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article imageReview: ‘Sicario: Day of the Soldado’ overshoots the target Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Jun 29, 2018 in Entertainment
‘Sicario: Day of the Soldado’ is the sequel to Denis Villeneuve’s better, Oscar-nominated movie about America’s fight with the Mexican drug cartels.
Drug trafficking in the United States has been a hot button issue for decades, particularly when discussing the Mexico-U.S. border. However, in the last year, the border has become an even greater topic of contention as illegal migrants rose to the top of the list of “threats” to combat. While the real-life motives for this mimic a South Park rant, there could be legitimate reasons for the perimeter to become an increased concern — one of which is explored in Sicario: Day of the Soldado, the sequel to the gritty cop movie.
Agent Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) is still fighting the good fight by any means necessary. When it’s suspected terrorists working for ISIS arrived by crossing the Mexican border, he’s tasked to find out who’s aiding their passage. Since the cartels still control the border towns, they become the primary target and Graver requests Alejandro’s (Benicio Del Toro) help. Their covert, “non-sanctioned” mission is to start a war between the two major cartels, which will in turn distract their attentions from the border-crossing business. The key to starting this conflict is the daughter (Isabela Moner) of one of the drug lords. But even though it all goes right at the start, everything quickly turns south and they’re left to clean up some very big mistakes with international consequences.
There was a very specific attraction to the first film that revolved around its authenticity and grit, literally and figuratively. Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) faces a serious dilemma with regards to Graver’s tactics in the original picture, but even though they may have been illegal they at least seemed plausible. In spite of also being written by Taylor Sheridan, this movie doesn’t have those qualities — and one of the key differences is the horrors of the original picture were based on reality, while this narrative is only loosely connected to the new border policies introduced under the Trump administration and goes way beyond the government’s jurisdiction to achieve its goals.
The high-intensity action sequences are still present, but they don’t carry the same gravity; instead, they feel like shootouts for the sake of incorporating a gunfight. That’s not to say they’re not well done, but they lack tension. When their operation is burned, the only discussion that follows is related to covering their tracks, which leads to another forced aspect of the story. Moreover, the fate of one of the characters feels inconsistent and is then predictably contested.
Brolin and Del Toro resume their roles seamlessly, though Graver’s choice in sandals has somewhat improved since the last movie. But the cast does its job flawlessly — it’s the story that needed renovation.
Director: Stefano Sollima
Starring: Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin and Isabela Moner
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