Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario didn’t exactly come burdened with franchise potential, even if it was a hugely acclaimed and relentlessly atmospheric crime thriller that performed well with critics and audiences before going on to enjoy some awards season glory.
Led by a magnetic trio of performances from leads Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benicio del Toro, Villeneuve’s stylish direction and Taylor Sheridan’s taut scripting resulted in almost $85 million at the box office on a $35 million budget, three Academy Award nominations and widespread praise for its unflinching action sequences and weighty thematic subtext.
Blunt never showed any interest in returning to the world of Sicario, but Brolin and del Toro were more than game, with Stefano Sollima stepping in to replace Villeneuve behind the camera for Day of the Soldado. It’s not a patch on the original and delivers much in the way of sameness, but that was more than enough to appeal to those who enjoyed the first outing for the two grizzled actors as CIA operatives Matt Graver and Alejandro Gillick.
The critical and commercial performance was a little lesser than Sicario, but not by much, although that was to be expected when it was retreading much of the same ground, right down to Sollima replicating Villeneuve’s aesthetic to a tee. Like many mid-budget action thrillers before it, Sicario: Day of the Soldado has now experienced a new surge of popularity on Netflix, having jumped over 20 places on the most-watched films list to rank as the number eight title among subscribers around the world today. It’s certainly worth checking out if you’re a fan of the genre, even if it can’t hit the same heights as the original.