29 June 2018 | adrian-43767
Not as good as the original SICARIO, but very good all the same
I found the original SICARIO (US 2015, directed by Dennis Villeneuve) one of the best films I have ever watched, one of the rare films made in this millennium that I would put on a par with the classics.
SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADO is, like most sequels, not as good, but it has some merits nonetheless. The acting by the two leads, Del Toro and Brolin, is first class, although this time Matt Graver (Brolin) comes across as more brawn and less of the subtle and even sardonic brain that he was in the first film. I missed an adult woman in a central role. Teenager Isabela Moner does her part well, but in a world of death, drugs and general depravity, a woman of Emily Blunt's presence would have helped.
I also liked Matthew Modine, who I had not seen on the screen for some time. He plays a ruthless but stylish and authoritative secretary of state.
Sollima appears to be a promising director, but he is not yet at Villeneuve's level, and a number of weaknesses become apparent during the movie, not least because the screenplay is not as tight and credible this time. For instance, the movie opens with an Islamic State member committing suicide, and I thought, wow, here is an interesting connection: Islam radicals and cartels. Alas, after a brief interrogation scene with Brolin sounding menacing and fulfilling his threats, the Islam element disappears from the movie and we are back in Mexico and cartel territory... and, to me, the movie steadily loses quality and gains predictability thereafter.
The action scenes are very good, though I found Del Toro's survival surreal in every respect. Cinematography excellent. Again, screenplay is the weak link, with an open ending that inevitably opens the door to SICARIO 3.
The first film suggested the darker workings of state in its war against threats posed by drug cartels. SOLDADO also suggests it in the interrogation scene and in the way that state sees human life as expendable, but it is less subtly presented.
10/10 to the original, 8/10 to this one.