Sicario: Day of the Soldado – 3.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Sicario: Day of the Soldado – 3.5/5 – The original Sicario was a surprise hit.  With strong character dynamic and an ambiguous narrative, it created a world of raw thrills.  The craze of the first led to the creation of this sequel.  With the focus shifting to the ancillary characters, it delves deep into the web of their abstruse choices.  With this film leaning more into the action/thriller genre, Sicario: Day of Soldado provides enough of an adrenaline rush that makes it a befitting sequel.

Premise: The drug war has led to trafficking terrorists across the US border.  To fight the war, Matt Graver re-teams with the mercurial Alejandro.

Making their return, you have:

Benicio Del Toro as Alejandro

Josh Brolin as Matt Graver

In these roles, they fall right back into them without a hitch.  You feel their presences through their actions, mannerism and subtlety of conversations.  Within each sequence, you see Del Toro and Brolin dig deeper into ‘who’ these characters are, pulling out something strong without overt explanation.  They become bridges into this world, creating abstract of decisions that have stark consequences.  With the rest of the cast, please refer to the film’s IMDb page.  The secondary characters are nothing more than typecasts for action/thriller motifs.  Most of these actors/actresses fall into the typical government, cartel henchman roles that are nothing more than ‘casualty’ dummies for the main characters.

The direction blends political themes with action/thriller elements.  By taking this approach, it pulls the film towards the typical techniques of espionage, military action scenarios and government’s involvement with the unknown.  By having common layers, it pushes the characters of Alejandro and Matt Graver to the forefront.  Unlike the first film, you get to see their complex relationship, causing awkward sensibilities towards the rest the story.  This relationship gets entangled by an attack.  From here, we see how expositional dialogue moves the story quickly through the first act, leading to the two characters rejoining undercover/military ops missions.  This has a trickle-down effect with new characters, driving a convoluted web of action that mixes trepidation with unknown consequences.  As much as the military combat, unrelenting deaths and single-handed combat drives the narrative, the realistic setting pulls you towards a raw aesthetic.  This provides an endearing layer for the characters, giving brevity of the situation.  That realism, pressed against action/thriller elements, pushes the fabricated stylings to be more appealing.  As the story moves through the second act, certain decisions lead to conflicts between allies and friends.  The relationships are rattled, leading to questions of personal choice and moral dilemmas.  This creates dynamism of a different approach; where characterization is not driven by commonality but by situations of unpredictability.  This alleviates some of the convenient plot devices, showing that the flaws are more native to humanistic threads.  Once revelations come to light, the third act becomes a telegraph sequence that positions certain characters for another chapter.  By leaving no real conclusion, it counteracts the buildup of the character dynamics and moral conflicts.  Even with slight predictability, the ambiguity of the climax leads towards an epilogue that hints of promise.

The visuals are just plain amazing.  By keeping the focus through grainy complexions and honest reflections of a raw world, it levels truth with shocking appeal.  The grounded approach allows for the action to blend organically with real locals (Mexico City and Texas), giving adrenaline with authenticity.  The score is a copycat of the first film, but adds that same value of ominous brooding to every scene (action or dramatic) taken in the film.

Sicario: Day of the Soldado is a great addition to the franchise.  By taking you further into the underworld, it allows for the returning characters to grow.  Even with some predictable plot elements, there is enough here for a great time.  If you’re a fan of the actors involved or the original, this is one for you.  This is worth seeing at the theaters over the weekend.

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