A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Sicario: Day of the Soldado is an intense sequel to 2015's Sicario; like the original, it's largely about attempts to handle drugs and terrorism between Mexico and the United States. It's very violent violence, with lots of guns and shooting, heavy gore and blood, explosions, fighting, punching, and beatings. Suicide bombers blow up themselves and innocent bystanders; other characters die, including kids. A teen girl is fake-kidnapped, with a bag pulled over her head and her mouth taped shut. Language is also quite strong and includes uses of "f--k," "s--t," and more. While there's no sexual content to speak of, a teen smokes pot, and there's background drinking (beer, whiskey) and smoking. Sicario star Emily Blunt doesn't return; instead, Sicario co-stars Josh Brolin and Benicio del Toro take the spotlight.
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What's the story?
In SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADO, the drug wars continue. The Mexican criminal underworld has started smuggling Sicarios (contract killers) across the border; the U.S. government declares this an act of terrorism, and thus all bets are off. Enter the CIA's Matt Graver (Josh Brolin), who comes up with a dark, desperate plan. His team will kidnap one Mexican drug lord's young daughter, Isabela Reyes (Isabela Moner), and make it look as if a rival cartel is responsible. Graver calls in his old colleague, Alejandro Gillick (Benicio del Toro), to help. The operation goes smoothly, and the Americans successfully "rescue" Isabela. But then the Mexican government discovers the ruse and attacks the Americans en route. Isabela escapes, and Gillick goes after her. Then Graver finds himself placed in a terrible position.
Is it any good?
This sequel to Sicario is solid enough in its storytelling, with some inspired elements (as well as some lazy ones). But the special touches that made the original great are glaringly absent. Sicario starred Emily Blunt as Kate Macer, who gave viewers a relatable entry point into the movie's strange, dangerous, unsettling world; she came into each scene knowing nothing, just as we did. Moreover, the great cinematographer Roger Deakins and the excellent director Denis Villeneuve crafted each scene in Sicario to heighten this sense of discomfort and the unknown.
In Sicario: Day of the Soldado, all of that is gone. What remains is a strong, seasoned screenplay by Taylor Sheridan, who understands the world of men balancing on the edge of injustice, and returning actors del Toro and Brolin. (The sequel's director is Stefano Sollima, from Italy.) Del Toro, who was flat-out amazing in the original, is still great here; his Gillick is quite touching as he forms a bond with Isabela and seeks refuge with a deaf man living in the middle of the desert. Brolin, meanwhile, is very good at being both hard and conflicted about his job. The story uses at least one wild stretch of logic to tie the story threads together, which may jolt viewers out of the story. Nevertheless, Sicario: Day of the Soldado is still a sturdy entertainment.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Sicario: Day of the Soldado's violence. Which parts were gruesome, and which were exciting? How did the movie achieve these effects? What's the impact of media violence on kids?
How are drinking, smoking, and drugs depicted? Are they glamorized? Does the movie make the drug business look alluring?
What does the movie have to say about law versus justice? What's the difference between the two? Does the end justify the means?
How did you feel about the scenes with the deaf man? How do they fit in with, or contrast with, the rest of the movie?
How does this movie compare to the original? What's missing? What's been added, if anything?
- In theaters: June 29, 2018
- On DVD or streaming: October 2, 2018
- Cast: Josh Brolin, Benicio Del Toro, Isabela Moner
- Director: Stefano Sollima
- Studios: Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Releasing
- Genre: Thriller
- Run time: 122 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong violence, bloody images, and language
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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