Sicario: Day of the Soldado

In Cinemas Now

No rules this time.

Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin and writer Taylor Sheridan return for the follow-up to the 2015 cartel crime thriller, this time joined by Catherine Keener. Stefano Sollima (Suburra) directs.

After discovering drug cartels smuggling terrorists across the US border, the CIA's Matt Graver (Brolin) and former undercover operative Alejandro (del Toro) are sent to eliminate the problem. Along the way, Alejandro revisits his old nemesis to settle scores.

Trailers

Directed by

Written by

Action, Crime, Thriller

122mins

Rating: MA15+ Strong violence

English and Spanish with English subtitles

Italy, USA

Denis Villeneuve’s tense-as-hell thriller was one of the nicest surprises of 2015, pitting newbie Fed Emily Blunt against the Mexican drug cartels like a kickass Clarice Starling. Neither Villeneuve, Blunt or sidekick Daniel Kaluuya return for Stefano Sollima’s solid sequel, but writer Taylor Sheridan, Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin are back, the three stealth stars of the original. 

Of course, Mexico is even more of a hot-button topic now, thanks to President F-ckface, Child-Catcher in Chief. So it seems especially incendiary that Brolin and Del Toro’s mission this time is a blacker-than-black ops kidnapping of a drug dealer’s daughter (Isabella Moner) from across the border. At one point Brolin’s jaded CIA agent calls the POTUS a coward who’s only worried about ratings. “He’s not worried about ratings,” says head honcho Catherine Keener, “he’s worried about being impeached.” Yeeouch.

Otherwise, it’s business as usual, as the film flits from Mexico to Kansas to Djibouti and back again, before settling down into a familiar mix of brooding brinkmanship, shouty interrogations and shooty ambushes – the pick of which are the kidnapping itself and an all-guns blazing desert assault.

Blessed with smart writing, strong central performances and a rich seam of nihilism, it’s far better than could have been expected. But without Blunt and Kaluuya’s (relative) innocents, there’s no contrast, no light to the darkness, and Sollima’s direction only ever entertains, where Villeneuve’s enthralled. It can’t beat the law of diminishing returns, but Soldado has an intelligence and ambition that’s all-too-rare in blockbuster season, let alone in a sequel. And if you think it’s far-fetched, just turn on the news.

Empire (UK)

press

Thrillingly paced, ravishingly shot and eerily topical, Sicario 2 retains much of its predecessor's dark charm despite its shuffled creative personnel. But a jarringly Hollywood ending dulls its overall impact.

Screen International

press

Like its violent antiheroes, "Sicario: Day of the Soldado" is ruthlessly efficient but also morally conflicted.

Variety (USA)

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"Soldado" may not be as masterful as Villeneuve's original, but it sets up a world of possibilities for elaborating on a complex conflict far too rich to be resolved in two hours' time.

Collider

press

In some ways, Day of the Soldado is darker than Sicario, but it's darkness without purpose.

Hollywood Reporter

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Sicario: Day of the Soldado emerges as a dynamic action drama in its own right.

Stuff.co.nz (Graeme Tuckett)

press

A good film in its genre, but it never transcends that genre in the way the original did.

FilmInk (Australia)

press

This latest trip down Mexico way is enjoyable and frustrating in equal measure.

Sydney Morning Herald

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Ultimately, the movie is softer than it looks: Sheridan's trick is to keep up a facade of nihilism for as long as possible before allowing sentiment to creep in.
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Amazing movie

a must watch