The Films of Stefano Sollima
Sicario: Day of the Soldado (July 4/18)
Right in line with its subpar predecessor, Sicario: Day of the Soldado follows Josh Brolin's Matt and Benicio Del Toro's Alejandro as they embark on a mission to pit Mexico's two top cartels against each other. There's little doubt that Sicario: Day of the Soldado holds a tremendous amount of promise in its early scenes, as filmmaker Stefano Sollima, working from Taylor Sheridan's screenplay, delivers a propulsive opening stretch that's packed with grim, gripping sequences - including a somewhat shocking terrorist event at an American supermarket. The movie's tense atmosphere persists right up until it enters its flabby and progressively tedious midsection, with the often momentum-free narrative exacerbated by a series of plot threads that couldn't possibly be less interesting (eg an ongoing emphasis on the dull exploits of a new-to-the-game cartel soldier). It's apparent that the decision to limit the scale of the story plays a key role in the picture's ultimate downfall, as well, while the somewhat anticlimactic final stretch, triggered by as absurd a coincidence as one can easily recall, ensures that Sicario: Day of the Soldado ends on a seriously underwhelming note. This series' continuing ineffectiveness is particularly disappointing given its vast assortment of overtly positive attributes (eg Brolin and Del Toro are as compelling as ever here), with Sicario: Day of the Soldado, generally speaking, unable to make the visceral (and timely) impact that Sollima and company are clearly striving for.