After the drug cartels on the U.S-Mexico border begin trafficking terrorists, the CIA gives agent Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) permission to use extreme measures to infiltrate those trafficking terrorist bombers in the action-thriller "Sicario: Day of the Soldado."
After receiving permission to kidnap the daughter of a cartel leader, Graves teams up with Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro), who has a vendetta to settle with the cartels. All of this occurs while a young teenager becomes involved in the trafficking process, which leads to connecting timelines and unfortunate circumstances.
Del Toro is the notable actor here. He gives a layered performance as the struggling assassin who attempts to keep the kidnapped girl safe by getting her across the border into the United States. Brolin gives a great performance as well. Apparently, 2018 is the year for Brolin -- he appeared on the big screen as villains in both "Deadpool 2" and "Avengers: Infinity War."
He has the range to give comic-book fans, as well as fans of the thriller genre, something to enjoy.
"Day of the Soldado" is the sequel to the original "Sicario," which hit theaters in 2015. The original film dealt with similar issues but focused mainly on drug trafficking. The new sequel has plenty of the same cast members, the two leads in particular. Del Toro and Brolin both starred in the film's predecessor, but the original film starred Emily Blunt as the lead, an actress that "Day of the Soldado" greatly needed. She was one of the reasons for the success of "Sicario," and her absence in the sequel leaves a bigger hole than needed.
The original film was also directed by Denis Villeneuve, one of the most talented directors working today. His artistry shined through that film, but that isn't to say "Day of the Soldado" doesn't come close. This film is well-directed and even stays on the same path of the first film by keeping the musical composition and cinematography as similar as possible.
"Sicario: Day of the Soldado" is written by Taylor Sheridan, who wrote the original screenplay as well. He is also known for constructing the screenplays for "Wind River" and "Hell or High Water." Sheridan clearly has the talents for writing successful crime-thrillers, and that same talent shows in his latest movie.
While comparing sequels to their predecessors is important, it's also important to show how unique sequels can be on their own. "Sicario: Day of the Soldado" works perfectly fine as a crime-thriller, even if you disconnect it from the first movie. It continues a storyline, but it isn't necessarily important to have seen Villeneuve's film first. That said, on its own, the film is very intense and thrilling, all while keeping an incredibly dark tone throughout.
Given its genre, it successfully does what it's supposed to do: entertain. It may not be as though-provoking or uniquely directed as the original, but "Sicario: Day of the Soldado" is still a thrilling film that stands out from many others like it.
Best Scene: The border-crossing attempt
Best Character: Alejandro