The SICARIO sequel, SOLDADO, is now probably a spin-off or something

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Have you watched Sicario yet? It’s one of the best movies of last year and a taut crime thriller that eats other shows and movies for breakfast with a gravel-filled maw. It’s edgy, complete with bodies in walls, dodgy law enforcement agents and some of the best scenes written for Benicio Del Toro in a long time.

But it’s also pretty stand-alone, so when news broke earlier this year that a sequel was in the works, a lot of people became confused. If you have seen Sicario, you know it’s a very unlikely experience for a follow-up. No, everyone doesn’t die. It just doesn’t make sense. Watching Sicario is like hearing a truly brilliant joke: it’s hard to follow on that and probably shouldn’t be attempted.

But the sequel’s creators assured all that things will be great: the cast and director are all back. Yet one element worried me: the sequel would focus more on Del Toro’s character. He was definitely fantastic, but part of that appeal was his murkiness.

Well, now the sequel – which may be called Soldado – is definitely investing in that angle, since Emily Blunt won’t be returning. She played the FBI agent caught in the turmoil of Del Toro and Josh Brolin’s fight against Mexican cartels, and frankly she made the movie. I know Del Toro was great, but it was to share the journey with Blunt’s character and view it through her perspective that made Sicario work. Without her character, I fear Soldado will be a more blunt force “look how cool agents are” affair.

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Denis Villeneuve, director of the first movie and very much a driving force behind its look and feel, is also not returning because he is directing the completely unnecessary Blade Runner sequel.

To be honest, this kills what little hope I held for a Sicario follow-up. I was already concerned, but Sicario was so good and unexpected that I’m not opposed to a sequel. Yet it feels as if Soldado will be more of a spin-off, showing us how bad-ass Del Toro and Brolin are. Maybe the production will surprise us, injecting another lead that will balance the moral ambiguity of those two characters, as Blunt did. I’m deeply disappointed that she won’t be returning.

So will Soldado be a worthy successor or hollow imitation? In the big scheme of things it doesn’t matter: it won’t ruin Sicario. I just hope its makers aren’t squandering this opportunity.

Last Updated: June 2, 2016

James

A total movie glutton, nothing is too bad or too obscure to watch, unless it's something like The Human Centipede. If you enjoyed that, there is something wrong with you. But bless you anyway - even video nasties need love...

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