Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018)
Critic Consensus: Though less subversive than its predecessor, Sicario: Day of the Soldado succeeds as a stylish, dynamic thriller -- even if its amoral machismo makes for grim viewing.
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as Alejandro Gillick
as Matt Graver
as Isabel Reyes
as Steve Forsing
as Cynthia Foards
as James Riley
as Andy Wheeldon
as Carson Wright
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Critic Reviews for Sicario: Day of the Soldado
'Day of the Soldado' would be hard to stomach at any time. It feels particularly worthless now.
If there is a theme in this film, I would venture to guess that it's right there in the title. The soldier, el soldado, has his day and his way throughout.
Without a humanizing element like Blunt's character, this whole grim affair is just a race to the bottom in which everyone loses.
Moner is terrific, and her character's fortunes can be read in her eyes-blazing to begin with, as she scraps with another girl in a schoolyard, but dark and blank by the end, their youthful fire doused by the violence that she has seen.
Where its predecessor, 2015's Sicario was intermittently thoughtful, this sequel is mindlessly mean-spirited.
Audience Reviews for Sicario: Day of the Soldado
It's not every day that we get a sequel to an award winning hard-R prestige drama. No one asked for it necessarily, but here we are. Sicario: Day of the Soldado pulls off a more-than-able effort to follow up on what made the original so insightful, dark, and eerily mesmerizing. It's not quite the well-oiled knockout Sicario was, but it is of comparable quality and adds a bit of depth to its two main leads. If you don't recall, the original Sicario was the story of a female FBI agent dragged into an escalating war between the US government and the Mexican cartels. She finds out just how morally questionable the operation is, and how the war on drugs was turning into a war on terror, with black ops and military assets liberally torturing and air-striking their way for questionable results. Sicario: Day of the Soldado goes further with this theme, even becoming more explicit. With fears of Islamic militants crossing over the border, blending in with illegal immigrants, the US government escalates the war again with the cartels, planning to play off one side against the other and then mop up what is left. This plan...goes awry, but not in the way you'd expect. The focus this time is on two of the main leads from the previous film - Benicio Del Toro's double agent and Josh Brolin's casually dressed CIA operative. And it works, for the most part. The absence of Emily Blunt can be felt at times, but the inclusion of Isabela Moner as a cartel daughter does somewhat alleviate this. And that's one the big themes here - the effect of the endless border wars on children, with generation after generation falling into the same roles and patterns. Unfortunately, Denis Villeneuve is not back helming the picture, but acclaimed screenwriter Taylor Sheridan is, giving us a crisp script with a pulse. This is a damn good sequel I can recommend to most mature adults, provided that they don't allow their biases to get in the way. And that's the problem isn't it? I have seen so many fucking think pieces written by political hacks attacking this movie. Sicario 2 doesn't bother with easy answers, as neither did its predecessor. It doesn't take a political stance, which is bold in this day and age, considering how illegal immigration is a major topic. Liberals hate it for not condemning US policy on illegal immigration and for depicting Islamic terrorism in a blunt fashion. Conservatives hate it for the nasty things it has to say about the war on drugs, how callous US special forces are to their targets, and giving sympathy to Hispanics caught in the middle. Look. I hate 2018. But I like this movie. Go see it and make up your own opinion.
Within the first 10 minutes of Hitman: Dia del Soldier, the sequel immediately sets itself politically antithetical to Sicario. The film opens with a text explaining that there are thousands of people smuggled across the U.S.-Mexico border for profit by Mexican Drug cartels. It then proceeds to show multiple jihadists blowing themselves up in Kansas City (where I was coincidentally watching the film) because, what better way to prove your Islamic extremist point than by smuggling across the border and traveling 1000 miles to blow yourself up at a Dillons? This all helps the cartels, of course, because once you hear about a terror attack, you immediately want to do a line of coke. The rest of the first act plays out like any paranoid, second grade reading level Fox News adherent's wet dream. Boogey boogey boogey! Mexicans are smuggling in terrorists so that the borders will have more security forces placed there, all just to make drug prices go up. Since ending the War on Drugs would be too simple and straight forward, Josh Brolin and Benicio del Toro carry out a series of false flag cartel hits culminating in the kidnapping of a cartel king's scrappy teenage daughter. This is all to provoke more cartel violence that will perpetuate the perpetual cycle of cartel violence. Just like the preface text, it's skipping a few logical steps on the way to "Step 3: Profit". It sounds like a good enough plan to justify production cost for the film. Cue jingoistic military porn, then rinse and repeat. They follow the action beats of the first film without any clear sense of purpose and without Roger Deakin's cinematography. The rest of the film just rambles with brief character moments from Brolin and del Toro that add nothing to the the first film and hardly make the planned third installment seem all that enticing. This is an absolutely unnecessary film. Whereas Sicario is a study of how corruption infests every echelon of our justice department yet is a necessary evil in the day to day proceedings on and around the border, this film sets these themes by the way side to focus on characters who elicited little sympathy in the first place. The trauma and disillusion we experienced with Emily Blunt's character is replaced with only the visceral spectacle of being shot by both sides. It's ineffective and ultimately pointless. I'm sure Taylor Sheridan felt the need to write this as it's his baby, but sorely lacking in these proceedings is a clear purpose or his usual righteous socio-political subtext. Sadly, giant robots couldn't have given this movie less depth.
(2.5 Stars) I remember when the first Sicario came out back in 2015, and I thought to myself, this was a great one-time film which you rarely see the likes of these days. I should have known better because nearly three years later, Hollywood is piecing together a sequel out of thin air for a story that didn't need one. Day of the Soldado clocks in at a decent 2-hour run time, but because it doesn't feel, move, or act like anything from the first, it will have you feeling it overstayed its welcome. The first major change from the first film was the director. Gone is trademark Denis Villeneuve. Enter relatively unknown Stefano Sollima. With only one other credit to his name, despite having Taylor Sheridan back to help write the script (and who knows in what capacity), Sollima is on his own here. There are hints and nods to many of the techniques that made the first film so enjoyable, but none of them are constant enough to invoke the same feelings. Gone are the tense moments of living on the edge of your seat. There just wasn't one moment like he border drive through Juarez to anchor this film. While Sicario was more of a ghost/horror story supplemented by brief, tense bouts of action, Day of the Soldado flips the script and offers more showmanship and flare. Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin are back, along with some of the other team members we recognized from the first, but no one else really stands out to show why this film needed a bigger scope or story. There's no Emily Blunt to buffer Del Toro and Brolin this time around, and their direct conflict (if you can even call it that) doesn't really hit home. Day of the Soldado offers another glimpse into a pretty dark world, but without a totem to keep the audience grounded in something positive, it's just a dive into despair. With a plot that fails to deliver much like this second turn in theaters, I'll be interested to see if a third comes out down the road.
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