Directed by Stefano Sollima
Written by Taylor Sheridan
Starring: Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin, Catherine Keener, Matthew Modine, Elijah Rodriguez, Isabela Moner
Matt Graver (Brolin) is tasked with leading a new and dangerous fight against the drug cartels in Mexico. As part of his effort he reunites with Alejandro (Del Toro), a deadly mercenary who knows the battlefield. Soon, the pair begin to realize that there are no rules in the war they’ve started.
This film is the sequel to the 2015 hit film Sicario. Taylor Sheridan (Hell or High Water) came back to the franchise to write the screenplay for this one, and Stefano Sollima (Suburra) joined as director. Returning to the franchise were a number of talented people including Benicio Del Toro (21 Grams), Josh Brolin (Deadpool 2). The film also stars Matthew Modine (Jobs), Catherine Keener (Get Out), Elijah Rodriguez (The Book of Life), and Isabela Moner (The House That Jack Built).
This film is a sequel in name and faces, but brings the story to a new setting. Taylor Sheridan does a nice job getting the story moving quickly, with a number of well-written action sequences. The writing takes no time to remind the audience of the violent and brutal nature of the world of the film. From there the film dives into the underworld of global politics, narco-terrorism, and revenge. The story weaves several different subplots into the main arc, introducing a number of new characters along the way. The main characters have unique traits and motivations that gave the stars a lot to work with. Like the first film, the dialogue is sparse but effectively used. There are some moments when the dialogue gets a little predictable, but I wouldn’t say that it really hurts the film. The multiple arcs blend together nicely late in the movie, creating solid payoffs that are worth the wait. Perhaps the biggest issue with this story is the need to leave so many unanswered questions. It’s not the mystery, but the obvious angling for a sequel that stands out. Despite the small issues this one is a solid gritty crime drama.
The cast of this film did a nice job diving into the grimy world of the story. Benicio Del Toro leads this one with a fantastic performance that picks up right where he left off. His performance slowly begins to crack the hard shell of his somewhat mysterious character throughout the film. He also does a great job with all of the gritty moments and the action. Josh Brolin also does a nice job with his return to the franchise. Like Del Toro, he manages to give a little more depth to his character than he had in the first film.
He does a good job with a role that almost feels written for him. He also has great chemistry with the other stars. The film also features very good performances from Matthew Modine and Catherine Keener. Their performances add a layer of authenticity to the world of the film. The cast also features a number of new faces including Isabela Moner and Elijah Rodriguez. Both of these lesser known actors does great work. Their roles include some of the tougher moments of the story. Overall, the cast did a great job bringing this story to life. The performances bring out the genuine emotions that all of the characters need.
This movie features a lot of great action sequences that are wonderfully choreographed and filmed. At times this one gets very graphic, pushing the visuals to create discomfort and tension. The cinematography is generally solid, but it lacks the touch that Roger Deakins (No Country for Old Men) gave the first film. It isn’t that Dariusz Wolski (Prometheus) does bad work, he just doesn’t capture the visual tones with the success that Deakins did. The film also features a nice score, composed by Hildur Guðnadóttir (Jin). His work connects nicely with the music composed by the late Jóhann Jóhannsson (The Theory of Everything). The production work does a great job in helping to tell this story. It also has solid visual and audio connections to the first film. This one does move at a slow pace which might not work for everyone, but it’s a solid production overall.
This is a great followup to Sicario. The story and the performances feel perfectly connected without revisiting previous material. Fans of the first film should make sure to check this one out. I would also suggest this one to fans of the stars. This is a graphic and uncomfortable film at times, so it might not work for everyone. I give this one 4.4 out of 5 stars.