Don't ask how a watch works, only know it's time for SICARIO 2

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Grim agency tactics. Nasty cartel revenge. Bodies in walls. Fire fights in narco tunnels. Last year’s Sicario was a tense and well-made thriller, not to mention one of 2015’s best movies. But does it need a sequel?

If you have not yet seen the terrific Denis Villeneuve-directed Sicario with Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benicio del Toro, make a plan. It’s a dark, granite-jawed movie about a special agent drawn into the fight between the US and Mexican drug cartels, a world where nothing is what it seems and nobody plays by the rules. Yes, that just contained a whole wack of marketing cliches, but Sicario is one of the few crime thrillers to really stand up for the genre – easily shouldering in alongside the likes of King of New York, New Jack City, The Departed and American Gangster.

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For those who have enjoyed this tense feast of crime lore, more would be welcome. But at the same time, more wouldn’t make much sense. Sicario was beautifully self-contained, with nary a thread gone missing. In fact, at the end it had such a simple punchline you had to wonder how that wasn’t obvious from the start. But that’s the hallmark of a great film: not shoehorned complexity to mask a bunch of tired ideas (Age of Ultron anyone?) but a simple game of slight of hand, packaged into a brilliant performance.

Sicario does that in a way few movies can manage, so that a sequel is in development seems really odd. But that is exactly what is happening: the producers of the original have revealed they not only have a script, but the interest of the three main leads as well. Interestingly, plans for a Sicario sequel started surfacing soon after its release, which set a new record for a limited screen run. Yet now this is a serious proposition and everyone involved – outside of director Denis Villeneuve – are onboard. Villeneuve has Blade Runner 2 on his plate, but may come back for Sicario 2. One can only hope, because to pull off bottled lighting twice will require every trick in Scario‘s bag.

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Very little detail about the story is available, only that the script takes a bigger focus on Benicio del Toro’s character. Some fans might like that: Del Toro is fantastic in Sicario, which is a lot of praise for an actor who is generally fantastic in everything he appears in. But I think this is a bad and overly obvious move: a lot of the pull of Sicario was following Emily Blunt’s competent agent around as she increasingly discovers how deep the water is around her. Del Toro and Brolin’s characters worked because they were so mysterious, so lifting the veil on that may not be the right way to go.

Personally I’d prefer to see a sequel where Blunt is drawn even more into the covert side of the drug war – perhaps a larger scope on the cartels themselves. That said, one cannot deny the sheer competence that put Sicario together and I doubt the decision for a sequel was made lightly. I’m happy to put my faith in these guys and roll the dice. If Sicario 2 is a monumental flop, at least the original stands as one of the best in its genre.

Last Updated: April 4, 2016

James

A total movie glutton, nothing is too bad or too obscure to watch, unless it's something like The Human Centipede. If you enjoyed that, there is something wrong with you. But bless you anyway - even video nasties need love...

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