'Sicario: Day Of The Soldado' Keeps The 'Sicario' Saga Going Full Steam

By James Jay Edwards
Released: June 29, 2018
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Synopsis
The drug war on the US-Mexico border has escalated as the cartels have begun trafficking terrorists across the US border. To fight the war, federal agent Matt Graver re-teams with the mercurial Alejandro.

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Film Review
Production
In 2015, film fans learned that the word Sicario means 'hitman' in Spanish. Now, with the sequel Sicario: Day of the Soldado, we learn that Soldado means 'soldier.'

Sicario: Day of the Soldado brings back Josh Brolin (Avengers: Infinity War, Deadpool 2) as government anti-terrorism agent Matt Graver. The president has just broadened the definition of terrorist groups to include the Mexican Drug Cartels, and the government feels that the best way to combat them is to have them fight themselves. Graver comes up with a plan to kidnap sixteen-year-old Isabel Reyes (Isabela Moner from Transformers: The Last Knight), the daughter of drug lord Carlos Reyes, and frame another cartel for the crime. It's a big job, so Graver enlists the help of a man who holds a grudge against Carlos Reyes - the mercenary soldier Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro from Escobar: Paradise Lost). Of course, a wrench is thrown into the plan when the mission gets too personal.

(l to r) Josh Brolin, Jeffrey Donovan and Benicio Del Toro in SICARIO: Day of the Soldado, Photo Credit: Richard Foreman, Jr. SMPSP.


Like Sicario, Sicario: Day of the Soldado was written by Taylor Sheridan (Hell or High Water, Wind River), although this time, the directorial reins are in the hands of Stefano Sollima ("Gomorrah") instead of Denis Villeneuve. Although Sollima doesn't quite have the same expert grasp of the cinematic language as Villeneuve, he's no slouch. On a visual level, Sicario: Day of the Soldado is on par with its predecessor. Narrative-wise, it's more of a suspense thriller than an action movie.

There's a point in Sicario: Day of the Soldado where the tone and mood shifts away from '24'-like anti-terrorism scheming and political intrigue, and the movie becomes a standard escape thriller. It loses a little steam there, but really, it just becomes a different movie. The pacing is different, and there's a much more subtle sense of tension. It's still an engaging watch, but it doesn't feel like the same movie that it was when it started.

Benicio Del Toro and Isabela Moner in SICARIO: Day of the Soldado, Photo Credit: Richard Foreman, Jr. SMPSP.


Sicario: Day of the Soldado is a timely and topical movie, not quite echoing the dealings of the U.S. government, but shining a light on a few ideas that actually seem like they could be happening behind closed doors. Brolin's Matt Graver's heart is in the right place, but his misguided loyalty to his 'company' makes him almost an anti-hero (which would make this the third sympathetic antagonist that he has played this year). Del Toro's Alejandro plays the Emily Blunt role here, serving as the surprising moral compass for the entire operation. Alejandro is still as badass as ever, but he has a newfound sensitivity that puts him at odds with the job that he was hired to do by Graver. In this way, Sicario: Day of the Soldado is Alejandro's movie, and his arc is a fascinating one.

As a sequel, Sicario: Day of the Soldado is great. It's got every bit of the violence and disturbing imagery of the first movie, yet it expands upon the characters and the universe so that the audience is forced to stay on its toes the whole time. Is it better than Sicario? That depends on whether you like hard action or nail-biting suspense. Either way, it's well worth the time and energy.
Cinematography
Sicario: Day of the Soldado was shot by cinematographer Dariusz Wolski (The Martian, Prometheus) in a way that puts the viewer right in the middle of the action. Wolskis camera shifts, slides, and swirls around the scenes, making it seem as if the audience is another character in the movie. In perfect action movie style, Wolski uses everything from cranes to drones to follow and capture the grand drama. The part of Texas in the movie is played by New Mexico, with external scenes shot in the desert on and around various Indian reservations. Mexico City plays itself, and it is distinctly recognizable. Throughout the movie, Wolski shows the action through many lenses, not just using his own camera, but utilizing authentic-looking surveillance and military feeds. The stunning locations and the creative visuals make the photography in Sicario: Day of the Soldado unforgettable.

Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro) opens fire on the Mexican police ambushing the humvee convoy. Photo Credit: Richard Foreman, Jr. SMPSP.
Score/Soundtrack
The musical score for Sicario: Day of the Soldado was composed by Hildur Gudnadóttir (Arrival, The Revenant), who was a protégé of the late Sicario composer Jóhann Johannsson. Although it is a completely different score, Gudnadóttir's music for Sicario: Day of the Soldado draws heavy influence from Johannsson's Sicario soundtrack. It's mostly an electronic score, full of pulsing synth lines and pounding percussion that are very Hans Zimmer-esque in scope and tone. Some of the more emotional moments call for traditional cinematic music, and Gudnadóttir delivers there, but most of the score is just thumping and pumping. It's the perfect score to accompany anti-terrorism drug cartel raids.

Benicio Del Toro in SICARIO: Day of the Soldado, Photo Credit: Richard Foreman, Jr. SMPSP.



Genres
Action, Crime, Drama
Release Date
June 29, 2018
MPAA Rating
R
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