'American Sicario' Review: Less of Danny Trejo, but gangster drama packs a punch
Director RJ Collins may have had Danny Trejo on the trailers and posters of 'American Sicario', but the gangster flick is all about the life of American gangster Erik Vasquez (Philippe A Haddad) who schemes to be the most-feared cartel leader in the Mexican underworld. Trejo plays his part, but the credit goes to Haddad for playing Vasquez whose character is based on a true story The Dallas-born drug-trafficker was a man with a code — he wouldn't kill women and children, even of the most notorious of his enemies.
Sicario means a hitman and that's pretty much what Haddad's Vasquez is. He's the man who's living the life. He kills opposing cartels with utter disdain and he celebrates to the fullest. Trejo plays his father-in-law (to be more precise, the father of Vasquez's partner), and a former mob man himself imparting wise words of wisdom but never taking more than a few minutes of screen space. The movie spanning just over two hours explores the rise and fall of Vasquez but does fall short in the flashback department.
'Inmate #1: The Rise of Danny Trejo' Review: Machete's life story will inspire even the most cynical of people
'Inmate #1': Danny Trejo owes his first movie role to prison, boxing and substance abuse counseling
It all goes wrong for the gangster when he breaks the trust of one of his henchmen and ends up killing his sister in the process. In a drug deal that goes horribly sour, Vasquez is now trying to salvage dented pride and also exact revenge on the ones who spat on his face. Except, it comes at a cost. Not just does he have to deal with pressure from his enemies, his allies apply massive pressure and the crumbling Sicario goes out all-out Tony Montana with the help of the DEA, who just find a way to double-cross him.
Collins does enough to keep the hook factor. The VoD movie isn't exactly praiseworthy, but it isn't a damp squib either. The pace is moderate, the action comes in generous doses with blood splattered all over the screen to make the fear look authentic. The characters are not fleshed out in detail, but with the entire story being all about Vasquez, it doesn't matter much.
There are not many ways in which Trejo could have been played a more prominent role. He's pretty much a supporting actor. The rest of the cast, Maurice Compte, Maya Stojan, Jaylen Moore, and Johnny Rey Diaz play their parts. Their arcs receive closure. 'American Sicario' does enough to give the world an image of what Vasquez was, and if that was Collins' main point to make, safe to say, he's made it.
'American Sicario' is available on VoD.