Blank reload: The Sicario sequel is a shaky second act, says Rashid Irani

Day of the Soldado overreaches, under-delivers and just makes you want to watch the original again.

Updated: Jul 06, 2018 18:55:22

By Rashid Irani

Once again, US agents and Mexican cartels are facing off in a drug war. But the adrenaline high that Denis Villeneuve brought to his 2015 film is missing. Incoming director Stefano Sollima, a veteran of Italian TV crime dramas, strives in vain to hold it all together.
Direction: Stefano SollimaActors: Josh Brolin, Benicio Del ToroRating: 2.5 / 5

The drug war between US enforcement agents and Mexican cartels has gotten murkier. The narcotics mafia is now also smuggling jihadists across the border.

…Day of the Soldado, the sequel to Denis Villeneuve’s riveting, nail-biting Sicario (2015), is ambitious but overcomplicated.

Incoming director Stefano Sollima, a veteran of crime dramas on Italian television, strives in vain to hold it all together.

This time around, the hard-nosed CIA operative Matt Graver (Josh Brolin, reprising his role from the first film) has been granted carte blanche by the Secretary of Defense (old-timer Matthew Modine) and recruits his loose cannon former partner (Benicio Del Toro) to the task force.

Josh Brolin is back as the hard-nosed CIA operative; Benicio Del Toro returns as the loose cannon. But the plot is overcomplicated and the climax, illogical.

Devising a cockamamie scheme, they kidnap the teenage daughter (Isabela Moner) of a drug kingpin. Their hope of pinning the blame on a rival faction backfires.

To complicate matters further, the script introduces a vulnerable 14-year-old (Elijah Rodriquez) who wants to become a sicario (hitman) himself. There are political misdemeanours on both sides of the border, but they take a backseat to the thriller trappings. The action is relentless and brutal.

Incidentally, some of the film’s most striking scenes depict the almost wordless bond that develops between the abducted girl and her captor. On the other hand, a preposterous turn of events towards the climax tests the viewers’ patience and credulity.

Like most recent sequels, …Day of the Soldado just makes you want to watch the original again.

First Published: Jul 06, 2018 18:55:22


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