FILM REVIEW: SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADO
BY GILBERTO CAMPA
Sicario: Day of the Soldado is directed by Stefano Sollima and written by Taylor Sheridan who also wrote the first film back in 2015. Also returning from the first movie is Josh Brolin who continues his great 2018 campaign, Jeffrey Donovan and last but not least Benecio Del Toro as Alejandro aka the Soldado. This is a movie that I was very excited to see because I had no idea that they were gonna make it, especially after the critical success that the first movie had and the way it ended. Right from the beginning as the haunting theme from the first movie by the late Johan Johannsson “The Beast” starts to play you are instantly put back into this world. If Sicario was a movie that explored the rules of war between the cartels and the United States, Soldado takes those rules, amps up the action and intensity and throws them away. The Mexican Cartels have started to smuggle people through the border instead of drugs because it brings them more money and creates fewer problems.
So when a group of suicide bombers attack a supermarket in Kansas City (one of the most intense things I have seen in a movie) who had just happened to go through the border, the U.S. officially adds drug cartels to the list of terrorist groups. This is when Matt Graver (Brolin) is brought in once again to do the thing that he does best…play dirty, so he is then tasked by the Secretary of State to start a war with the rival cartels. Then after recruiting his partner in crime Alejandro (Del Toro) to help start the war everything begins to escalate in a very violent way. Even though Villeneuve was not directly involved in this movie, Sollima does a good job of setting up the tension and delivering good visuals that were started in the first movie which have become a trademark of the franchise.
One thing that I did not want was a carbon copy of the first movie and Soldado was not that in the closest since, it is a different kind of movie. When the team decides to use Afghanistan tactics that involve kidnapping the daughter of the Reyes cartel, Isabella Reyes, the story starts to take a new direction. The movie does have some new additions to the cast but by far Isabela Moner carries her own in many ways once she comes into the movie. The majority of the time she is sharing scenes with Benecio and goes blow for blow (acting wise) with him and it was very impressive to see since she is only 16 years old. But like it says in the title, the movie is mostly about Alejandro aka the Soldado as we see and find out things that really changes your perspective of his character and serves as real development that I enjoyed.
The movie does have more action than the previous one, but not as much as I thought it would have and it was so much more brutal in some parts which were a little bit hard to watch. The story this time around continues to be intriguing all do to Taylor Sheridan as he puts together a script that goes deeper into the not so perfect characters. Sicario: Day of the Soldado is a worthy, action packed sequel that continues the tone of the series and gives us an even deeper look into the messy world of the drug war, terrorism and immigration issues that the U.S and Mexico are dealing with.