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Sicario 2: Soldado (Sicario: Day of the Soldado)
U.S.A./Italy 2018

Opening 19 Jul 2018

Directed by: Stefano Sollima
Writing credits: Taylor Sheridan
Principal actors: Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin, Isabela Moner, Jeffrey Donovan, Catherine Keener

In case audiences are wondering, in Spanish soldado means soldier, and sicario means hired assassin—the colloquial is hitman. In this crisp, spine-tingling follow-up to Sicario (2015), the primary protagonists return, although acerbic amorality replaces idealism. The gut-wrenching authenticity of trafficking is a reminder that every society has many layers.

Trouble escalates when it jumps the border into the American Heartland, thus leading to an African connection. The Secretary of Defense (Matthew Modine) convenes a super-high-level meeting is his office with politicians and law officials. Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) is guest of honor; Foards (Catherine Keener) fills in the blanks. The mission is clear: “dirty is what I want.” Concurrently, a cousin lures a good kid (Elijah Rodriguez) into the underbelly of societies; Mexican cartels are always looking for good recruits. Once in, every task takes Miguel one notch higher on the cartel rung. Graver, with stalwarts Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro), Steve Forsing (Jeffrey Donovan), and teams secure the target-cum-pawn (Isabela Moner). Crisscrossing borders, critical planning, experience, and chance delicately dance to fate’s music. A discordant note, then the silence is deafening. As directions change, virulent orders become enlightening, helpful. Sometimes, giving people freedom allows them to remember who they were.

Taylor Sheridan’s sequel screenplay is equally tight, riveting and infused with gritty realism. Stefano Sollima is the firm puppet-master consistently directing the layered storyline that the international cast pervades forcibly through their characters’ depictions. Cinematographer Dariusz Wolski captures action from every range and angle, including bird’s-eye loftiness, while Hildur Guðnadóttir’s music throbs with visceral premonition. Matthew Newman’s editing assures none are left behind following the complicated story, although more deftly applied music and at lower decibels would have gone further.

Nuggets are interspersed throughout Sicario 2: Soldado reminding audiences of current storms on real borders. As action rages, this gripping, fiery thriller shocks at times, suspends judgment at others, and definitely opens the possibility to explore the unresolved issues in the future. (Marinell Haegelin)

Second Opinion

Director Sollima opens the film with the immigrant issues that the US has with the Mexican border, and, while focusing on terrorism, CIA agent Matt (Josh Brolin) and operative Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro) decide to start a war with the Mexican cartels. In order to achieve this, the US government kidnaps the daughter of one of the drug lords. They feel that they have a bullet-proof plan, but as soon as they trust the Mexican police, their plan blows up in their faces. Matt trusts the police force to act as their body guards, and, as they are being escorted, all hell breaks loose. So the undercover team has to split up with several of them returning to US soil since their mission took place in Mexico City. Alejandro stays behind and sets out to find the daughter who ran away during a fire fight with the police. He is also ordered to wipe out all evidence. He refuses to do that and now is on the hit list.

Since this is an action movie, I can certainly say that the action scenes were exciting and leave you anticipating the next scene. The music also reflects the atmosphere perfectly. It gives you good insight of the Mexican Border issues and what kind of hardships the people there are living under. I enjoyed the intensity of the film until the last 15 minutes which were disappointing. It’s pretty sad. They were trying to get a good ending and created a scene to show that there will be a Sicario 3, but in my opinion, they overshot that goal by far. They should have cut away earlier since the last 15 minutes were so slow paced, I almost fell asleep. (Adrian Schoeneshoefer)

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