Sicario: Day of the Soldado (NC16)
Starring Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin
Directed by Stefano Sollima
When the US government suspects Mexican drug cartels are in cahoots with Isis operatives (a harrowing, hard-to-watch suicide bombing sequence in the opening 10 minutes will leave you shell-shocked), they send CIA agent Matt Graver (Josh Brolin, having one helluva summer with Avengers: Infinity War and Deadpool 2) to deal with the problem.
Graver enlists his go-to sicario (or “hitman”) Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro, quiet and hypnotic) for the job. Their plan: cross the US-Mexico border and start a war among the cartels, creating a (hopefully) drawn-out internal strife that will keep them distracted and disunited, and the rest will take care of itself. But — guess what? — it doesn’t.
Sicario: Day of the Soldado is the follow-up to 2015’s terrific Sicario, which starred Emily Blunt as a wet-behind-the-ears FBI agent who finds out how the war on drugs is fought. Pity her character isn’t in the sequel because it can really use someone sympathetic to root for.
Then again, she has no reason to be here: we don’t need her to remind us again the shifting and shady allegiances and bendable rules of engagement — just give us the action straight up. As such, Day of the Soldado doesn’t really disappoint; it’s tense and brutal (Hildur Guðnadóttir’s ominous score does a great job winding you up), but isn’t as gripping as the original. If anything, you pay good money to watch Del Toro as a badass cartel exterminator. (***)
Photo: Golden Village