Sicario: Day of the Soldado is an action thriller film directed by Stefano Sollima and written by Taylor Sheridan. It is the sequel to 2015's Sicario (review here) and has Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin, and Jeffrey Donovan returning with Isabela Moner, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, and Catherine Keener joining the cast.
The Story/The Direction:
The film takes place after the U.S. government find out that Mexican cartels have been bringing terrorists into the country. This makes them team up Matt Graver (Brolin) with hitman Alejandro Gillick (del Toro) again to stop the cartels. Their plan is to kidnap a cartel head's daughter Isabela Reyes (Moner) and blame it on another major cartel to start a war between them. As with stories like this, the scheme starts going according to plan but then it goes off the rails. As such, Alejandro must decide if he wants to do his job or save the girl whose father took everything from him.
As with the first film, this one was written by Taylor Sheridan who blends multiple film genres while commenting on the violence at the U.S./Mexico border. The story is solid with some inspiring elements plus some decent direction by Sollima and the cinematography by Dariusz Wolski is decent. This film does look similar to the original.
Since Emily Blunt is not in this film, the film gets to focus on del Toro's and Brolin's characters and the screenplay fleshes them out in ways that had not been done before. Del Toro is great once again as Alejandro who is able to create a touching relationship with Isabela. Being someone who lost his family, this relationship progresses his character in a way that did not exist in the prior film. Brolin is also very good at playing a hard military person and has continued his 2018 greatness.
However, the film is missing many parts that made the original film so good. Jóhann Jóhannsson passed earlier this year and the great combination of cinematographer Roger Deakins and Denis Villeneuve do not return. In the original, the latter two people were able to give audience this heightened sense of discomfort and the unknown. Furthermore, this film does not have a character to represent the audience like Blunt's Kate. She was the character that the audience could attach themselves to as someone learning new things about the U.S. government. She knew nothing as the audience did. There also is no real strong message of the film as the original had. The film beats around the bush when it comes to its fairly obvious real-world and keeps the story general. This film approaches what the original did but seemed to do it with less effort which makes the film fairly forgettable.
This film is not a bad film and it does have a lot of merit to it especially when it comes to mind-numbing action films of late. This film has a lot of good things going for it and the environment is definitely an entertaining one. The film has the script, characters and actors to make a decent film but unfortunately, lacks what the last film had and that's precision. Each piece of the last film seemed essential to make the film and each was excellently executed. It has violence and brutal scenes that will keep viewers entertained but it lacks the emotion that the original had both in front of and behind the screen. One could even question why this film was even needed. If one enjoyed the first film, there is enough to be seen perhaps once but it is not mandatory viewing in theatres.
Rating: 3.0/5.0 bowties
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