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5 reasons to catch "Sicario: Day Of The Soldado"

(L-R) Josh Brolin, Jeffrey Donovan and Benicio Del Toro in a scene from "Sicario: Day Of The Soldado".

Let's face it, Denis Villeneuve's masterful 2015 crime thriller "Sicario" was more of a one-off, and yet, it surprised a lot of people when the studio announced to follow up the first movie with an unlikely sequel.

With the exceptions of original lead star Emily Blunt and director Denis Villeneuve, most of the primary actors and behind-the-scenes crew are back for "Sicario 2" a.k.a. "Sicario: Day Of The Soldado".

Since the sequel is set to arrive in our local cinemas soon, here are the five reasons why you should definitely watch it too!

1. The return of Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin

(L-R) Josh Brolin, Jeffrey Donovan and Benicio Del Toro in a scene from "Sicario: Day Of The Soldado".

One of the greatest strengths of the first movie is the solid ensemble cast led by Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin. Those who have seen the 2015 original would agree with this writer that Del Toro's enigmatic performance as Alejandro, whose coldly calculated and steely demeanour is no doubt his best performance to date since winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in "Traffic" (2000). Brolin's laid-back portrayal as the leader of the special task force, Matt Graver is just as great in the first movie. In fact, 2018 seems to be a banner year for this 50-year-old American actor following a hot streak of acclaimed successes this summer alone as Thanos in "Avengers: Infinity War" and Cable in "Deadpool 2". With both of them reprising their memorable roles in this highly-anticipated sequel, it would be interesting to see the further development regarding their characters' respective arcs.

2. Taylor Sheridan is responsible for the sequel's screenplay

Benicio Del Toro and Isabela Moner.

By now, most die-hard movie fans would recognise Taylor Sheridan. Besides, he is one of the key figures that put "Sicario" together back in 2015. Along with his subsequent screenplay for David Mackenzie's "Hell Or High Water" the following year, Sheridan has since established himself as one of Hollywood's go-to screenwriters who knows well how to explore the gritty viewpoint of the modern American frontier. He made an impact again in last year's "Wind River" starring Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen, where he also made a promising directorial debut in addition to contributing his own screenplay. Although movies like "Sicario" doesn't exactly scream the need of a sequel, the fact that Sheridan remained onboard for the sequel's screenplay is just too difficult to write this off as an "unnecessary follow-up".

3. The sequel retains the gritty tone of the original

Director Stefano Sollima (right) on the set.

The word "gritty" is best described for the first movie and it's nice to see (at least in the trailers so far) that the sequel still continues the same path. Although original director Denis Villeneuve no longer is calling the shots this time around, replacement director Stefano Sollima seems promising enough. While Sollima is hardly a household name in Hollywood, the Italian director was already an acclaimed filmmaker back in his native country. In fact, he is no stranger to exploring the crime genre, having established himself with acclaimed series like "Romanzo Criminale - La Serie" and "Gomorrah" alongside his feature-length debut, "ACAB - All Cops Are Bastards".

 

4. Expect some memorable set pieces

Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro) leaves no prisoner in "Sicario: Day Of The Soldado".

Solid acting and writing aren't the only things that defined "Sicario" three years ago. Remember the brief, yet amazingly tense showdown in the US-Mexico border scene during broad daylight? Well, it seems that the sequel is going to promise viewers some solid action set pieces. If the action-packed trailer is as good as the actual movie itself, we are in for another memorable cinematic experience in "Sicario: Day Of The Soldado".

5. A great antitode to the effects-laden summer movies

Benicio Del Toro and Jeffrey Donovan.

Tired of watching superhero movies or other effects-laden summer blockbusters that dominated our local cinemas these past two months? "Sicario: Day Of The Soldado" may look like the kind of crime thriller best released in September or the last quarter of the year, but it is not. Despite the studio's bold, though risky decision to release the sequel in the midst of the crowded summer-movie season, it's nice to have a movie like "Sicario: Day Of The Soldado" as a refreshing change of pace, particularly for moviegoers looking an alternative.


Cinema Online, 24 June 2018