This is the land of wolves.
When the cartels start smuggling terrorists into the United States, federal agent Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) is once again called in to take some drastic measures. His idea this time is to get the cartels to fight each other, so he recruits his favorite hitman, Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro) to help kidnap the daughter, Isabel (Isabela Moner) of one of the cartel leaders.
There's no mention of our heroine of the last film Kate Macer, played by Emily Blunt. Not only are we missing her, but former director Denis Villeneuve, former DP Roger Deakins, and former composer, the late Jóhann Jóhannsson all sat this one out too. Because of that, it feels very derivative of Sicario because new director Stefano Sollima put some effort into trying to recreate everything exactly as it was.
Unfortunately just because you can do a decent Villeneuve impression doesn't mean the story is still strong enough to stand on its own two feet, and that's where Soldado fails the most. It starts off looking like some MAGA propaganda and then just becomes flat out boring. Something Sicario never was. Kate was the perfect avatar for the audience because she was layered. She was interesting, as was her friendship with Reggie (Daniel Kaluuya) and ultimately her interactions with Alejandro. Well he and Graver don't have the friendship Kate and Reggie have and Isabel isn't a worthy substitute for Kate in the scenes with him either. The film also never really establishes why Alejandro is so hellbent on protecting this child. Because she reminds him of his daughter? So did Kate. And he still did his job.
Like Sicario, it also has a side story. Only instead of working as a way to transition scenes, we follow Miguel (Elijah Rodriguez) a young boy getting caught up with the cartel and it just adds minutes to a film that's already dragging. It feels like a waste of time, then they actually have the balls to tease ANOTHER possible sequel with this kid involved.
When this sequel was announced, many said it would be okay because Taylor Sheridan is going to write it. I half jokingly said I'd sell out and write a crappy script for a bunch of money too, and that's essentially what he did. It's not bad, but it's dull. There is exactly one interesting thing that happens in this entire film, and it's a revelation about Alejandro's daughter. That's it.
We all knew it was going to have a hard time following its predecessor. But I never expected it to be so boring and uninspired.
Memorable Quote: "I could throw a stick across the river and hit fifty grieving fathers" - Cynthia (Catherine Keener)