Gun Guy Movie Slickguns Review: Sicario 2 Is a Remake of Clear and Present Danger
Have you seen the movie Clear and Present Danger lately? If not, have you read the book?
Spoilers of both the Tom Clancy novel and movie as well as Sicario 2/Sicario: Day of the Oral Reconstructive Surgery are below.
In Clear and Present Danger, drug cartel members facilitate a horrific crime against American women and children, causing the executive branch of the US Government to direct the CIA to start a war between cartel factions. The phrase “the gloves are off” is used to describe how unprecedented actions will be taken. A secretly funded paramilitary group consisting of current and former US Military members as well as CIA officers goes deep into cartel territory to commit acts of violence which affect the families of cartel leaders. Horrified, the executive branch cuts ties and leaves those still in cartel territory to die.
That’s also the exact plot for Sicario: Day of the Soldado, except the writer and director of this film decided to add a bunch of really stupid stuff and make all the characters completely moronic. They also replaced “the gloves are off” with “we’re going to get dirty.” The meaning is the same.
Because these Slickguns Reviews are intended to be from the perspective of a gun guy, I’ll spend quite a bit of time on that side of the house. Where to begin…
Josh Brolin plays a gun-toting “CIA officer” who has no idea of the concept of muzzle discipline. Prior to a kidnapping operation in Mexico City, he racks a round into the chamber of his HK MP5 while pointing it in the general direction of another teammate. By the way, no one uses MP5s anymore.
That kidnapping operation takes way too much time and is made far more complicated than it needed to be. Not that I’m an expert on kidnapping the daughters of drug lords, mind you, but a couple of PFCs straight out of the School of Infantry could have done a better job there. This kidnapping operation was, incredibly, sanctioned by the Secretary of Defense, who had direct involvement in the planning of the operation. At least Clear and Present Danger had the brains to make the National Security Advisor the point man in the executive branch.
With the daughter back in the States, the “team” suits up to transport her back to Mexico on the ground, because…because. No one has any idea how to wear body armor and most of them put the top of their plates somewhere between their navel and their rib cage. I’m exaggerating, of course, but couldn’t the armorers have brought along a single person who knew how to properly fit body armor? They also grab a bunch of different guns, because nothing says “My unit is ready for a gunfight” like not being able to exchange magazines.
The team has no clue about Mexican police, even with the help of former cartel attorney turned masked avenger Benicio del Toro, and happily accepts an escort from Mexican state level cops with belt-fed machine guns. Five minutes on the Internet would have told them not to trust Mexican state cops – that their only possible hope would be Federales – but don’t worry, the idiocy doesn’t stop there.
We’re then treated to an advertisement for a bullet-resistant glass manufacturer, the deaths of pretty much all of the Mexican cops without a scratch on the “team,” and some more stupid decisions by the team leader wherein the ONE PERSON they had to keep an eye on manages to walk away from them without anyone noticing.
Benicio del Toro selflessly volunteers to go after the daughter carrying only his HK UMP with a Trijicon SRS on top, which, as we all know, is the perfect weapon for fighting in a wide open desert against people with RPGs and rifles.
Sans Benicio, the team crosses back into the US with an aerial shot undoubtedly trying to harken back to the first movie’s rather excellent border crossing gunfight. Sadly, nothing happens, and we pan back to Benicio, who shoots a guy with the UMP. It’s a bit of a letdown.
He will surely need that UMP, too, because he’s on his own now. The Secretary of Defense pulls support from the project after all the dead Mexican cops “show up on Fox News.” We’re presented this as a frustrating example of bureaucratic flip-flopping, but the patrician SecDef was exactly right to pull this mission from the hands of these bumbling morons. It was somewhat less cool when he ordered Josh Brolin and the guy from Burn Notice to kill Benicio and the girl – deniably, with an airstrike. Because, you know, Hellfire missiles from Predators in northern Mexico are totally deniable.
Knowing that he’s being hunted by both sides, Benicio decides to BURY HIS BEST FORM OF DEFENSE IN THE DESERT and take only a handgun while he TRIES TO BLEND IN WITH RANDOM PEOPLE CROSSING THE BORDER who are guided across by PEOPLE FROM A RIVAL CARTEL. Yes, this total badass killer with extensive experience and knowledge of the cartels and the situation on the border NEEDS HELP FROM A FIFTEEN-YEAR-OLD BOY/COYOTE TO WALK ACROSS A RIVER.
Seriously, this was so completely moronic that I am still trying to wrap my head around it. Do you want to get across the border? WALK ACROSS. It’s that easy. Two people will have a success rate of approximately one billion times higher than a group of twenty. There’s no way in hell that Benicio’s character would not have been capable and knowledgeable enough to do this. Oh, he didn’t know the exact routes in use by cartels to get people across at that time? So what, all that means is that he has a better chance of avoiding the attention a large group receives. The only reason this decision happened is to further another idiotic plot twist.
I have at this time given away too much of the movie and will stop. The first Sicario was a smart movie with a good, largely original plot. Taylor Sheridan must have suffered a concussion between writing that movie and blatantly ripping off the plot of Clear and Present Danger while importing characters from Idiocracy to serve as leads.
I can only hope that the third Sicario movie will be more like the first than the third.
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