a spoiler considering how early it is in the movie, but I figure I’ll just put up a SPOILER WARNING here just in case you want to go in completely blind. TURN BACK NOW IF YOU MUST!!
We good? Okay, so the year is 2049 and the movie begins with Agent K (Ryan Gosling) who we learn within the first five minutes of the movie is a replicant which is an artificially created human but ALSO a cop for the LAPD. A Blade Runner in fact which is a cop that specifically hunts replicants! Hence the title… though I’m still not sure WHY they’re called that considering he uses a gun and tends to leisurely stroll from place to place. Anyway, replicants haven’t been a problem for a while now as the CURRENT big bad organization Wallace Corp has fixed all the kinks that were in the Nexus 6 models from the first film (they had a tendency to rebel and kill humans) but K still has to hunt down these old timers whenever one crosses their path and we see him at the start of one of these missions as the movie begins. Once the deed is done (in GRUESOME detail), he ALSO discovers something else that’s on the replicant’s property that shouldn’t be there but holds secrets that could turn this world on its head. Oh, and in case you were wondering OF COURSE Deckard (Harrison Ford) is somehow involved, so K has to not only find answers as to what exactly they found but where it came from and who else knows about it. While on this super-secret assignment that I’m not gonna spoil, he also has to contend with Wallace Corp head honcho Niander (Jared Leto) as well as his replicant assistant Luv (Sylvia Hoeks) who seem to know exactly what’s going on and are keeping tabs on him just in case he either discovers too much or finds something that they’re looking for as well. Will K unlock the mysteries that are so mysterious that they can’t be discussed here? Will they in some way deal with his mysterious past which is a mystery even to him? JUST HOW MANY SECRETS CAN ONE MOVIE HAVE!?
Sicario and all the images you see in this review are owned by Lionsgate
Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Isn’t it great to that we start getting GOOD movies again? I mean sure, Black Mass had its problems but compared to some of the crap I had to sit through in the last two months, it was practically Kubrick. Now we’re getting this movie AND The Martian in the same week without a single bible thumping propaganda piece in sight! Does this tale about government agencies working against the Cartel manage to be one of the better films of the year, or is a disappointing procedural that will get lost in the shuffle by the time the Oscars roll around? Let’s find out!!
The movie is about Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) who’s head of some sort of tactical response team in the FBI stumbles across a horrifying crime scene during one of her missions where the Cartel has apparently been burying people they kill in the walls of the building. Okay… well it gets even worse when the team accidently sets off a trap bomb that may have killed any remaining hostages that the team thought were on the premises. Despite the awful day she had, the silver lining comes in when she catches the attention of Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) who offers her a chance to work with him on more direct missions against the Cartel. She agrees to go with him and meets with Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro) who’s a complete mystery and may not even be working for the United States in any sort of official capacity. Still, he proves to be very effective in the line of duty as he and Matt (along with Kate who’s still adjusting to their methods) work on operations that will definitely cut the Cartel’s legs out from under them. Still, she has her reservations to the actions they take and once her partner from the tactical response team Reggie Wayne (Daniel Kaluuya) gets in on it to, it’s clear that her conscious is getting the better of her and that Matt and Alejandro aren’t exactly who they seem to be. Will Kate decide that their methods, while unorthodox, are necessary for the war they’re trying to fight, or will she not allow herself to go through the mental hoops necessary to somehow justify their actions and her own?