Sicario: Day of the Soldado is an action pic that benefits from the Trump bump because its federal agents vs Mexican drug cartels plot (which ironically involves using illegals aliens as a cover) hits an on the nose topicality. Reflecting our POTUS, it is a highly political, amoral, profane, bellicose– and ultimately violent wet dream.
Soldado was written by Taylor Sheridan, who wrote the first Sicario, as well as the Oscar nominated revisionist Western Hell and High Water and the similarly themed Wind River.Soldado ditches the ambiguities and moral quandaries of the first for black and white characterization that grounds its violence squarely in the Western tradition. Add some fancy costumes and blank verse and Soldado could easily be an Elizabethan revenge tragedy.
Stefano Sollima, an Italian crime drama tv veteran (Gomorrah), directs with a sure hand for the violence and minimal characterizations. His cinematography has a high sheen that delineates the action set pieces. Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin, gruff veterans, use to playing anti-heroes, knowingly play the right notes.
Soldado is not superior to Sicario. It is just a welcome complement.