A Dominican hitman on the run for years is finally found by deadly enemies. La Soga Salvation continues the story of Luisito (Manny Perez), the legendary “La Soga” (The Rope), who targeted criminals and drug dealers. The second installment has Luisito becoming a pawn in a federal agent’s conspiracy, while another more dangerous adversary lurks in the shadows. La Soga Salvation packs a solid action punch with a few genuinely surprising twists. The film goes to unexpected places with dark humor, tragic consequences, and pointed criticism of corruption in Dominican Republic society.
The story picks up in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Luisito has settled into domestic bliss with his longtime girlfriend, Lia (Sarah Jorge León). He works as a butcher at a local shop. She’s gotten certified as a nurse’s assistant. Their fugitive existence has seemingly come to an end. The happy couple contemplates starting a family. Until Luisito’s past catches up with the arrival of Agent James McCann (Chris McGarry).
A frantic Luisito tells Lia they have to leave immediately. He races to collect his last paycheck from work but gets his first experience of their dire situation. McCann’s goons have kidnaped Lia. He’ll kill her unless Luisito acquiesces to his demands. Luisito swears he will do anything to save his beloved. Little do they know that another lethal assassin (Hada Vanessa) has entered the game. She has a mysterious agenda that threatens all of their lives.
La Soga Salvation has swift and brutal violence. The characters aren’t spraying bullets with elaborate gunplay. Getting shot means you die. A blow to the head knocks you unconscious. Luisito isn’t a killing machine immune to pain and suffering. The film grounds the action with harsh realism. Thus making the stakes even more compelling. Luisito needs to survive to save Lia. He’s wracked with guilt. Haunted by a lifetime of murderous deeds. Manny Perez, who also writes and directs, spends the entire film in turmoil.
La Soga Salvation is not a rote and predictable film. The plot throws a few curveballs that continuously change the course of the narrative. One twist, in particular, is a doozy. Manny Perez wisely doesn’t show all of his characters’ cards upfront. Colombian actress Hada Vanessa nearly steals the show with her machinations. It’s refreshing to see a high body count actioner with an intricate and serious plot.
A few scenes threw me off. Luisito is haunted by nightmares about his youth. He has flashback dream sequences regarding events in the first film. This isn’t made clear until the third act when a supporting character details key exposition. La Soga was released in 2009. Most audiences won’t remember or haven’t seen the first film. Manny Perez should have reworked the flashbacks to be less confusing. They seem arbitrary until literally explained.
La Soga Salvation is a worthy entry in the sicario genre. It’s chock full of bloody violence, betrayals, and vengeance; but actually has a decent plot with depth and degree of emotional weight. Luisito is a complex character that’s played with distinction by Manny Perez. I’m definitely on board for another sequel. La Soga Salvation is produced by Conuco Productions. It will have a VOD and select theatrical release on January 28th from Screen Media Films.