Sicario: Day of the Soldado Felt like a Bad Heist Movie Where Nobody Was Allowed to Crack a Smile (Review)

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This week I saw Sicario: Day of the Soldado.  Boy, am I ever the wrong person to review this.  I just don’t get it at all. I don’t even know how to talk about it.  I got the feeling that this film was really good but I just couldn’t see how.  Whatever the message was, whatever the appeal, it passed me by. This has happened to me before and I’ve come back to a film in 20 years and seen its genius.  Maybe that will be what I do with Sicario: Day of the Soldado. Or it could be a swing and a miss, I couldn’t tell you. If you were a fan of the first movie, maybe skip this review, I’m not going to have much add.

 

The drug war on the U.S.-Mexico border has escalated as the cartels have begun trafficking terrorists across the US border. To fight the war, federal agent Matt Graver re-teams with the mercurial Alejandro.


It’s really hard to watch this film outside of the lens of current events.  I couldn’t help myself, I kept thinking: “What would Trump think, watching this?”   Sicario: Day of the Soldado definitely did not have a president making America great again. And it features two of the most terrifying things the US has ever faced:  Muslims and Mexicans, working together.  If there had been Marxists, we would have had the American Xenophobic Trifecta;  we can hope for that in the next film.  Maybe this will be what makes Mexico finally pay for that big wall.

I think my problem with Sicario: Day of the Soldado was that it didn’t seem to have a protagonist.  It had a bunch of people who were involved in some scenes together. Call me old fashioned but I’m a fan of the story being about someone (or a few people) being changed by the events of a story.  Here, everyone was the same at the end as they were in the beginning except except one guy who got a bit more badass. I got the sense that people were not evolving, they were just pawns playing out a game set in motion by their respective governments and other organizations.  Also I couldn’t really empathize with any of the characters, but again I feel that might have been deliberate. There was absolutely a Black and Grey Morality here.

The acting was good though.  I liked Benicio Del Toro. And I really liked Josh Brolin, though there was no fan service.  That was super disappointing – Josh Brolin is jacked now, coming off his Thanos and Cable roles.  The least they could do is show him off a bit like they did in the first Sicario.  Elijah Rodriguez was really good in this, convincing as both an innocent getting swept up in events and also a newly minted cartel man.  

So is Sicario: Day of the Soldado worth watching?  Honestly I don’t know, possibly not. It’s dark and gritty and Absolutely Serious.  The first Sicario gave us a look into US conflict with Mexican Drug Cartels where a person (or team of people, I forget) wind deeper and deeper into a strange and corrupt world.  Sicario: Day of the Soldado felt more like a heist gone bad. One thing I found interesting was how much surveillance they had on absolutely everyone. The US folks were never lacking in information.  I personally came away with this having learned nothing, not even to be a little more badass.

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