Sicario: Day of the Soldado review
A few years ago, Sicariowas released and critically phrased. I had originally given the film a negative review for being unoriginal. I gave the film another chance beforehand and viewed it before the upcoming sequel. I can come to the conclusion that while I still find the subject very dull for my taste, Sicariois beautifully photographed, well acted, and put's you in a constant sense of dread. I can say that Sicariowas clearly made to be so bleak and violent, it's to address the issues related to Mexico and the drug cartels…especially it's influence within the United States.
What I also noticed a second time around was how much I enjoyed the characters of Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benicio del Toro. They all had different viewpoints of how the violence of the cartels need to be responded. Blunt wanted to simply go after those hurt in the beginning. Brolin saw anything cartel-related coming into the US needed to be dealt with much retaliation, no matter the lives at stake. Del Toro, is the deepest, having been a part of the Colombian cartel, and thus has no morals for any side. The stories of the characters continue in Sicario: Day of the Soldado.
Terrorists go through a suicide bombing in Kansas City, killing fifteen people in a groceries store. This gives the government leverage to allow permission for the CIA to retaliate the Mexican drug cartels who are have said to smuggled the Islamic terrorists in. Special officer Matt Graver (played by Josh Brolin) decides the best option would be to get a war going between the major cartels. To pull this off, he recruits black operative Alejandro Gillick (played by Benicio del Toro) to develop a plan. They put their plan into motion in which they plan on kidnapping the daughter of a kingpin, with the goal of pinning it on their rival, hoping to set off a war.
After a chase, with masks concealing their identity, they kidnap teenage Isabela (played by Isabela Moner). They bring her back to the US, with plans to return her in rival territory. While that goes fine, not only does something go wrong with the local police, but new evidence is brought forward, not only putting her life in jeopardy, but that of Alejandro who is also with her.
Sicario: Day of the Soldadois a lot like the first movie. Despite the original director Denis Villeneuve not returning, Stefano Sollima does a great job not only duplicating that same cinematography that I enjoyed, but creates that same gloomy tone from before. This allows it's story to build the cartels as more dangerous enemies given their possible ability to smuggle terrorists into the US. This also builds a similar tone that, could still be seen as quite dull. While it does for me, it's more of a story issue, which I'll get to in a moment. Let's talk about the characters.
Like from before, both Josh Brolin and Benicio del Toro are entertaining actors that know how to add their personalities into these characters. Brolin has the rough look that implies he's seen action, but confidant enough that you could trust him…even when things are questionable. Del Toro might actually seem more mysterious this time, given how he's even brought into action (which I won't spoil) and what exactly happens to him towards the end (which I also won't spoil). Because neither of these characters could be defined as "good", your in a constant state where you want to see justice for what happens, your not sure is any of these characters have the right response or justification for these actions. I guess it's a part of the movie's deeper insight in American CIA involvement.
Now what about that story? Much of the goal is easy to understand, with the hope that both cartels will eliminate each other through future war. There is a B story involving a Hispanic boy in the US and his part of a cartel. I could understand a lot of people taking offense to this kind of portrayal. I want people to understand that it doesn't seem to be saying anything about an entire country or a group of people, but rather of darker events that I could see happening in this circumstance. Both stories to coincide towards the final act, which I'll admit I was starting to get board of towards the end. I think they could have shaved off fifteen minutes rather then dragging things out.
I'll give this four Mexican flags out of five. Most fans of the first movie should enjoy Sicario: Day of the Soldado. People coming in by now should know that these movies can be hard to sit through, but that's the whole point; to reveal how dark people are willing to go to make peace.