In 2015 we were introduced to the gruesome yet realistic world of Sicario. The film brought amazing realism, acting, story and direction. It was a stand out film for me that year and it felt that no sequel was necessary. For this reason, I was cautious about Sicario: Day of the Soldado. Where the first film had some action, it was more about taking down the Mexican drug Cartels and the trailers for this sequel made it look like a generic action flick. I love me some generic action movies but Sicario was not that which is why I was worried about this follow up. Add to that the fact that Emily Blunt was not in the movie and I was double concerned. Luckily, I was wrong.
Sicario: Day of the Soldado is a great follow up to a film that doesn’t need a sequel but crafts one extremely well. Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro) continues to be motivated by the loss of his family and a desire for revenge against the Cartel responsible. This film centers around taking Reyes, Manuel Diaz’s (the cartel leader from the first film) boss. The basic premise is that Reyes smuggled terrorists into the US from Mexico who in turn committed a terrorist attack. This is where Matt (Josh Brolin) comes into play as he is tasked with taking down Reyes Cartel in a unique manner. Matt brings in Alejandro to help and story takes on several twists and turns from there.
The story surprised me immensely. There was little about it that was predictable and it truly kept me on the edge of my seat. There was a moment near the end where I predicated an outcome but, in a film full of surprises, I didn’t mind one moment of predictability. Sicario: The Day of The Soldado was first and foremost, a thriller and secondly an action movie. There was a great deal more action in this film than the first but the realism to each fight and tense moments leading up to each were incredible. Director Stefano Sollima shot the film extremely well and offered us a highly entertaining thriller.
Throughout the film, Alejandro develops a relationship with Isabel Reyes, daughter of Cartel leader Reyes. The relationship unfolded and grew with each interaction. It was clear that Isabel didn’t really have a father figure in her life and it was fun to Alejandro engage with a young woman like this having known that he lost his wife and daughter previously.
Alejandro is undoubtedly a bad person overall however we get to see more of his humanity here. At the end of the first film we see him hold a gun to Emily Blunt’s character threatening to kill her if she reveals all the terrible things he and Matt did to take out Diaz. Further, we saw him kill children at the end of the first film in order to get revenge. In no way is Alejandro a good person but we see his humanity come out much more here. On the flip side we see a lot of conflict in Matt. In some ways he becomes an even more deplorable person and yet he redeems himself in others. I don’t want to go into that much due to spoilers but it is an interesting arc.
A new addition to the cast came in the form of Miguel played by Elijah Rodriguez. Miguel is a young man who lives in a border town in Mexico and is convinced by his older cousin to work for the Coyotes leading illegal immigants across the border. The young mans involement in the film is unclear similar to the cop in the first film that keeps showing up in small amounts. Luckily Miguel’s story doesn’t play out in the exact same way but we do get to see an interesting young character who is used as a set up for a potential sequel.
I can’t really think of anything negative to say about this film even though it also didn’t blow me away. It was a stellar new addition that thrilled and excited at every turn. Characters grew in surprising ways, action scenes were gritty and realistic, and the story was exceptionally entertaining and took many unexpected turns. A franchise is in the making and, so far, it is being handled better than could have been anticipated.
4 out of 5 Couch Cushions and a throw pillow!!!