Emily Blunt: Hollywood’s New Favorite Action Star?

Emily Blunt is continuing to make a name for herself as an action star. The first official trailer for the upcoming crime drama, Sicario, has just been released, capturing the actress as she shows off her tough side and takes on a violent drug cartel.

Directed by Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners), the thriller stars Blunt as Kate Macy, an idealistic FBI agent who is enlisted by a government task force to help them in their plan to take down the brutal leader of a Mexican drug cartel. As she’s thrown into the lawless border between the United States and Mexico, Kate – insecure in her own abilities to take on such a dangerous task – must question everyone and everything in order to survive. Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro co-star in the film as a governmental official and a shifty consultant in the unending war, respectively.

As explained in the bloody and suspenseful trailer, “sicario” translates to “hitman.” The clip starts out with Blunt’s character seemingly completely out of her league. “I’m not a soldier, this is not what I do,” she says as she finds herself ducking gunfire left and right. But it’s not long before she has no choice but to tackle the bloody battle head-on, fighting off cartel members and desperately trying to figure out whom she can really trust.

For Blunt, Sicario is only the latest action-oriented role she’s taken on lately. Though the actress may be known for her turns in more lighthearted films, like 2006’s The Devil Wears Prada, 2012’s The Five-Year Engagement, and last year’s Into the Woods, she’s clearly been making an effort to delve into edgier fare in recent years. In 2011, she starred alongside Matt Damon in the romantic sci-fi flick, The Adjustmeant Bureau. But it was her performance in last year’s underrated thriller Edge of Tomorrow that proved Blunt makes one badass action hero.

Though Edge of Tomorrow co-starred action vet Tom Cruise, it was Blunt who was labeled the real hero of the movie. Her portrayal as the sword-wielding, heavy metal fighter Rita – an unexpected role for Blunt – earned high critical praise. The movie also served as a rare example of a well-executed action project with a legitimately great female hero at its center.

Now, Blunt is once again impressing critics with her action chops in Sicario. The movie earned widely positive reviews after premiering at the Cannes Film Festival last month. Reviewers labeled the no-holds-barred film as “blisteringly suspenseful” and a “stern, robust, abandon-hope-all-ye-who-enter thriller.

Her individual performance also earned particular praise. “Navigating the crossfire, Blunt is mesmerizing to watch,” Variety said of her portrayal. Meanwhile, Mashable wrote, “Blunt is tremendously sympathetic. She’s assertive and sharp and able to express complex emotions with a wordless expression.”

Given how Blunt has excelled in the action world, it’s no surprise fans are calling for her to star in her own superhero film. Her name has been most frequently brought up in connection to the upcoming Captain Marvel film, although Blunt maintained last year that she hadn’t been contacted about the role.

While we’ll have to stay tuned to see if she does ever end up donning a superhero costume, viewers can rest easy knowing that Blunt isn’t anywhere near done with the action genre. She’s also set to star alongside Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, and Jessica Chastain in The Huntsman, due out in 2016.

With two acclaimed action-centered performances under her belt and another on the way, Blunt is clearly well on her way to becoming Hollywood’s top new action star. Sicario is scheduled for a limited release on September 18.

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