Sicario: Day of the Soldado

Sicario: Day of the Soldado

In Theatres: 
Jun 29, 2018
Running Time: 
122 minutes

Sicario came out of nowhere with its bold and intense portrayal of violence and corruption, delivering a beautifully orchestrated action thriller set within a bleak world. It was one of my favorite films of 2015 so when a sequel was announced I was both hesitant and enthusiastic. Sicario ended perfectly well and frankly I never saw a need for a sequel, especially since it would be impossible to recapture the same intensity and bleakness of the world the first film did so well. Yet with screenwriter Taylor Sheridan returning along with Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin reprising their roles, I couldn’t help but get a little excited to see more of their story. Despite my lofty expectations, Sicario: Day of the Soldado is a worthy sequel that will have you on the edge of your seat and leave a pit in your stomach.


Following a suicide bombing at a toy store, the government learns that terrorists are being smuggled into the United States from across the Mexican border. Rather than go through the all the hoops of the political system, the CIA sends in special operator Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) to handle the situation by starting a war between the cartels. With the help of Alejandro (Benicio del Toro), Matt kidnaps the daughter of a drug lord under the guise of a rival cartel. You see, the winners in this highly volatile government are no longer decided by guns or money anymore, but by who controls the narrative.


Day of the Soldado may not have the brilliant Denis Villeneuve at the helm this time around but Stefano Sollima proves that he is more than capable of handling the script from Taylor Sheridan. Like Sicario, the film slowly builds in tension as it carefully arranges set pieces as if it were a game of chess, with each piece being perfectly positioned. You can always see the entire board, but it isn’t until things really start moving that you see the bigger picture being played, and by that time it’s too late to do anything about it. The violence depicted is realistically brutal with little Hollywood flare added and is not for the faint of heart. The camera will oftentimes linger for an extra second or two before cutting away just to make sure the impact of what you just saw sinks in. That, coupled with the deep resounding bass tone from the score, create an unnerving and heart-pounding film experience.


The story itself is fine, although it doesn’t have quite the same punch as the original. Day of the Soldado presents some complex themes about the government, cartels, immigration, and crafting whatever narrative fits your goal the best but doesn’t explore them too deeply. Things also start to come apart a little bit in the third act as the film tends to focus more on teasing a third film rather than wrapping up the storylines already established.


As far as sequels go, Sicario: Day of the Soldado is a solid continuation of the story the first Sicario established. While it might not vastly improve things or take the characters to any new places, narratively speaking, it still captures much of the same tense action and breathtaking visuals that made the original so memorable. It’s a sequel I didn’t ask for, but in the end I’m glad it’s the one we got.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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