Alejandro returns to assist in the kidnapping of a cartel don's
young daughter, with the hopes of sparking a cartel war in Mexico.
Sicario: Day of the Soldado (2018)
Directed by Stefano Sollima
Written by Taylor Sheridan
Starring Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Isabela Moner,
Jeffrey Donovan, Elijah Rodriguez, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo,
Matthew Modine, Catherine Keener
Sequel to 2015's Sicario
The first Sicario was such a surprise because it felt like we were watching a real government op taking place. The story was tighter, the characters were realistic, and the action never felt over the top. Its sequel suffers from all of these unfortunate afflictions, mostly I think because the filmmakers were hoping that bigger meant better. While Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin still turned in great performances, Day of the Soldado is a bit of a muddled mess of several different story threads that never quite pay off.
When Agent Matt Graver (Brolin) is recruited to spark a war between two Mexican cartels, he brings in his operative Alejandro (Del Toro) to lead the mission. For starters, they have to kidnap Isabel Reyes (Isabela Moner), the young daughter of Cartel don Carlos Reyes (who is never introduced). The problem is that the plan never makes any sense, and seems to be the result of a bunch of terrorism buzz words that made it onto the page. The kidnapping goes wrong and Alejandro is left in the Mexican desert to find the girl. During all this, a young man is being groomed as a coyote, but that thread doesn't pick up until the third act and really serves to give us a seriously anticlimactic ending.
The story is the biggest issue with this film. It's never clear which plot thread we're meant to truly focus on, and the convergence seems awfully forced and unrealistic. On top of that, the end features a one year time jump tease that almost tarnishes the rep of the first movie. Sicario was an original blockbuster amidst a time of remakes, reboots, and superhero movies. Now, the franchise has fallen prey to Hollywood and has become a nonsensical Rambo/Breaking Bad hybrid that doesn't even bother to give us a proper ending.