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First it was drugs. “Sicario” captured that threat as few movies have, depicting the brutality with which cartels control the flow of illegal substances across the U.S.-Mexico border, and imagining a no-nonsense response by a shadowy group of American enforcers every bit as corrupt as the criminals they’re attempting to extinguish. Now, the cartels are dealing in human traffic, introducing a toxic dimension to what may once have seemed a simple refugee issue. That’s the dynamic screenwriter Taylor Sheridan wanted to explore in his cold-blooded follow-up, “Sicario: Day of the Soldado,” addressing not only the ultraviolent Mexican gangs who control which people cross the border but also the notion that outlaws and potential terrorists may be able to enter the country with their blessing.
Considering how rare it is that an intelligent, topical action movie comes along, there might be reason to question whether “Soldado” stands a chance at the box office (Denis Villeneuve’s “Sicario” earned a modest $46.9 million in 2015, although it seems to have found its audience in the interim). Lionsgate dumped domestic rights early on, leaving Sony to release a film that couldn’t be more timely given the spike in attention around Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy toward any and all who enter the U.S. illegally, including those arriving with young children in tow. And while the separation of kids from their parents may have sparked an international human rights debate, this is not the film to settle it.
Film - Review
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Tense, tough, and shockingly ruthless at times, “Soldado” doesn’t show much interest in the individuals who dream of a better life in the United States, any more than “Rambo: First Blood Part II” cared about the victims of the My Lai Massacre. Rather, “Soldado” is a grim, serious-minded look at what America can do to disrupt this system...
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