Sony’s Sicario (2015) was a dark and powerful action-drama that posed serious questions about unchecked power and corruption in our never-ending drug war along the US-Mexican border. Seen through the eyes of FBI and CIA agents working the front lines, Sicario explored the kinds of black ops and wetwork that our government would prefer to redact.
The film was a work of fiction, but it was filmed like a documentary. The procedural elements and military tactics were technically sound (I’m a former Soldier with some training and knowledge in this area). Though beautifully shot, this was an ugly, jarring movie where no one was safe — it was also difficult separating the good guys from the bad guys.
Sicario wasn’t quite a noir film, but the final body count suggested otherwise. A sequel is soon headed to theaters, which picks up right after the events of the first film.
Part of the reason for Sicario’s success was its incredible cast and crew — it’s the kind of film we’ll look back on 20 years from now and be shocked by the talent on display. This was Denis Villeneuve’s third directing gig and Taylor Sheridan’s first produced screenplay — both have gone on to successful careers. Emily Blunt, Jon Bernthal, Victor Garber, Josh Brolin, and Benicio Del Toro starred in the film, but were almost unrecognizable as they were deeply immersed in their roles.
The sequel, Sicario, Day of Soldado, cranks the stakes and the violence well-past eleven, which you can see in the new trailer. Only Sheridan, Brolin and Del Toro return in the sequel, which also adds veteran actors Catherine Keener and Matthew Modine to the cast.
The new story involves our government’s decision to designate Mexico’s drug cartels as terrorist organizations, which justifies the overt use of American military forces… and also unleashes sketchy clandestine CIA operations too. Brolin’s hard-charging CIA agent, Matt Graver, enlists his old ally to get the ball rolling, Del Toro’s ruthless attorney-turned-hitman, Alejandro Gillick.
In a twist, Gillick turns from killer to protector when a young girl witnesses a secret CIA op and is marked for death. This is a line Gillick won’t cross and places him directly into Graver’s crosshairs.
Sicario, Day of the Soldado looks tense and sharp and everything you’d want from a modern crime-action-drama. The first film was relatively low-budget and turned a modest profit, the follow-up looks bigger in every way, but somehow manages to tell a smaller, more personal story about a pair of warfighters who find themselves at odds in a zero-sum, life-and-death game.
Sicario, Day of the Soldado hits theaters on June 29, 2018.