Out this week is the sequel/spin-off to the critically acclaimed Sicario, Sicario 2: Soldado. Returning once more are Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro to bring down the “bad guys”.
A new threat has emerged in the United States. Terrorists are using the Mexican Border as a means to enter their fair shores and with the country reeling from an attack the monstrous band of Matt Graver (Brolin) and Alejandro Gillick (Del Toro) are brought back together to deal with it and this time there are no rules.
When I say this you must understand this has never been truer. Most films will say – this time there are no rules but with Sicario 2: Soldado there is a genuine sense that s**t has truly hit the fan for the enemies of the red, white, and blue. Brolin is once again the shark among the fishes as Matt is introduced in a scene with a supposed collaborator of the terrorists. He explains that he need not torture this man for information because he has power on his side and he uses it to devastating effect.
He’s brought home to discuss what needs to be done to stop these terrorists and with his objective in mind, he lays out what could be done. Given an unlimited budget and a sign off to do whatever he wishes as long as he gets the job done he sets out to find Alejandro (Del Toro). Once they join up and discuss that Alejendaro can truly be unleashed in this mission they get to work. From there they light a fire that burns a lot of people.
So fun fact, I only saw Sicario the night before seeing Sicario 2: Soldado. I enjoyed Sicario but I didn’t find the slow pace appealing. Luckily the acting was incredible, the moments of action were intense and memorable and the third act was an astounding culmination of every story beat the film had laid down in the previous two acts. So going into Sicario 2: Soldado I had expectations but they weren’t too high unlike several of my peers.
After the first five minutes, I knew I had returned to the world Sicario had set up. New director Stefano Sollima has clearly taken notes from Denis Villeneuve and with Taylor Sheridan returning to the writer’s room, there is a sense of continuity.
Sheridan and Sollima have crafted a powerful story in Sicario 2: Soldado one that easily matches, and in my opinion succeeds, Sicario in cinematography, score, and most importantly all around quality.
Particular highlights include Brolin and Del Toro who are unshackled by the nuisances of morality from other characters. They have one or two discussions about the brutality they must bring down on the men who have scarred what they both hold dear. With Matt it’s America and with Alejandro, it’s the scar of his lost family that still haunts him. An excellent touch in Sicario 2: Saldado is that his story is further explored in a genuinely touching fashion.
Much like Sicario, there is also a second storyline that is interwoven throughout the story and like the first one, it impacts the events of the film. Much like the first film, this second storyline can take away from the main plot of the film but unlike the first film, the ramifications of this second storyline are far more deep in its impression on the characters. This adds further urgency when this element pops up and we’re taken away from Matt and Alejandro because as the film unfolds you begin to worry where this will end.
Adding this unease is a fantastic score which adds further dread to every shot of this film. It’s a true testament to the quality of this film when I was scanning every angle of a scene like the characters making sure nothing was going to blindside me. Even then however with masterful cinematography, it still happened and I was thoroughly impressed.
Sicario 2: Soldado is an evolved beast. Filled with the same intensity and brutality of the first film with staggering performances from Brolin and Del Toro. With a third chapter to the Sicario story coming I’m looking forward to where it goes.