Sicario 2: Soldado

 

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The story continues but does not, as yet, end.

 
Sicario 2


 

It appears that when Sicario was made in 2015 it was already being thought of as the first part of a trilogy. However, it is only now that we get the second instalment, one that can stand alone and which does not demand knowledge of its predecessor. The writer, Taylor Sheridan, remains the same as does the situation against which the drama plays out - namely the manipulative approach of the CIA in combatting the Mexican cartels that bring drugs across the border into America. This time though we have Stefano Sollima as director and Dariusz Wolski as photographer and their contributions although workmanlike cannot match the special quality that Denis Villeneuve and Roger Deakins brought to the first film.

 

Also missing because her character no longer appears is Emily Blunt and thus we lose the figure who, increasingly caught up in events that take some time to become clear to her, provided both a sympathetic central presence and someone whose gradual understanding of what was going on helped the viewer to take a comparable path. This sequel retains the two other main characters, Benicio Del Toro's previously ambiguous Alejandro and Josh Brolin’s CIA representative Matt Graver, but adds a terrorist element which early on results in the film jumping around a whole range of locations that make for a rather uneasy jumble. Nevertheless, we soon gather that the CIA ploy involves the kidnapping of Isabel Reyes (Isabela Moner, able) the teenage daughter of a cartel boss. This is to be handled in such a way as to suggest that a rival group were responsible and thus to create a war between the two cartels. However, there is another main character to be introduced as well in the person of Miguel Hernandez (Elijah Rodriguez). He is a youth who, enticed into acting for one of the cartels, will eventually become a sicario, that is to say a hitman.

 

A loud and obvious music score drums up the impact of the action scenes rather portentously but, given the convoluted plot development, audiences will be fully occupied in keeping up. The result is serviceable although the film never matches the best scenes of its predecessor and in passing, the splendid Catherine Keener is thrown away in a worthless minor role. Sicario 2: Soldado will do, but it ends with a scene pointing to another work that will then complete the trilogy. With the stars now well established in their roles, we must hope that when it arrives it will be more memorable than this middle section.

 

MANSEL STIMPSON

 

Cast: Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Isabela Moner, Jeffrey Donovan, Elijah Rodriguez, Catherine Keener, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Matthew Modine, Shea Whigham, Howard Ferguson Jnr, Jacqueline Torres.

 

Dir Stefano Sollima, Pro Basil Iwanyk, Thad Luckinbill, Trent Luckinbill, Molly Smith and Edward L. McDonell, Screenplay Taylor Sheridan, Ph Dariusz Wolski, Pro Des Kevin Kavanaugh, Ed Matthew Numar, Music Hildus Gudnadóttir, Costumes Deborah Lynn Scott.

 

Black Label Media/Rai Cinema/Thunder Road Pictures-Lionsgate.
122 mins. USA/Italy. 2018. Rel: 29 June 2018. Cert. 15.