'A Land of Wolves'
Sicario: Day of the Soldado Pales in Comparison to the Original
Denis Villeneuve's Sicario was a grim, gritty thriller that also worked as a mildly thought-provoking treatise on the lengths we would go to win this so-called "Drug War". The sequel, Day of the Soldado gets the grim and gritty parts right, but leaves all thought out to dry.
Giving us a depressingly relevant story about human trafficking across the border, the film begins with a bombing from terrorists who seem to have come here from Mexico. Due to this, the Government grants FBI agent Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) and his secret weapon Alejandro Gillick (Benicio del Toro) carte blanche to fight the cartels. Their plan involves kidnapping the daughter of a drug lord in an attempt to kick off a gang war, but chaos ensues in the aftermath and things only go from bad to worse.
The original worked so well because it presented an interesting discussion about how the pursuit of a monstrous enemy can turn us into monsters. This film pays lip-service to that, but it desperately needs an Emily Blunt character to lend a touch of humanity to the proceedings. It tries to give us some sympathy towards del Toro's character but after the shocking finale of the first film, I'm just not buying it. No, this film is perfectly content being a straight action film and with very tight editing and excellent camerawork, it's a fine one. I just wished they could offer a little heart, even in a world as bleak as this. — Forest Taylor
Directed by: Stefano Sollima // Written by: Taylor Sheridan // Starring: Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin, Isabela Moner, Catherine Keener, Matthew Modine, David Castaneda, Jeffery Donovan, Ian Bohen and Manuel Garcia-Rulfo // 122 minutes