"Reel Reviews: Sicario: Day of the Soldado earns its R-rating" by: Jessica Shepard

   “Sicario: Day of the Soldado” serves as an unnecessary, but bloody sequel to 2015’s “Sicario” film and I’m glad they made the film anyway.
   Soldado was released June 29 and has grossed over $43 million worldwide.
   The film features Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, and Jeffrey Donovan reprising their 2015 roles, with Isabela Moner, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, and Catherine Keener joining the cast. 
   The storyline alternates between the drug war at the U.S.-Mexico border and an attempt by the United States government to incite increased conflict among the cartels.
   As you can imagine, with such a violent plot, the film is rated R for strong violence, bloody images, and language.
   Every single action scene is an exchange of curse words, bullets and violence – definitely making that R-rating worth it.
   Visually, the director doesn’t pull any punches and presents the audience with the cartel violence they only see censored on the nightly news. 
   After a suicide bombing in a Kansas City grocery store that kills 15 people, the United States government gives CIA agent Matt Graver (Brolin) permission to use extreme measures to combat Mexican drug cartels.
   The cartels are suspected of having transported the Islamic terrorists across the border. 
   Graver and the Department Of Defense decide the best option is to start a war between the major cartels, and Graver recruits black operative Alejandro Gillick (Del Toro) for the mission. 
   Gillick kills a high-profile lawyer of the Matamoros cartel in Mexico City, and later Graver and his team kidnap the daughter of the kingpin of their rival in a false flag operation.
   Graver, Gillick, and their team take Isabel (Moner) to Texas and stage a “rescue” with the DEA and local police to make her think she was kidnapped by her father’s enemies.
   All the while, audiences get an example of how the U.S.-Mexico border can be crossed illegally and how cartel activity spreads on both sides of the border.
   Parts of the movie look almost as if they were part of a videogame and some of the bouncing back and forth between the main story and sidelined “growth of a cartel gangster,” were a pain to keep up with.
   But, if you can get past all of those little issues and some of the stereotypical portrayals, you’ll have a good time.
   Be warned though, the film ending leaves it open for a yet-to-be named third Sicario movie.
   I’ll probably see that one too because Del Toro’s performance in this series never ceases to amaze me.
   He’s not just any run-of-the-mill hitman, he’s also a man on a mission and goes by his own code.

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