Double Feature: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) & Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018)

Welcome to the next double feature! This time we are doing a double rental feature. Both of these were films that I rented in the last little while and its one that we’ve been wanting to see and both are sequels.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

Jumanji Welcome to the Jungle

Director: Jake Kasdan

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, Rhys Darby, Bobby Cannavale, Nick Jonas

Four teenagers are sucked into a magical video game, and the only way they can escape is to work together to finish the game. – IMDB

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a sequel to the 1995 Jumanji film. With anything like that, it takes a lot of care. For one, it needs to keep in mind that it is its sequel and keep the heart of it but also give it the modernized world standard. At the same time, still giving respect to the success of the first one. Luckily, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle makes it slight changes to make it not a remake but a sequel that happens years after the original. It acknowledges the original board game format and then gives the reasons of how it turns into a video game format. The whole player and video game world is one that works really well also plus they add in the four players and role-playing game style.

With that said, the heart of the film really is the cast themselves and how they interpret each of their roles. Dwayne Johnson always aims to please with his humor. It becomes hilarious to just watch these characters take on the opposite of who they are in reality, for better or for worse. In the case of his character, Spencer who is a nerdy scrawny nobody in school, this transformation aims to have a few laughs as he gets fascinated at being somebody. While on the other hand, we have the jock character who turns into Kevin Hart. After Central Intelligence (review), we are already familiar with how great Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson work as a comedic duo. They bring in a lot of laughs. However, Jack Black is the star of the show as he embodies a self-absorbed high school girl. I can’t imagine anyone else excelling at that role as he did. Pure entertainment!

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is a sequel that honestly didn’t really need to happen. Being a huge fan of the original, it was one that I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. Luckily, as unnecessary as it was, it was a ton of fun and that was all it needed to be.

Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018)

sicario day of the soldado

Director: Stefano Sollimo

Cast: Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Isabela Moner, Jeffrey Donovan, Catherine Keener, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Matthew Modine

The drug war on the U.S.-Mexico border has escalated as the cartels have begun trafficking terrorists across the US border. To fight the war, federal agent Matt Graver re-teams with the mercurial Alejandro. – IMDB

You can check out the review of Sicario HERE.

In a nutshell, I was pretty enthralled with Sicario. Probably not so much that I went running to watch its sequel for a few specific reasons, the main one being that the ending of the first one was pretty gloomy and I wasn’t really down for anything like that. In many ways, Sicario: Day of the Soldado takes a different approach. It still has its twists and turns and it still maintains a pretty decent atmosphere and locks in those ethics and morals and the right and wrong of the situation. In that sense, the characters and the situation at hand all work out pretty decently. Plus, it takes the whole wondering how messed up a situation is when the government okays their people to make up a situation controlled by them to push the tension on other situations. It also looks at the extents of what is the greater evil and the means to meet the ends of a situation. Sicario has always been about making those big choices that feel wrong and its the heart of these stories especially when fighting cartels.

As great as watching Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin was in this film. Their roles are pretty great. Their characters do get quite a bit of change. However, if anything what it feels like here is that after Sicario, we already know to expect that things aren’t going to go as planned and that something is going to happen as a twist and there’s going to be something deeper to the story that is at hand. Because of that, it doesn’t quite hit as poignantly as the first one. I’m going to be honest that in my mind, I didn’t think that Sicario needed a sequel. The first movie shone because of Emily Blunt (for me) and taking her out of the equation now (because there was no way she was coming back), didn’t seem like it would work. Good news is that the movie still works, just not as effectively as the first one. Its still pretty good though.

That’s it for this double feature!
Have you seen either of these films?

Sicario (2015)

Next up in the Oscars 2016 movies, although not up for a Best Picture nomination, it is one that I’ve been more intrigued to watch.  I’ve rented Sicario for quite a while and now that its almost hitting the end of my rental period, we decided it was a good time to give it a go.  Emily Blunt is painting herself as a female action hero of late.  I haven’t caught up with Edge of Tomorrow although I did get it so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect.

Let’s check it out! 🙂

Sicario (2015)


Director: Denis Villeneuve

Cast: Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, Benicio Del Toro, Daniel Kaluuya, Victor Garber, Julio Cedillo

An idealistic FBI agent is enlisted by a government task force to aid in the escalating war against drugs at the border area between the U.S. and Mexico.-IMDB

Its a really great feeling to not fall asleep during a movie.  Sicario is a tight-knit action thriller right from the start.  We actually started this up for dinner and the opening scene made us have to kind of pause it until after we ate to resume.  However, the powerful beginning makes the subject of this thriller even more poignant and important.  That might seem brutally intense but it was also only the start of the thrilling Sicario.  It set the tone of why our main character had to go on this journey.


Sicario never really gives you time to breath.  It has slower moments and even those moments are full of intense situations.  We’re trying to figure out what is going on.  Why is Emily Blunt’s character, Kate recruited to do this? We know why she wants to be involved but then they seem to just place her on the sidelines and when they ask her to do something else, they don’t really tell her whats going on? For that reason, us as the audience is also kept in the dark with all those questions in our heads. With that said, Emily Blunt captures her role very well.  I like this newly discovered side of Emily Blunt.  I mean, I like her in comedies and dramedies and whatnot but her as an action hero seems to work so very well also.

What does change the game quickly is the introduction of the character of Benicio del Toro. His character is mysterious and quiet. In fact, a lot of the movie is pretty quiet.  There’s some action sequences and talk but its a lot of observing and analyzing. I don’t think I’ve seen a movie with Benicio del Toro that I’m completely enthralled with but then I haven’t seen that many of his in general but this one was amazing.  He was the show-stopper.


Other than some great performances, a lot of credit goes to creating the atmosphere.  Watching Sicario felt like we were in on the action with the way the cameras moved and the movie was filmed.  Like the scene on top, they were rumbling down the streets and it felt like we were right there rumbling along.  On top of that, its a forte of Denis Villeneuve’s to choose a very analytical sort of approach to things, making it dark or mysterious, suspicious if you will and creating those feelings.  He picks topics which will impact the viewers a lot whether it was Sicario and the drug cartel or if its going back to his Quebec roots and looking at the Polytechnique massacre or making us think super hard about the meaning of Enemy. Its his style and I feel like Sicario really accentuate and could see how he is a very good filmmaker.

I don’t really have a lot to say about Sicario.  It took me a week to write up this review because I just didn’t know how to approach it.  Overall, Sicario is an exhilarating experience, putting you straight in the issue and the action and surrounding you with standout performances by Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro. I’ve always been a little skeptical on Denis Villeneuve but I truly want to visit and revisit some of his previous films. If you haven’t, you definitely should check out Sicario.  It might not be Best Picture material but its well worth a watch.

Have you seen Sicario? What stood out (or failed) for you in this film?