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Blu-ray Review: Sicario: Day of the Soldado

October 23, 2018

By John Corrado

★★½ (out of 4)

Picking up shortly after the events of the 2015 film Sicario, Sicario: Day of the Soldado focuses on a new crisis at the United States-Mexico border, when the drug cartels that control the area get into the business of smuggling terrorists into the country.

Looking to enforce border security following a terrorist attack, federal agent Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) enlists the help of Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro) to help escalate the war by kidnapping Isabel Reyes (Isabela Moner), the teenaged daughter of the drug kingpin who murdered his family in front of him.

This sets up an interesting moral dilemma at the centre of Sicario: Day of the Soldado, as an innocent life gets caught up in the conflict at the border, ultimately being used as collateral damage for a much larger political fight. But the film feels a bit disjointed at times, and it also doesn’t have the same intricacies or twists as the first one, adding up to a sequel that is fine enough in its own right, but also isn’t entirely needed in terms of the larger story.

While Taylor Sheridan returns to write the script, and Brolin and Del Toro do a good job reprising their roles, continuing to explore the shades of grey that their respective characters operate under, some of the main driving forces behind the first film’s success have been replaced. Emily Blunt, who’s character provided a sort of conduit for the audience in the first film, is completely left out here, and there is no one really to fill her role as an idealistic outsider getting caught up in the fight. Stefano Sollima takes over directing duties from Denis Villeneuve, who moved on to make Arrival and Blade Runner 2049, and he does a competent if not overly memorable job of helming the film.

Darius Wolski has equally big shoes to fill in the cinematography department, replacing the great Roger Deakins who received an Oscar nomination for his work on the first film. An accomplished director of photography in his own right, Wolski does a fine job shooting this sequel, with some interesting framing choices that do recall the eye of his predecessor. Finally, Icelandic musician Hildur Guðnadóttir, who performed as a cellist on the first film as well, takes over from the late Jóhann Jóhannsson to compose the moody score for the film.

While Sicario: Day of the Soldado is a tense and fairly entertaining action movie on its own terms, that is emboldened by good performances and features some well crafted sequences, the film is also bogged down by the fact that it is a sequel that nobody was really asking for. It’s a thoroughly decent movie, at least from a technical standpoint, but for a film with themes this timely in regards to what is happening at the US-Mexico border, it also doesn’t feel like an urgent must see.

The Blu-ray also includes the three featurettes From Film to Franchise: Continuing the Story, An Act of War: Making Sicario: Day of the Soldado, and The Assassin and the Soldier: The Cast and Characters.

Sicario: Day of the Soldado is a Columbia Pictures Home Entertainment release. It’s 122 minutes and rated 14A.

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