Movie of the Week: “Sicario: Day of the Soldado”

The sequel to the 2015 action thriller hit “Sicario,” this movie reaches many of the same exciting action notes as it did in the first installment. Directed by Stefano Sollima, “Sicario: Day of the Soldado” is a second ride with the revenge seeking black operative Alejandro Gillick that many action fans are sure to love. Following the brutal events of the first “Sicario,” the movie wastes no time in exploring the dangerous world of the cartel drug and human trafficking business. Warning: Spoilers ahead.

The film begins with a suicide bombing bombing in Kansas City killing multiple people. A special operations unit lead by Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) is then deployed to arrest smugglers suspected of trafficking the suicide bombers into the U.S. through Mexico. With the U.S. government now regarding this a terrorist issue, the president of the U.S. deploys Graver to lead a large scale effort to combat the Mexican cartels. Once again employing Alejandro Gillick (del Toro), they decide the best way to combat them is to start a war between the cartels.

After kidnapping the daughter of a cartel leader posed as a rival cartel, Graver and Gillick’s unit are turned on by there Mexican police escort which forces them to kill 25 police officers. The girl runs into the desert amidst the gunfire with Gillick alone following. The operation is then terminated due to the political backlash and Graver is ordered to erase any U.S. involvement by killing Gillick and the girl. Determined to keep the girl alive most likely due to the fact she reminds him of his daughter, Gillick pits himself against both U.S. forces and the cartels.

While the plot of the movie isn’t quite as tight or action packed as its predecessor, the acting, tone, and level of dialogue remain relatively the same. Benicio del Toro is once again a sight to behold in his role as Alejandro Gillick. While in the first movie he was roughly a one dimensional character focused on pure revenge, in this we get to see far more complexity to him. At the end of the first film Gillick has no qualms about killing the wife and kids of the cartel leader that butchered his family. But in this movie Gillick goes above and beyond in protecting the daughter of a man who is also directly responsible for killing his family. It is perhaps a subtle way of showing his character growth throughout the franchise as he simply is not as bloodthirsty as he had previously been. Masterful in showing the growth and complexity of the character, del Toro carries the film to the finish line despite its simple plot.

Though “Sicario: Day of the Soldado” is not the greatest sequel ever made, it is regardless a good movie as it’s setting is explored more deeply along with its characters. The best part of the film, Benicio del Toro, remains the main reason to watch the movie. He is consistently superb in his portrayal of the scarred black operative that may still have his humanity. Him along with the action throughout the film definitely makes this a recommended watch.

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