Sicario 2: Soldado was a film for which I didn’t even know was planned, until the first teaser came out, so I was certainly looking forward to this, as the first movie was great.
Plus, given the weather, I was tempted to ask the cinema to turn off the air-conditioning, so it would actually FEEL like we’re spending two hours in the Mexican desert… but I’ve got more to say about them and I’ll come to that later.
Right off the bat, I’ll put the question to bed of whether Emily Blunt returns in this: No. Her story was all done and dusted in the first film, so this one brings both male leads back to take things forward: Government agent Matt Graver (Josh Brolin, who seems to have been in every other film I’ve gone to see, lately), and his contact, Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro), who’ll do any dirty job that needs doing. He’s like Dirty Harry, when Harry goes *completely* off the books!
The two of them are brilliant in separate scenes, but even better together, such as one exchange:
- Matt: “You’re gonna help us start a war.”
Alejandro: “Who with?”
The plan this time is to get to Carlos Reyes, the kingpin who saw to it that Alejandro’s family became brown bread. In fact, as Matt tells him, this latest job has no rules whatsoever, so the way to get things done is to kidnap Reyes’ daughter, Isabel, played by Isabela Moner, who impressed early on in Transformers: The Last Knight as the plucky young teenager who made a big deal about taking on the bad robots – even demolishing one, onscreen – before quickly sitting back and letting everyone else do the hard work… but then those films were never rich in plot.
Her story begins when she starts a fight at school because she (obviously) hasn’t had a happy home life, growing up with Carlos Reyes as a father, but she also knows she’s untouchable because of who her Dad is. However, that’s a brief lead-in to where she enters the plot, which leads to a slow pot-boiler, and both Brolin and Benicio have the gravitas to carry it off.
The people traffickers, who get men, women and children across the Mexican border into the US, are recruiting young lads to do the job, which sometimes involves even more dangerous – and life-threatening – tasks. Plus, there are scenes of terrorism which show the unflinching and uncompromising situations that can come about.
Oh, and as for the title, Soldado translates to ‘Soldier’, but note that some countries have this listed as Sicario 2: Day Of The Soldado, as it was here for a while, so why it changed to shorten it a bit, I don’t know.
As an aside, at one point, Brolin grins a little like Jack Nicholson in his hey day, which made me wonder what he’d be like in the role of a biopic of that actor, although I’d still much prefer Christian Slater to take that role if it happened. How I wish I’d seen Slater’s turn in the stage play version of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Back then, London West End plays were not getting shown on cinema screens, but had they done so, I’d have been there like a shot.
For another aside, in the last Transformers movie, Isabela Moner played a character called Izabella. Here, in Sicario 2, she’s Isabel. What next for a subsequent movie? Izzy?? Nah, I jest. She actually holds her own very well as she’s thrust into the situation, amongst everything that’s going on.
That said, she is taking the lead in a movie version of Dora The Explorer, where she takes the leads as Isabella… I mean, Dora.
At this point, I won’t say any more about what takes place in this film as a whole. You’d have the initial premise, and if that doesn’t grab you, nothing will. And with a number of genuine shocks and surprises, I ended up enjoying this even more than the first one!
Roll on Sicario 3!
Basically, if you enjoyed Sicario, just go and see it. If you missed that film, watch it first, and then get this!
The film is presented in the original theatrical ratio of 2.35:1 and in 1080p high definition, and there’s no issues with the picture whatsoever. It looks stunning as you’d expect for a modern movie since it was shot digitally, and it gets across the harshness of the mostly-desert locations.
The audio is in Dolby HD-MA 5.1, and you’ll be well-catered for with gunshots and explosions, as well as general atmosphere.
The extras are as follows:
- From Film To Franchise: Continuing The Story (8:26): A brief self-explanatory puff piece mixing chat from the cast and crew with clips from the film. There’s nothing you don’t expect and it’s nothing revelatory, but it’s certainly a welcome watch.
- An Act of War: Making Sicario 2: Soldado (15:34): This is a ‘making of’, but in the same style as the first piece.
- The Assassin and the Soldier: The Cast and Characters (14:04): Again, self-explanatory, this is more of the same style, but similarly just as welcome.
- Audio description: Does exactly what it says on the tin.
The menu features a piece of the theme set against clips from the film. Subtitles are in English only and there are a bog-standard 12 chapters.
In addition, you can buy the CD soundtrack.
Running time: 122 minutes
Released: October 29th 2018
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS HD-MA 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH
Format: 2.39:1 (ARRIRAW (3.4K))
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Stefano Sollima
Producers: Basil Iwanyk, Thad Luckinbill, Trent Luckinbill, Edward L McDonnell and Molly Smith
Screenplay: Taylor Sheridan
Music: Hildur Guðnadóttir
Alejandro: Benicio Del Toro
Matt Graver: Josh Brolin
Isabel Reyes: Isabela Moner
Steve Forsing: Jeffrey Donovan
Cynthia Foards: Catherine Keener
Gallo: Manuel Garcia-Rulfo
Secretary of Defence James Riley: Matthew Modine
Andy Wheeldon: Shea Whigham
Miguel Hernandez: Elijah Rodriguez
Troy: Howard Ferguson Jr
Hcector: David Castañeda
Blandina: Jacqueline Torres
Rafael: Raoul Max Trujillo
Angel: Bruno Bichir
Shawn: Jake Picking
José: Tenzin Marco-Taylor
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.