Sicario: Day of the Soldado ★★½

What a weird movie, man. Don't go into Sicario: Day of the Soldado expecting the same kind of movie that Taylor Sheridan and Denis Villeneuve gave us a few years ago with the first one. The sequel drops any semblance of an impactful message about the rules of engagement and how a single idealistic law enforcement officer can't make a difference in a pool full of sharks. It's not as cohesive or well-directed, it focuses on action and traditional character archetypes and alignments, and it weirdly tries to toe this line where the villains of the first movie are suddenly supposed to be idealistic protagonists.

It seems as if Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro got their hands on whatever Taylor Sheridan came up with for a sequel and chose to make it their own, and this seems to be a case where they were too close to the characters they wound up shaping. Matt Graver and Alejandro Gillick aren't mustache-twirling bad guys, but they're also not what Day of the Soldado portrays them as either. This movie was definitely missing the Emily Blunt kind of character, and without her, Sicario becomes too much of an action movie and not enough of a modern western.

I hope that they can salvage this series with a third film. I don't think the sequel taints the first Sicario, nor do I think it's exactly bad, but it could have been so much more.