Benicio Del Toro on the timely politics of Sicario 2: Soldado

The Sicario sequel features US agents ripping a child from her family, but Del Toro says it's not the same as what's going on in real life.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
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Sicario was a brutal look at the front line of the war on drugs. Sicario 2: Soldado seems even more ripped from the headlines with its story of US agents brutally tearing a child from her family.

But star Benicio Del Toro plays down the similarities between the film and recent revelations about immigrant children separated from their families and held in detention facilities along the US border. 

"They are apples and oranges really," Del Toro says, pointing out that the movie depicts a deliberate kidnapping in contrast to what US immigration authorities are doing in real life. "It's a coincidence," he said when I asked him about the film's timeliness at a press event in London. "Let's not confuse them."

Watch the video interview here:

Watch this: Benicio Del Toro on Sicario 2: Soldado and a Star Wars return

Del Toro and Josh Brolin reprise their roles from the first Sicario in the new sequel, known in the US as Day of the Soldado. Their clandestine kidnapping of a drug kingpin's teenage daughter is designed to spark war between cartels, but provokes even these hardbitten gunslingers to question the morality of dragging children into their political manoeuvring.   

Del Toro does acknowledge that the Sicario films are brutally relevant. "You're right that these movies scratch into real things that have been happening for 40 years, maybe longer," the actor says. "Filmmakers and storytellers take from reality ... in this world [of the Sicario films], just like in a Western or a gangster movie you can explore many aspects of the human condition: greed, vengeance, morality, good versus evil, betrayal."

In Del Toro's career, Sicario 2 is one of only a couple of sequels or ongoing series. Most have come in recent years with a recurring role in the Marvel cinematic universe and a part in forthcoming TV show Escape at Dannemora. He sees this extra time spent playing a role as a great opportunity to explore the evolution of a character. Still, as a viewer he's not much of a TV binge watcher, preferring the "two-hour sprint" of a movie.

Speaking of returning to characters, would he like to once again step into the role of DJ, the duplicitous hacker he played in Star Wars: The Last Jedi? Del Toro has ideas for the character, he says, and would like to see DJ's story continued in another movie. But it's up to the writers.

Sicario 2: Soldado opens in the UK and US on 29 June. It's a compelling and powerful, if frustratingly digressive, political action thriller -- read our review here

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