Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 400-Word Review: Sicario: Day of the Soldado

The unexpected sequel has its merits, but it may not be worth subjecting yourself to it.

© 2017 CTMG, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

There’s got to be a good reason to put people through this movie right now.

“Sicario: Day of the Soldado” concerns border tensions, human trafficking, acts of terrorism on U.S. soil, the international drug trade and cartel violence. In the current political moment, it is an equal-opportunity offender, taking positions that will enrage those on the ideological right and the left. It is nasty, brutish and thorough.

In short: It’s not worth it.

The original film, “Sicario,” was worth it. Under the direction of Denis Villeneuve (then just beginning his ascent), the 2015 drama posed questions about Machiavellian realities in an increasingly uncontrollable world. Emily Blunt anchored a perfect cast that included great turns from Josh Brolin, Benicio del Toro and Daniel Kaluuya. It was shocking, yes, but it had plenty to say.

Three years later, Blunt and Kaluuya are gone. More importantly, though, so is the commentary; where the first film was philosophical, this one is nihilistic.

After a suicide bombing in Kansas City, the section of the U.S. government concerned with slightly extra-legal, visually dramatic secret operations determines that the Mexican cartels were involved in getting the terrorists across the border. The inelegantly explained solution: Start a war between the cartels to keep them busy.

Matt Graver (Brolin), a man who once explains his level of security clearance by saying “I’m special,” is enlisted to start the southern squabble, which he plans on achieving by kidnapping the teenage daughter (Isabela Moner) of one cartel capo and pinning it on the other side. With the help of his mysterious buddy Alejandro (del Toro), he gets it done — but things get considerably more complicated from there.

The performances, once again, are quite good; Catherine Keener and Matthew Modine pop up in supporting roles. Italian director Stefano Sollima, stepping in for Villeneuve, keeps the tension high, even as the pace lags. And there’s a sort of watchability to “Day of the Soldado” thanks to the inherent drama of a secret mission — if you can avoid letting the omnipresent references to the real world drag you out of it.

But Taylor Sheridan’s script feels half-formed, with no big thoughts and a lack of a point of view. That’s a serious enough flaw to make “Day of the Soldado” an ultimately middling effort.

And it’s not worth being reminded of a dozen pressing global plagues by a middling effort.


My Rating: 6/10

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

Stop Using Uber and Lyft, Renting a Bike is Better

You'll save money and have an easier time hopping between neighborhoods on a Healthy Ride bicycle.

America’s “Gratest” Celebration of Cheese is Coming to Pittsburgh

Sample cheese of every rind during the American Cheese Society’s annual Festival of Cheese.

The 400-Word Review: Skyscraper

If you want "Die Hard" with half the brains but three times the building, the new Dwayne Johnson flick will do a passing job.

A Pop-Up Bar in Pittsburgh that Serves a Sober Alternative

Empath provides the vibe and social space of a bar, as well as stepped up beverage service ... without the alcohol.

Watch: 12 Questions with WTAE's Sally Wiggin

The WTAE anchor was voted Best Journalist by readers of Pittsburgh Magazine. She answers 12 random questions ranging from her most memorable vacation to who should portray her in a movie.

Tax Credit Brought Mister Rogers Flick to Pittsburgh

The granting of the credit means the majority, if not most of the movie starring Tom Hanks, will indeed be shot in the Pittsburgh area.

Compelling World Cup Worth a Periodic Embrace

The competition is as fierce as the fans are passionate and both can be appreciated without a firm grasp of the details.

Jeff Goldblum Day is Causing a Stir in the ’Burgh

Local venues will be celebrating the native actor Friday with Goldblum-themed merchandise and events.

Willow Restaurant in the North Hills Lands a New Chef

Aaron Allen comes to Willow by way of 2-star Daniel in New York City. Plus, Greta Harmon joins the staff of the Ohio Township hideaway as the restaurant's new bar manager.

Pittsburgh Developer Offers Location for Riverfront Swings

A developer in the South Side may fulfill KDKA anchor Ken Rice’s wish for shaded benches along the city’s riverfronts.

Head to the North Hills for Two Blooming Garden Tours

The Wexford Garden and Pond Tour and the Southern Butler County Garden Club tour both take place this weekend.

I Do, Now Let’s Have Some BBQ

A five-course meal doesn’t fit with every wedding. These laid-back couples opted for casual — and delicious — cuisine perfect for their outdoor and barn receptions.

Expert Opinions on How HQ2 Could Change Pittsburgh

From jobs to housing to technology, six areas which would be impacted if Amazon chose Pittsburgh for its HQ2.

The 400-Word Review: The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter

The Netflix exclusive Josh Brolin flick is pleasant enough, but light on laughs.

The 400-Word Review: The First Purge

The prequel to the horror series has plenty to say. It's just no good at saying it.