Moderator / Reviewer
- Apr 4, 2017
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- Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
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- 2x Marty subs (full size with SI 18's)
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- Sony 85 inch X950H FALD TV
Sicario: Day of the Soldado
Sicario was the 2016 film that simply blew me away. It was the perfect mixture of Harrison Ford Jack Ryan material with a darker, more modern, sensibility to the war on drugs that made it a tour de force to watch. To put it simply, what made Sicario so amazing was a mixture of delicate direction from Dennis Villeneuve, and the way everything was portrayed in different shades of gray, through the perspective of a female cop who dealt in black and white. It guess you could almost call it a “coming of age” story for an adult who is forced into coming to grips with the complexity that is black ops and the U.S.’s war on drugs. Benicio Del Toro as the “Sicario” (roughly translated to Hitman in Spanish) was the standout character in the film, and while the movie did not NEED a sequel in any way, shape, or form, it was announced shortly after the movie’s success that we WOULD be seeing a sequel. Two years later, we have the end results (both films written by Taylor Sheridan, who penned Hell or High Water and Wind River), which is a mixture of really good, and a slight let down from Villeneuve’s masterful directing of the first film.
We’re reintroduced to Matt Graver (Josh Brolin), the ice team lead of a black ops group of U.S. military forces, once again thrown back into the thick of things. Instead of the duplicitous world of drug dealing, it’s a matter of national security. Islamic terrorists are coming across the weak border of Mexico and blowing up New Jersey shopping centers, forcing the Secretary of Defense (Matthew Modine) to send Matt and his commando unit to Mexico to stop the flow. Their method of chaos causing this time was to kidnap the daughter of the Reyes cartel named Isabela (Isabela Moner) and make it LOOK like it’s one of the rival cartels, thus starting a cartel war that will destabilize the region and close off the coyotes and their mules without showing a U.S. presence.
Naturally that requires a Mexican national to act a the “face” of the kidnapping, and Matt brings in his asset, Alejando the sicario (Benicio Del Toro). The mission itself is a rousing success, with Isabela captured and moved to the United States (Texas to be exact) and Matt Graver’s squad impersonating DEA in order to “deliver” her back to her father and make it seem like a rival cartel had captured her in the first place. The only thing is, these things RARELY go as planned and during the transportation back on the final leg, the group is betrayed and attacked by their own escorts. In the conflict Isabela vanishes into the desert, leaving Matt and his team forced to retreat back to United States soil, with only Alejandro able to go track her down before she spoils the whole plan.
The action is off the charts here, with more than even Sicario, with some really great set pieces. The opening scene is vicious and visceral, but it’s the double cross on their way BACK to the Reyes cartel that really brings down the house. The movie movies quickly from one action piece to another, but still is given enough time to fully flesh out Alejandro a bit more. A move which is both a benefit and a detriment to the character and film. I say this because we get some great insight into who his character is now, but it loses some of the mystique and terror that framed him in the 2016 film. He’s less a man of mystery and terror, and more a powerful (yet sympathetic) anti-hero who is more akin to some of Clint Eastwood’s western characters than he was in the first movie. Not to leave out some other goodies, Josh Brolin is awesome as the conflicted Matt Graver, and Jeffrey Donovan proves once again why he was such a fantastic choice for Burn Notice. Overall, this is a solid war movie meets western, and while I WILL say it is a step down from Sicario, the film is it’s own thing and a solid sequel. It’s just very difficult to replicate that once in a lifetime experience that was the 2016 predecessor.
Rated R for strong violence, bloody images, and language
4K Video: Video:
• "An Act of War: Making Sicario: Day of the Soldado"
• "The Assassin and the Soldier: The Cast & Characters"
Day of the Soldado is a fun flick that takes the fun and excitement of a military movie and combines it with the silliness and superman machismo of classic Clint Eastwood films with gusto. The movie dances just on the edge of that silliness as Alejandro seems to possess almost superhuman survival skills, as well as sheer fun and excitement of commandos shooting it out with scummy drug dealers. The film isn’t AS perfect as 2016’s Sicario, but it is a solid movie that has enough twists and turns to keep it interesting, and has the added benefit of having Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin in rare form. Sony’s 4K UHD is a fantastic looking disc , and sports a rip roaring Atmos track as well. Extras are a bit lean, but the movie itself combined with the audio/video scores more than make up for that caveat. Recommended as a very good watch.
Starring: Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Matthew Modine, Isabela Moner, Jeffrey Donovan, Catherine Keener
Directed by: Stefano Solima
Written by: Taylor Sheridan
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 HEVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Core), English, French DVS, Spanish DTS-HD MA 5.1, French (Quebec) DD 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
Runtime: 122 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: October 2nd, 2018
Recommendation: Good watch