After the amazing direction and writing of the original film, it was clear that a sequel would never come close to matching the tense atmosphere and the detailed characters that populated the realistic world of Sicario. However, I did not think that this could have been so… Average. And in so many ways.
Ditching most of the tension of the original film, each action scene is simply that: action. No suspense. No surprises. In fact, this movie is incredibly predictable, treating the audience as if they are stupid. The amount of times I thought ‘of COURSE that happened’ were numerous. And I am not one who tries to guess twists. Ever.
Another unsurprising aspect of the film was the ending, causing me to involuntarily yell ‘oh buuullllshit!’ as the credits began to roll.
Why? Let us just say that there will probably be a third entry, perhaps turning an incredible film, one of the best of 2015, into a goddamned franchise. As if we needed another one.
The plot begins on an interesting note, but doesn’t go anywhere meaningful and is left incomplete considering what is hinted at during the first act, as if the writer took the easy way out instead of following up on what that first act suggested, which was legitimately interesting. A pity that most of that didn’t come to fruition.
Compared to the last three films he wrote, this is a very disappointing entry from Taylor Sheridan. It feels confused, opening with terrorist attacks and an interrogation of one kept alive, only to abandon the idea of terrorists crossing the border completely, rendering the opening of the film near useless and almost entirely unrelated to the rest of the film.
One aspect of the writing that did make its way to this sequel were the characters Josh Brolin and Benecio Del Toro play. Matt Graver’s (Brolin) character returns with the same, take-no-prisoners, dirty approach to this line work, and his incredibly dark sense of humour was preserved perfectly. Alejandro (Del Toro) unfortunately loses some of the sense of mystery that surrounded him; this obviously can be attributed to the fact that this is a sequel, but the writing is also a problem. We learn a little too much about him. Perhaps this is a good thing, but the mystery that surrounded him in the original was one of the principle reasons for him being great in the original.
The acting by both though, and everyone involved, is pitch perfect. This is certainly a polished film.
The direction though is somewhat average, but this again is when compared to the first film, as Dennis Villeneuve created some amazing set-pieces. It must be said that there are a few sequences that are well executed, but as said, there is no tension. No white-knuckle moments are to be found here. It isn’t really that thrilling. It’s just another bloody action film.
The soundtrack borrows heavily from the original film, which makes sense considering Jóhann Jóhannsson passed away earlier this year. The film is dedicated to him, and I somehow missed that one of my favourite composers had passed away, and we are lucky to be left with so many incredible scores that he created. This realisation that he had passed though was more surprising than anything in the film, which can’t be a good thing.
Despite the notable drop in quality, the film does establish some interesting points. Even though it was, again, obvious he would say it, Matt comments early that today the most valuable commodity coming across the border is people. The brutal nature of coyotes and the attitudes of all involved is also explored. Questions are raised about the tactics used by the US in these scenarios, including the technology they have at their disposal. Much like the original then, this is unbiased. The main question seems to be: how far is too far when it comes to dealing with problems like this?
This is worth half a sixer. Perhaps four out of six if you forget the original, but that is a hard thing to do when two characters reprise their roles.
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