“You should move to a small town, somewhere the rule of law still exists. You will not survive here. You are not a wolf, and this is a land of wolves now.”
If you had told me three years ago that one of the biggest badass action stars in Hollywood would be Emily Blunt, I would have had to look up who Emily blunt was. Then, I would have assumed she was some prim, proper and pretty English girl with no badass action roles in her future. But now, she’s the woman who turned a damsel in distress into a pretty tough character in Looper. She’s the woman who totally kicked all sorts of ass in Edge of Tomorrow. She’s now the woman whose involvement was enough to make excited about the next, grittier step in her badass, action career, Sicario.
Working as an FBI agent in Arizona, Kate Macer (Blunt) is part of a raid that discovers a house with walls stuffed with dead bodies, and a bomb that kills two of her colleagues. The raid also gets her noticed by the CIA, represented by Matt Graver (Josh Brolin), who enlists Kate to join his black ops team as they attempt to take down a Mexican drug cartel. Meeting Matt’s partner, the shady Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro), Kate realises that getting actual results means sometimes playing outside the law.
South of the border, things like warrants, jurisdiction and due process are thrown aside as Kate’s new colleagues illegally kidnap, torture and kill drug dealers and cartel members, hoping to follow them up the chain of command until they can catch drug lord Fausto Alarcón (Julio Cedillo). At first reluctant, the need to see these men brought to justice starts to overtake any moral objections Kate might have about these less than orthodox methods.
The only other movie I’ve seen from director Denis Villaneuve is Prisoners. And while I liked it, it’s a pretty simple, kidnapping revenge thriller that didn’t need to be two and half hours long. With Sicario, Villaneuve shows a lot more economy and streamlining in his story telling. It might be all on the surface, but there’s still a lot going on in Sicario. And by cramming all of this intrigue and action into under two hours, it makes for a movie that’s breathless in a really invigorating way, while never rushed or overstuffed.
Between this and Edge of Tomorrow, I’d have no problem with Emily Blunt becoming the young, female equivalent of Liam Neeson. I know she can do other things, but I’m totally fine with her just doing ass kicking action if that’s what she’s down for.