Sequels typically strive to go bigger and badder than the original. This sequel is no exception. This issue with attempting to up the ante is that it often causes sequels to lose sight of what made the original special. Again, this sequel is no exception.
For some reason that I still don't understand, 'Sicario: Day of the Soldado' opens with coverage of Somali pirates, Mexican-United States border crossings, and graphic scenes of ISIS suicide bombers that will leave you unsettled for an uncomfortably long time. Government agents presume that all these terrorist efforts are connected. They're not.
The film's inclusion of these scenes doesn't add layers to the complexity of anti-terrorist or anti-drug efforts (it's unclear if that was ever the intention). Instead, the scenes only serve to offer some of the BANG BANG moments that sequels seeming to require.
There's an emptiness, a pointlessness to the violence-that should be the point of the film. "The war on drugs" is a war without an opponent, and the U.S. is fighting an unwinnable fight. The violence only begets greater violence, one immoral acts leads to dozen more like it, and everyone becomes dirty in the end. This film has no heroes.
I wish that's what this movie was about, but it misses the point. It lacks the perspective and awareness of the first 'Sicario' film. The action in this film is well shot and exciting, same as the first film, but all subtle yet crucial details that made the first film excellent are wrong in this one.
The acting saves the movie from failure. Josh Brolin is excellent once again as the smirking tough guy government agent, and Benicio Del Toro is award-worthy as Alejandro, the sicario. Though he has taken frustrating character development leaps since the first film, Del Toro is nonetheless commanding, angry and tactful. Mercifully, he also provides a few drops of humanity into a movie in desperate need of some. Most actors lack the versatility to successfully transition between all these emotions. But this is Benicio Del Toro.
If you're a huge fan of Del Toro, Brolin or this genre of film, consider seeing it in the theater. Otherwise, wait until you can watch it at home.