Review: Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado – A good, unnecessary sequel, back to scary Mexico

Benicio Del Toro and Isabela Moner in SICARIO: Day of the Soldado

Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018)

Movie review

In this sequel of the 2015 crime thriller Sicario, Day of the Soldado sees the return of black ops mercenaries Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) and Alejandro Gillick (Benicio del Toro) as they are hired by the United States government to kidnap a drug lord’s daughter, Isabel Reyes (Isabela Moner), in order to start a war between rival cartels in Mexico. The writer of the first film Taylor Sheridan (Wind River, Hell or High Water) returns to provide the script while Stefano Sollima (Suburra, ACDB) replaces Denis Villeneuve as the director.

Emily Blunt did not reprise her role as Kate, the more relatable central character, and the film does not introduce a new “moral compass” character that’s like her. Which can be quite a problem from the audience’s point of view as there isn’t really a “good guy” to support for most part of the film. Matt is just freelance soldier who runs dirty covert operations for money and Alejandro is still pretty much a mysterious figure who just killed an innocent kid and a mother to avenge his murdered family. Both of these main characters are ruthless. So it would be a lie to say that Blunt isn’t missed. But thankfully, Matt and Alejandro are still interesting enough to carry the plot as the characters continue to develop beyond who they were from the first film.

brolin del toro sicario 2 soldado still

The film spends a bit of time away from the main plot to unnecessarily develop a new young character named Miguel (Elijah Rodriguez) for a lousy payoff at the end. And the kidnapped school girl, Isabel, is quite an arrogant, spoiled daughter of a filthy rich criminal. Thus, up to the end of the second act, I had no care for any of the characters whatsoever. I just wanted to see what happens and feel the dreadful atmosphere of Mexico. The plot basically does not offer anything significantly new to make this sequel less needless than it is.

However, what the film does offer is the constant sense of immense danger backed by a bit of cluelessness. Much like the slow-burning first film, it feels like something bad is going to happen any time when the characters are in Mexico and when something crazy does happen, you’d be wondering why and how before it’s vaguely explained later. The performances of the cast are great, particularly del Toro (Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Che) and Moner (Transformers: The Last Knight). Del Toro’s Alejandro is more than just a cold and composed “sicario” (hitman) this time as the development of the character now requires him to also subtly express sadness, fear and agony. The charming Moner does very well portraying the intelligent school girl Isabel who goes from tough and arrogant to complete helplessness and shock.

There are loads of violence, shootouts and gripping moments throughout Alejandro and Matt’s journey to accomplish the high stakes mission and this time, they’re forced into sort of a moral dilemma despite being professional killers who never hesitated. If you liked the first film, you’d likely enjoy this sequel as well. Just probably not as much.

What I would’ve named the film: “Mexico Tourism 2”

Malaysian censorship: Nothing seems to be censored at the premiere screening despite all the F-bombs and violence. Which is good!

Second opinion: My girlfriend thought the film was okay and never boring to watch.

Verdict: An unnecessary sequel but still pretty good.

Rating: 3.5 / 5

sicario 2 movie poster malaysiaGenre: Crime thriller
Running Time: 123 minutes
Director: Stefano Sollima
Screenwriter: Taylor Sheridan
Cast: Josh Brolin, Benicio Del Toro, Catherine Keener

Malaysia Release Date: 28 June 2018
Rated: 18
Local Distributor: TGV Pictures
Production: Black Label Media, Thunder Road Pictures, Rai Cinema

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