Sicario: Day Of The Soldado [2018] ★★★

It doesn’t have the masterful touch of Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve, but this sequel to 2015’s gripping “Sicario” is well-crafted, brilliantly acted yet again by Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro, and is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat. For starters, the mood of the first film is still very much alive. Except, there are “no rules this time”, which means the war against the drug cartel in Mexico is going to unleash hell on earth. Director Stefano Sollima, following in Villeneuve’s footsteps, stages every ambush and gun battle as if his life depends on it. But all of this wouldn’t mean a damn if the movie didn’t feature a group of talented actors to carry it through. Del Toro and Brolin need no introduction, and there are a few newcomers, notably 17-year-old Isabela Moner, who plays the cartel kingpin’s daughter and who steals every scene she appears in. This is “Day of the Soldado” in a nutshell. As someone who loved the first film so much, I was worried that a different director would drop the “stylish” approach that made the first one so successful. I was wrong. Sollima nails that, even if the story itself never reaches the greatness of the original. One thing’s for sure though: Del Toro will leave you shattered. All of “Sicario” is like this: gripping and just impossible to shake.

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