Sicario; Day of the Soldado is a 2018 American action-thriller directed by Stephano Sollima. A sequel to 2015’s Sicario, it sees Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin reprise their roles as Alejandro Gillick and Matt Graver respectively. They are once again involved in intervening in a dangerous conflict along the U.S-Mexico border whereby drug cartels are resorting to ways of terrorism on American soil.
Your resident off-the-book hitmen cum troublemakers in Alejandro and Matt are back; this time with a different incentive. I liked the two characters in this film’s predecessor, they had substantial depth and purpose to them more so Alejandro who (SPOILER ALERT!) was on a personal vengeance mission against an indomitable drug cartel and ruthless murderer. On here, their services are called upon by the highest office in the land of America because of the recent spate of terrorist attacks that the latter saw could best be dealt with by the duo of experienced mercenaries.
Both Matt and Alejandro are very unconventional in what they do; willing to go to any lengths to achieve their objectives irrespective of whether loss of lives will factor in. I was thus compelled by how the film presented the gravity of the ongoing situation from the government officials’ point of view in that they were prepared to compromise on what they stand for so that the two hitmen could do their thing; it was an issue of national security. Josh Brolin’s character makes his intentions very clear to a bunch of them prior to the new assignment in a 1st Act scene but neither of the officials presents any objection.
Speaking of Brolin a.k.a Thanos from Infinity War a.k.a the young Agent K from MIB, his role as Matt Graver lacks development much like in the first movie but he makes up for it with great dialogue coupled with great poise in the face of conflict. I could accord the same compliment to Alejandro Gillick as well but in his case, he does exceptionally in both sectors. Benicio Del Toro’s character was developed enough coming off 2015’s Sicario with his revenge undertaking against someone who brutally killed his wife and daughter. The subtle but intimidating dialogue and the unforgiving nature that was a strong part of his demeanor also carries on to this film and I loved it. Why do you ask?
Well, it’s a no-brainer that whenever someone is rocked by a tragedy whereby his or her family is killed by an adversary, it is the element of time which will essentially heal the emotional wounds as opposed to retribution. Alejandro killed the perpetrator of his family’s execution but there was little to no satisfaction or joy he drew out of it given that in this photoplay, he is behaviourally the same man he used to be before and I personally found this aspect very relatable, wouldn’t you?
To all you Transformers; The Last Knight fans out there who haven’t watched Sicario 2 yet, it should come to your attention that Isabella Moner is here; a much taller version if may add. I won’t say much about her since I might end up giving you spoilers while I am at it though all I can tell you is that her character is feisty and she can seamlessly speak Hispanic; something I wasn’t in any way aware of.
The Plot, Boons and Banes.
I strongly believe that you have watched many films and series in your lifetime that bears a plot similar to the one that features not only in this movie but also in its precursor; it’s been used time and time again. I don’t know about you but the main reason why I keep viewing these kinds of films anyway is that I am always optimistic that the filmmakers involved will try and bring their own style to the narrative which will stand out from the rest. It doesn’t always work out but when it does, it’s done perfectly case in point Sicario that came out three years back.
That said, it’ll be quite evident that once you’ve seen this particular film as well as its forerunner, you’ll realize that they are very different especially from a tonal perspective and that is my point of argument. This sequel lacks more enthralling stakes than the first one i.e. which featured an antagonist in Diaz whose regime saw the mutilation of innocent people with their bodies hanging off bridges and on the streets. Furthermore, this sequel lacks a character with as much presence as Emily Blunt’s in the first one i.e. someone with a “I don’t want to be here because what you guys (Alejandro & Matt) are doing is wrong” type of attitude to cause tension within tension if you know what I mean.
Denis Villeneuve directed the first Sicario which by the way, was a success in the eyes of audiences and critics alike and I expected him to pick up here he started with this sequel; something that apparently did not come to fulfillment. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s not that I hate what Stephano Sollima came in to do with Sicario 2. In fact; I enjoyed it from a production design, acting, and cinematography angle. Nonetheless, I don’t ideally advocate for directors taking up projects that others of their kind started on already and I think D.C.E.U fans will relate with me on this.
Dragging Sicario: Day of the Soldado in the mud for a better part of this review pains me but in the words of Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty, I’d say that’s how the cookie crumbles my friends. On the upside, aside from the fact that it generally did not measure up to Denis Villeneuve’s motion-picture, I enjoyed it and thus you can suck the juice out that compliment to fuel your initiative to watch it; it wasn’t bad but it definitely wasn’t better.