Movie Review: ‘Sicario: Day of the Saldado’ Gets Lost On It’s Way To Something Special

Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin star in SICARIO 2: SOLDADO.

After missing a large chunk of the ‘Sicario: Day of the Soldado’ screening for personal reasons, I didn’t feel I could truly give an honest opinion without seeing most of the second act. After rewatching it all the way through, I am of two minds about this sequel. On the one hand, I find the film to be brilliantly raw and thought provoking about some important subjects. On the other, it’s a film that loses its way and never follows through with what it starts. 

My initial worry when stepping into this sequel was that Emily Blunt’s character would be missing and the trailers played the whole thing like a standard thriller. The thing that made ‘Sicario’ great was that it used Blunt as the audience’s eyes into the heart of darkness. It was ‘Apocalypse Now’ on the Mexican Border. The new one is actually not too far away from that and the set up leads you to believe that greatness is in store. 

Sadly, greatness is a bit out of reach here, but the set up is brilliant. After a group of immigrants are caught crossing the border, one of them separates from the group and blows themselves up with a suicide vest. At the same time, in Kansas City, a group of terrorists walk into a grocery store and blow up one by one. This attack leads the DHS to loosen up rules on the border and open up a covert war against the Mexican Cartels. The plan is to start this war between the cartels by kidnapping the daughter of a major cartel boss. The man to carry out this mission is CIA operative Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) again and his inside man is the Sicario (Benicia Del Toro) himself. 

The plan actually works out quite brilliantly until the Mexican police turn on the Americans. It’s at this point that the plan and the movie fall apart a bit. The third act is actually pretty intense and discussion worthy in its own right, but it is a deviation from the narrative. It’s as if the movie is headed in one direction and then it gets stopped by a force. Typically, this trip up would work as a detour or conflict on our journey. Instead, it stops the narrative completely and sends us down a different rabbit hole that was building as a side plot throughout the film. That side plot then takes over the film and leads the whole thing away from its central narrative until it finally just ends on a cliffhanger. 

Now, don’t get me wrong. The movie is well executed and I’m often okay with a cliffhanger. Yet, this one was particularly disappointing because of how well executed everything was up until the films detour. Watching it made me feel like I had been just given a tease of ideas that would eventually work there way out whenever the writer could figure out where he was going with the whole thing. Luckily, that writer is the talented Taylor Sheridan and the script hits enough buttons to make you want to come back for more. I just wish it could have fulfilled its promise in this film, because ‘Sicario 2’ is as riveting as it gets, until it isn’t.

Nathan Ligon

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