Monday 16 July 2018

Sicario: Day of the Soldado movie review: Shallow sequel is bloody and boring

2 stars

Dumbed-down: Benicio Del Toro in Sicario: Day of the Soldado
Dumbed-down: Benicio Del Toro in Sicario: Day of the Soldado

Paul Whitington

In the dumbed-down sequel to Taylor Sheridan's 2015 debut, the story is far-fetched, the dialogue is forced and phony, and the milieu of the film - set in the violent battleground between Mexican drug cartels and shadowy, rule-bending US government agents - is unrecognisable.

Sicario: Day of the Soldado centres on the enigmatic character of Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro) from the first movie, a lawyer-turned-sicario, or assassin, who is dead inside after his wife and daughter were killed by a drug lord. Here, he becomes part of a lunatic plot by the US government to disrupt a trans-border smuggling operation in which Mexican cartels appear to be trafficking in a new form of human cargo: Islamic terrorists, several of whom may or may not have been responsible for the suicide bombing in a Kansas supermarket that opens the film.

The story is bloody, needlessly busy and oddly boring, incorporating a subplot about a Mexican teenager (Elijah Rodriguez) who works as a mule for human traffickers. Despite the hot-button subject matter, there is no sense of currency, or even controversy, here.

The drama seems less personal or political than one calculated for shock value. One late, violent plot twist is so preposterous as to defy the level of credulity one normally reserves for a horror film. Day of the Soldado looks like a shallow imitation of the original, and feels like a film in the midst of a profound identity crisis.

Sicario: Day of the Soldado  (15A, 122mins) - 2 stars

Also releasing this week: Dublin Oldschool movie review: The party's over as play loses much of its magic on the big screen

Irish Independent

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