By Liz Lopez

Rating: B –

Filmmaker RJ Collins, with a long history of being a producer, makes his directorial debut based on the script written by Rich Ronat (The Rising Hawk, Grand Isle, While We Sleep). American Sicario is about the real-life story of Erik Vasquez, also known as La Munequita, a Texas -born United States American who became a sicario (a hitman or hired killer) for the Feliz cartel headed by Roberto (Maurice Compte) and his brother Juan (Johnny Rey Diaz). Erik Vasquez (Philippe A. Haddad, “Green Valley” TV series and various shorts) has ambition and being a hitman is only the beginning of his journey into the cartel world. Although there is not much of a backstory for Vasquez about his life in Texas or why he chose to join the cartel life, there is one scene where he provides a brief statement about not being seen for what he was. According to that scene, he was not lacking for much as far as having a family life and participating in high school sports. At the beginning of the film, we see him in his full sicario lifestyle. 

Erik finds some resistance toward his proposals (and of course upward mobility) by Juan, but brother Roberto (Compte, “Narco,” “Mayans M.C.” TV Series) is the more brash and outspoken of the two and sees the potential for bigger pay offs by supporting Erik. The performances with these actors on the screen together are very engaging, but most definitely Compte excels in his portrayal of this character who relays quite the backstory from his youth for his mania and fearlessness to exact his revenge. He relishes the role of devising the many ways he can get rid of his opponents, including their relatives. As a sicario, Erik has a principle of never hurting women and children. Juan knows this and uses it to a point in a pivotal scene that changes Erik and comes back to haunt him unexpectedly.

Erik is a badass but yields to his pregnant partner Gloria (Cali Morales) when she wants her father Pedro (Danny Trejo) to come live with them for a while. Pedro is a former cartel member who knows this lifestyle very well and tries to counsel Erik that the “game” he is involved in hasn’t changed, despite the use of technology and other means now available to him. The chemistry between the two is good as it reflects Pedro’s wisdom and care for his daughter/unborn grandchild and Erik determination. If Pedro does appear to be a bit restrained in his dealings with Erik, he does so in a wise manner for the sake of his own family that he repeats through the film – family is the most important.

American Sicario also stars Dionysio Basco, Paolo Cesar, Maya Stojan, Jaylen Moore, among others.

Philippe A. Haddad has executive produced the film​​​​.

Rated R for violence, pervasive language, drug use, and some sexual material. Run Time: 101 minutes.

The film is available On Demand, Digital, with a Blu-ray™ + Digital and DVD release December 14, 2021.

 Source: Saban Films

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