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Sicario Day of the Soldado Review (2018) | The Franchise is Not Yet Lost

Sicario Day of the Soldado had standards hard to beat, and we are talking about Denis Villeneuve standards. So does it even graze it? Fortunately, yes. The series that kickstarted in 2015 with the first installment has not been lost yet thanks to Taylor Sheridan who has once again taken the story forward by writing an absolute beauty. Sadly this movie is less on the action front as was promoted via trailers, but if you have a good solid fortified story in the front seat, petty things like that hardly matter.

The politics in Sicario Day of the Soldado is high on dope and the capricious behavior of government is simply frustrating. You almost get an idea of how the government works, how it doesn’t flinch whilst taking bold decisions and then how it becomes terrified trying to see it all the way through. You fathom that even the people who actually get the job done, happen to be nothing but tiny specks who don’t matter to a comfy sprawled up system.

Unfortunately, it works the same in every enclave of life. You go anywhere, that’s how the world rolls today. You don’t have a say in anything if you are not at the top of the chain. All you can do is suggest your ideas, put forth things to keep the engine of life rolling, but even if somebody at the highest notch wishes to listen, you are tightly bound to a single order. One word and everything that you have so carefully built will fall like dominoes. Everything boils down to just one man’s command who will do anything to save his name.

Sicario Day of the Soldado leverages that quotient effectively and depicts men trapped under decisions. It shows how brave men crumble even when they are at the top of their game.

Direction and Plot of Sicario Day of the Soldado (Spoilers)

The direction of Sicario Day of the Soldado by Stefano Sollima turned out to be surprisingly good if not matching the levels of Denis. That brings to mind the glorious depiction of an ambush from the perspective of a little girl inside a van. Not for once do we see a theatrical glorification of the men shooting at the convoy. It is like living a tale from your very own perspective. There are no faces to evil. From the vantage of a girl every man with a gun is. It is one of the most powerful scenes from the movie.

Josh Brolin, Jeffrey Donovan and Benicio Del Toro in Sicario Day of the Soldado

Sollima is great with building up. He becomes successful in creating some real tension. When you see your hero trapped in a situation, you are constantly feeling that mind-numbing blow in your heart, scanning tiny moves by the enemy. You are constantly rooting for him to escape a tight situation. If a director is able to create that thrilling nail-biting moment without giving away what’s going to happen, he has managed to rivet you in a trance. That’s what happens here.

Stefano Sollima is also unafraid of depicting gore. Blood is not splattered all across the movie since a lot of areas are left to the viewer’s imagination. But when it is an absolute necessity there is no doubt aplenty.

The Story

This sequel explores US’s involvement once again on Mexico’s soil after a tragic bombing occurs in a mall in Kansas City. As a comeback bid, Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) is put on a mission to use extreme measures against those suspected to transport terrorists from Mexico. In comes Alejandro Gillick (Benicio Del Toro) who is hired to start a war between cartels.

Matt Graver: You gonna help us start a war.
Alejandro: With who?
Matt Graver: With everyone.

Alejandro then slays a crooked lawyer of Matamoros cartel in a theatrical display of wrath. Later the team nabs Isabel Reyes (Isabela Moner), the daughter of a kingpin of their rivals to piss them off. They stage a rescue with the help of DEA, to plant the idea that she was kidnapped by her father’s enemies. Their mission is to escort her back to Mexico but to hand her over to her father’s rivals so as to inflame the strain.

The team gets ambushed by Mexican police as Isabel escapes amid havoc. That’s where Alejandro parts with Graver and decides to pursue Isabel alone. The US Government figures out that they messed up since two of the suicide bombers were actually US citizens and were not smuggled in as were preconceived. The mission to mess with the cartels is aborted at once and Graver is asked to erase everything that could link their involvement. Meaning even Isabel is to be executed.

I could throw a stick across the river and hit fifty grieving fathers.

Saying No

On being ordered to do so, Gillick refuses thereby turning rogue. Disguised as illegal immigrants Gillick and Isabel try to enter the US as Graver and his team tries to hunt them down in Mexico.

One of the best conversations happens when not a word is spoken. It is aced by a power pack performance by Bruno Bichir‘s character of a deaf person. Gillick and Isabel bump into him as the former uses sign language to speak to him. In a world of chaos where nobody trusts anyone, the poor old deaf man comes as a blessing.

Different worlds!

Benicio Del Toro at Bruno Bichir's house still

After being identified by a coyote named Miguel (Elijah Rodriguez), Gallo (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo), who handles the business of illegal immigrants, nabs Gillick and Isabel. He then forces Miguel to shoot Gillick taking Isabel captive.

The Sicario Killer

Even though Miguel hesitates to shoot Gillick at first, he shoots him in the head as the gang moves on leaving the sicario to die. Frustrated at what he has become and what his gang sees him as – “A Sicario Killer” which was nothing but a feigned conceit for him (probably because he felt he just killed a tied man who had no choice and that there was no honor in what he did), he chooses to walk away from them.

Graver with his team, with the help of a tracker planted on Isabel, tracks her down and executes Gallo and his gang. Eventually, he decides to have mercy on the girl and rescues her to be put on Witness protection in the US, thus going against his orders.

Meanwhile, it turns out, Gillick is not after all dead, that the bullet had gone straight through his jaw. He lifts himself up walks up to a car and then drives for the border. You will have your heart in your mouth watching him gradually rise and fall. The reality engulfed in that scene is simply mind-boggling.

One year later we find him in good shape as he tracks down Miguel the boy who had shot him, asks him if he wants to be a sicario.

So you want to be a Sicario?

With that, the curtains drop. Seems like we have another part in the making. A brilliant way to leave the strands open.

You can order Sicario: Day of the Soldado from here:

What was Baffling?

Baffling was the conclusive bits I would say. Even though they were gorgeously aced, may be back in our minds we didn’t want it to get over so soon. Maybe a badass fight scene before all hell broke loose for Alejandro would have been more exciting. We knew what Alejandro could do, but he felt powerless when surrounded by Gallo’s gang. Failing to do any considerable damage and getting shot in the head felt like a plastic bag trapped in a hurricane.

To a person watching Sicario Day of the Soldado for the first time, without the knowledge of what went down in the first, explaining how badass Alejandro felt frustrating. Primarily because Stefano failed to leverage him more in here. Alejandro Gillick felt trampled and weak when put in a tight situation. I guess we could have used him more to depict his real power.

The eventuality of the flick Sicario Day of the Soldado has a statement from Alejandro who ends the movie by pressing the question of Miguel wanting to be a sicario. But there hasn’t been a single talk about him wishing to be one. He was a coyote, yes, and he did shoot him and got branded as a Sicario Killer. But that didn’t mean he wanted to be one. It was a matter of choice which from Miguel’s disapproval of his killing act felt like taken. Unfortunately, Gillick’s statement, in the end, felt like an assertion, as if Miguel didn’t have a choice yet again. That fact itches somewhere.

The Final Verdict

Goes without saying that Denis is hard to beat, or even match horns with. That was a standard impossible to match for any director who was going to step in for the sequel. Surprisingly Sollima’s work isn’t bad at all. You can witness a lot of seriousness captured inside his grim frames. You get riveted to the story at once knowing something huge is at stake.

The good thing is that we get to see Graver in action a lot. He spends a lot of onscreen time complementing the story properly with his involvement. At the end of it all, you can’t help but wonder if Sicario Day of the Soldado could have used a little more action. Or a tad more badassery from Alejandro’s character which was on the receiving end for a long time.

But to be honest, everything fell into place and felt justified in the end.

Avengers Infinity War Review (2018) | The Big Bad Mad Titan Finally Arrives

What a beautifully crafted flick! Avengers Infinity War is everything that we expected it to be, and so much more. It is intelligent, poetic, impactful, sad and badass, all at the same time. While it doesn’t fall short of thrill on the action front, it also fairly nibbles at melodrama aplenty.

It wouldn’t be wrong to call Avengers Infinity War a Thanos movie. The antagonist feels like a poem. He has been created so as to leave you in utter awe. Apart from the fact that Thanos is immensely powerful, and I mean like he packs in really hulk-defying powers even when he had just one infinity stone with him, he is also quite sentient.

Even in his blatant disregard for any form of life, you realize he is the feeling kind – a deviant who adheres to his code, unlike thousands of humans on our very own planet. You can feel his vibes, his pain, even though how wrong he is (debatable) in what he aspires to do. His methods diabolical and his ways to get things done even so infernal.

You will never be a god!

The whole MCU prepped us up for this huge moment and the good news is, it doesn’t disappoint. All roads lead to him, the eventuality that feels like death, and he acts like it. He walks like he owns the universe, delivers justice as if it were his call or deliverance.

That’s the ultimate badass villain that we wanted, and Josh Brolin does every bit of insightful justice to him. He is just not some mad Titan bent on destroying everything in his wake, but a sentient living monster who feels pang just like others, with a fixed purpose in life.

The Poetry in Avengers Infinity War (Spoilers)

There are plenty of moments in Avengers Infinity War where you will feel explicit poetry taking shape. In conversations of an adopted daughter with her father, of planets where civilizations collapsed as Thanos turns a leaflet of history to show Doctor Strange a glimpse from the past, his vision of why he is trying to do what he does, and “men” talking about the import of a job and what comes after. Everything has been inscribed in 2 hours and 29 minutes of enthralling awesomeness.

The part where directors Anthony Russo and Joe Russo choose to mum the destructive aspect of a colossal villain by showing him fragile, as he wakes up in Volmir in a pool of water, after retrieving the soul stone, as if waking up in his very own pool of tears has been brilliantly stowed.

Gamora: Did you do it?
Thanos: Yes.
Gamora: What did it cost?
Thanos: Everything.

Then the part where Thanos had so candidly confessed to the question of ‘what after’ about his plans to see the sunset has been brilliantly pulled off at the end. It is commendably subtle as we see him vanish after that deleterious snap of his finger to a place he had confessed about earlier. It perplexes the audience poking a question at his very existence.

Is he really dying? Or now that he wields the power of a God can he not surmount death?

The Dismal End

Avengers Infinity War is brutal in its killing spree. You realize that it’s abrupt, and even though you want your superheroes to somehow escape their fate, it is simply inescapable. One by one the Avengers get effaced. The characters you have grown so fond of get obliterated in a jiffy.

Death follows him like a shadow.

There also lies poetry in the aftermath as everything one holds dear begins to wane. Starting from Buck who calls out Steve before turning into ash to everyone you thought was important fades. It is like watching a piece of you getting decimated. All you can say is, “No….No….not him or not her!”

What you instantly like about Avengers Infinity War is that it is bold, unafraid to kill its characters. It kind of reminds you of Game of Thrones. Okay the reference somehow reminds me that we have Peter Dinklage playing Eitri, the role of a dwarf, so basically himself. Only the dwarf here is a giant. When you think about it, you realize – is it not a matter of perspective? The dwarf is actually a giant for some, ergo named so. It’s like Russo’s are telling us that no one should be judged by their size but the size of things they do. If that’s not poetry, I don’t know what is.

Thor

While the world is at war, Thor is on his own mission to garner resources to be resourceful so to have another shot at Thanos. He is forever optimistic, despite how funny his character has been arched. It should well be noted that everything, I repeat, everything has been taken away from him. You can’t help but feel sorry for him, even though the Russo brethren choose to mock at his problems. He is this immense fighting machine that believes in doing the right thing, of getting the world rid of evil.

There’s despair written all over him, and yet he takes on challenges without giving them a second thought. Watch out for that neutron star bit where he takes it as if he is invincible. His Godly demeanour is, I think, very underrated and in an attempt to make him sound cool and funny he has been deprived of a lot of grief that would have otherwise made his character a lot darker.

Eitri helps Thor create his new hammer, nay an axe, which is called the Stormbreaker which becomes the very reason for Thor having a chance against Thanos. His entrance is grand and everything that happens thereafter is like an inspiration to everybody fighting.

Besides we should not forget that Thor is the only Avenger who gets to lance Thanos like a boss even though the plan backfires, but it was going to anyway.

You should have gone for the head.

Iron Man

While a lot is going on in the head of Tony Stark when he is fighting the thought of calling Captain America, which he almost does, Earth is struck by members of Black Order. Ebony Maw (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor) is a badass minion with powers that surpass Doctor Strange’s.

You can’t park here, buddy. Earth is closed today. Take your tractor beam and skedaddle.

With the help of Spidey’s cult knowledge, he is able to defeat Ebony and then plan a properly planned attack on Thanos’s own turf.

While Iron Man depicts standards unseen hitherto in his fights, his presence of mind and techniques almost get the job done. If it were not for Star-Lord’s intervention victory over Thanos was possible. But everything goes to dust and then it becomes impossible to stop him.

But you cannot still appreciate Iron Man enough for his fighting efforts till last moment. He was no match for Thanos and yet he fought him as if he had a chance. The fact that he goes down trying only puts respect in the Mad Titan for him, and makes you revere him even more.

Stark, you have my respect. I hope the people of Earth remember you.

That fight sequence he sneaks in even after being exploded by a moon is one of the best that Avengers Infinity War movie retains.

Captain America

Cap is that beacon of hope that literally strikes every spark alive. As witnessed in Age of Ultron, him fighting Ultron as if he was imperishable, Captain America is nothing less than a fantastical marvel. So he proves yet again when he shows up at desperate times when we felt the end of Vision was near. He, alongside Natasha and Falcon, swoop in, in just the nick of time, making Proxima Midnight and Corvus Glaive taste defeat.

Not only does he personify the very definition of badass, but he makes you realize how badly you had missed him all these years. Him fighting alongside Black Panther against a bazillion terrifying giant rabid dogs with fury unparalleled makes you respect him even more. It is no surprise why everyone looks up to him for almost everything.

In a final showdown with Thanos, as he stops his gauntlet onslaught with both hands making Thanos go “What the fuck?” you can only imagine the strength he retains.

It is sad that the call was never made. That Stark and Cap never got to face each other, and in those desperate moments when you feel that either of them could have died, you realize that they could have died unfulfilled without having a chance to speak to each other again. That feeling is so sad that the moment Iron Man is lanced, you begin to go through some real emotional trauma.

Wanda and Vision

It’s hard not to talk about how hard Wanda tries to save Vision. Their chemistry is brilliantly pulled off with both Paul Bettany and Elizabeth Olsen weighing in on their characters superbly. As audience, we already know what is going to happen with Vision holding the mind gem in his head, his death seemed inevitable. But a ray of hope was struck alive with Shuri taking over to assist Vision by separating the mind stone despite how hard she tries, but everything just goes kaput.

Vision had spoken with Wanda about taking that call of destroying the gem when time came. It would have destroyed him too as his very life depended on it. Even though Vision asks her to make that choice, to which she finally gives in, doing something that every cell in her body was against, she succeeds in destroying the mind gem. It was a call that literally crushed her, and you could literally sense the pain that she had to go through to do something so huge.

It is just sad that Vision had to die twice for Thanos to retrieve the gem. He is thrown like trash when Thanos is able to lay his hands on the mind stone. It just goes on to show his evil recklessness for something we had only begun to admire.

Quill and Gamora

Whilst the crossover was a success, with Rocket and Groot speeding off with Thor on his quest to retrieve his hammer and Peter, Gamora, Mantis and Drax going after Thanos, humour was flung aplenty.

Alright, Guardians, don’t forget this might be dangerous, so let’s put on our mean faces.

Gamora had asked Quill what Vision had asked of Wanda. On being instigated he takes a shot too but fails because Thanos doesn’t let him. Thanos doesn’t kill Peter Quill instantly because he likes Peter and the very fact that Gamora was in love with Peter.

So basically that makes two of the infinity stones retrieval a process of ‘kill-me-before-Thanos-gets-it-out-of-me’ situation. Two of the other infinity stones retrieval was basically ‘torture-ones-you-love’ process and then get it from them. That fared well for Thanos, even the one that milks the Doctor Strange’s and Iron Man’s bropocalypse.

Quill and Gamora too had something special between them which was ruined when Thanos took Gamora back to Titan. With Gamora sacrificed, and the news broken to Quill was one of the turning points of Team Avengers/Team Guardians vs Thanos.

Understanding what Peter Quill feels when he discovers the truth about Gamora would be an understatement. You can relate so much to him, but it takes away the only chance they had of removing the gauntlet from Thanos’ hand.

With Strange hanging on to the Time Stone all this time without using it, you couldn’t help but wonder if the exact scene of them trying to take off the gauntlet could have been reiterated with its help. Strange could have taken Quill away for a while when the news of Gamora’s death was told. Then again maybe we have that saved for the next part.

Bruce’s Failed Resolve

Hulk’s no-show is utterly disappointing, but you know that he is going to show up in the next one. So that’s one epic thing to look up to. But given how easily Thanos beat the crap out of him, it seems highly unlikely that going with that same strategic plan of ‘Hulk smash everything’ is going to work again.

Bruce’s constant struggle to reason with his inner self is dispiriting even though how funny Marvel decided to make it. Natasha sees Banner after a long time, and it’s good to see that the spark is still kept alive. Maybe we will explore that story in the long run. It would be fun to watch how things sieve then. I have always wanted to see their budding love go into a direction.

Things That Bother You

There are some moments in Avengers Infinity War where you can feel the CGI falling apart. In one of the obvious moments where Gamora is talking to Thanos, you can see how difficult it must have been to fill in VFX through her continuously flowing mane. There’s a clear line on her left face that feels blurred since the work there remained shabby.

I know what it’s like to lose. To feel so desperately that you are right, yet to fail all the same. Dread it. Run from it. Destiny still arrives.

There are deaths galore as expected, but unfortunately, it doesn’t feel like it’s devouring your heart. Somewhere deep down you come to accept the inevitability, and even though how bluntly it takes a dig at all your favourite superheroes, you fail to feel the real anguish. Maybe that’s one of those parts that wasn’t milked enough. You don’t cry but you wonder something’s up, that something can be put back together still. Is it the time stone?

Also, there are some editing issues where you can feel the deliberate jumping of frames. A lot of time has been spent on Thanos’ resolve, some of which could have been used to fill some of the apparent visible issues.

Then there are those rabid dogs like creatures, more like wolves whose faces you don’t even properly get to see for a second. Agreed that they were really fast and mad but you want to see what you are up against, right? They felt like a swarm of madness that never ever stood still for a second. I don’t know if that was the point or not. But everything sped up so fast that I am pretty sure I need to watch all their action by pausing it on Avengers Infinity War Blu-ray to relive it once again.

You can order Avengers: Infinity War from here:

The Final Verdict of Avengers Infinity War

Avengers Infinity War is brilliantly pulled off. It is catered to be savored one meal at a time, and the pace is just right. In the end credit scene, we get to see that a call has been made to none other than Captain Marvel, a movie destined to drop on 8th March next year. So now we know that she is one of the answers to defeating a villain that has all the infinity stones, that has made him a celestial God now. I wonder what she was up to while all this was happening? Guess we will find out in her own flick.

Plenty of superheroes perish here in Avengers Infinity War. The worst deaths being that of Loki, Vision, Heimdall and Gamora that hurt the most. Others have a fair chance of survival, I suppose, given that we have still the time stone in our hand. It could be that or if since Avengers is the end of the road as they call it, then maybe we lost everyone for good.

What are your thoughts on that? Let’s discuss that in the comments section below.

Sicario Review (2015)

Sicario is a thrilling ride into the US-Mexican ongoing drug war, where the story takes you into the deep waters of perversion, vengeance, and corruption. Mexico reeks of death. The drug has polluted its air.

“It is a land of wolves now.”

The aforementioned escapes the roaring gasps of Alejandro Gillick (Benicio Del Toro) as he slips in an advice to Kate Macer (Emily Blunt).

The Direction of Sicario Movie

Denis Villeneuve has a knack for helming beauties. Sicario is yet another product of his extraordinary brain. What I love most about Denis’ direction is the fact that his frames carry the perfect amount of profundity. They are thought-provoking, give you ample amount of time to feel the thrill. You are able to focus properly and contemplate between his lingering frames.

sicario movie wallpaper 2015

Brilliant top scenic views that blend in with the gorgeous Johann Johannson music, deafening helicopter shots, or the silhouette of the private jet over a barren land depicting the long exhausting travel, carry Denis’ suggestive flair.

The acting department is literally thriving with exceptional performances by the movie’s stellar cast. The screenplay too is very well written, taking the crime genre into account.

You can order Sicario movie from here:

Moments to Cherish (Spoilers)

One of the most gorgeous bits of the movie is when Emily Blunt is shown “the fireworks” – a city breathing on its tragedy, bleeding with death, and burning in fire. The unfolding of the main Sicario was one helluva twist to the tale that was written beautifully by Taylor Sheridan.

Another thing that I loved was Hernandez’s character – Silvio. A dispensable soul who was manifested subtly by Denis. Like any other Mexican, he was a guy with fingers in the dirt. Oblivious to what was coming, with a prepared family. Denis shows such a way of living is common in Mexico. How they have accepted death as a way of life!

The movie ends quite dramatically as it leaves Kate Macer with a choice, the choice to shoot a Sicario like Alejandro and do the right thing, or let him breathe and let the city smother itself in the flames of vengeance. As the final bits rush in showing Silvio’s death aftermath, we see his son trying to play football, his mother trying to cheer him when we hear bullets in the backdrop. Their world stops to heed at the distraction, but then again, they have accepted it to be a part of living, and they still continue. It is an extremely poetic bit that makes you pity their lives.

Check out our other reviews of Denis’s movies as well.

You can check out the trailer of Sicario movie here: