America’s fascination with Mexico was reflected in several caper films. In Nash Edgerton’s Gringo, Charlize Theron stars as a corporate villain who sends a lackey played by David Oyelowo to Mexico to renegotiate a deal for the hot pot pill, Cannabax, which the cartel manufactures. Oyelowo’s Harold manages to escape all sorts of trouble in this well-directed romp.
Tony Vidal’s Baja features a young cast and some terrific coastal scenery. What begins as a fairly typical story - four U.S. teens head south-of-the-border in an RV - eventually has a few lively twists and turns as couples pair off and the RV becomes a ransom for stolen cargo on the vehicle (phones, not drugs). But curandero Don Primo (Mark Margolis) saves the day with a few shakes of his magic stick.
Sicario: Day of the Soldado
Stefano Silema’s Sicario: Day of the Soldado, the sequel to the 2015 thriller Sicario, is also set in Mexico. Unlike its predecessor, the focus is on human trafficking, not drugs. It’s extremely topical considering the issues lately at the U.S.border. Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro are back. Once they kidnap a cartel’s head daughter, both sides go at it. Left for dead in the desert, Del Toro’s Alejandro rises to the occasion in the film’s tense final act.