Night of the Sicario (USA, 2021)

A stormy night is the set up for this tense action thriller from director Joth Riggs.

After working for a notorious Colombian drug cartel, Teresa Fuentes is ready to testify against the cartel after stealing their money in exchange for asylum and witness protection. However, the cartel has gotten wind of the situation and when the DEA is set to bring Teresa’s husband Francisco and daughter Amelia to her, they are ambushed. The cartel has hired mercenaries known as the Sicario to wipe out the Fuentes family. Forced to hide out as a hurricane has hit the area, the DEA finds a house where the Fuentes family can hide for the time being.

The hideout is a senior center run by Taylor Ward. However, the Sicario have spotted the location and two of the members, Leon and Sid, enter the building in hopes they will know where the money Teresa has stolen is located. However, when Francisco succumbs to his injuries from the ambush, it is up to Teresa to ensure Amelia’s safety and protect the seniors from the deadly Sicario. However, as the night progresses, things soon begin to unravel, and a deadly game of cat and mouse must be played to survive this night.

Unrelated to the hit films Sicario and its sequel Soldado, this tense action thriller may be more on an indie level scale. However, what’s great about this film is that just because it’s lower budget, doesn’t mean the characters have to suffer from being two-dimensional. Instead, director Joth Riggs allows the actors to bring out a more sense of humanity towards the characters, even the villains of the film.

Natasha Henstridge is great to watch as Taylor, who runs the senior center where the film sets up the core plot, where a standoff is set to endure between some unlikely heroes and the Sicario, mercenaries hired by the drug cartel. What stands out here is Manny Perez’s performance as Sicario Leon, who questions his own motives as we delve into his backstory as to why he does what he does. When we see him with Taylor, it is not so much a typical good vs. evil style thing, but more of an understanding between two people put in precarious situations.

Costas Mandylor makes the most of his role as DEA Agent Bennett, but kudos must go out to young actress Addison Kendall as Amelia, the daughter of the woman who plans to testify against the drug cartel. Despite what comes towards her, she keeps a strong will throughout the whole ordeal and even goes as far as attempt to help Taylor when needed. The final set piece brings in some major twists to the story and overall, this results in a pretty good indie action thriller that melds in the cat-and-mouse game with human characters.

Night of the Sicario may sound like a rip-off of the hit Hollywood film, but it is anything but. A good, confined story with more humanism between characters make this a film worth checking out at least once.

WFG RATING: B+

Saban Films presents a Premiere Entertainment Group/Keystone Imagination/Inspiring Films production in association with LampHouse Films and Triode Media Group. Director: Joth Riggs. Producers: Elias Axume and Grant Bradley. Writers: Matthew Eason and Ernesto Melara. Cinematography: Brian Shanley. Editing: Jon Connor.

Cast: Natasha Henstridge, Costas Mandylor, Manny Perez, Roberto “Sanz” Sanchez, Narci Regina, Amanda Diaz, Juan Carlos Diaz, Addison Kendall, Martin Peña, Carol Florence, Trevor E. Dickerson.

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