Sicario: Day of the Soldado 4K UHD Blu-ray Review

Critical Aversion

Day of the Soldado concerns itself with border crossings, human trafficking, and for brief moment, Muslim terrorists who detonate suicide vests inside of an American grocery store. It’s a bizarre, fearful introduction. This is not the same Sicario.

The world of Sicario remains cold. Day of the Soldado is angry, but in a different way than its predecessor. The corrupt morality of America’s drug war is secondary. Benicio Del Toro, this near mute figure who attacked and assaulted America’s perceived enemies, becomes an empathetic center in this sequel. Del Toro’s Alejandro becomes humanized, a grave error in following Sicario’s grisly dissection of politically motivated assassinations.

Politics remain. Day of the Soldado misfires there however. A young girl is kidnapped by Alejandro in order to incite a gang war, bouncing between borders as her family is tracked down. That’s a miss, wandering too-near to contemporary issues as the girl is sprayed by gunfire, desperate to return home. It’s raw, grossly timed and executed without subtly.

It’s a waste of talent and character build-up

Note that Emily Blunt is gone. She was Sicario’s witness, the eyes for an audience as she soaked up unconscionable, raw violence in a war few see. Now it’s Alejandro and Matt Graver (Josh Brolin), off the leash to excitedly conduct an underhanded war as commanded.

There’s more action, a behind-the-scenes assumption that more flipped cars somehow legitimizes this sequel. It doesn’t, instead winding around a messy, tangled story that never convincingly decides whether it’s defending or criticizing. Consider that a moral gray area around a small child, taken from her family, and used as a pawn, doesn’t exist.

As the identity falls and the closing moments leave on a sequel set-up, Sicario appears to be falling toward a ceaseless direct-to-video series, soon to star pro wrestlers rather than A-tier talent. Think action garbage like The Marine, where a sea of invisible follow-ups fall into a pile, unnoticed to everyone. Day of the Soldado deserves that level of attention, murky and indifferent to its own tone. It’s a waste of talent (with a breakout young start in Isabela Moner) and character build-up. Sicario, we hardly knew ye.

Video (4K UHD)

The first scenes of Day of the Soldado cast deep, dense black levels onto the frame. It’s masterfully done. Clean gradients and rich highlights add to visual nuance. The density of this disc’s black levels reach reference tier without any problems. It’s a showcase of shadows.

On the opposing side, the HDR pass helps with heavy contrast. Rich brightness elevates a 2K finish, giving astonishing life to exteriors and scenes in heated deserts. At times, it seems too much, leaving some halos behind around 45-minutes. That’s luckily a one-off anomaly.

While fidelity is stifled in comparison to the gorgeous 4K-sourced original, facial definition and clarity still stand out. Day of the Soldado offers textural weight, rich in clothing detail. All of the bullet proof vests provide opportunity.

Color timing varies wildly; it never settles down. Always in search of a new palette, Day of the Soldado moves from warmth to cool with nearly every scene change. Few primaries jump out, the tone taking a recessed look. Flesh tones likewise jump around.

Video (Blu-ray)

Surprisingly, the Blu-ray manages to hold together as a near equal. While there’s a visible drop in resolution (particularly in more complex aerial views), black levels stay stable. It’s a disc capable of resolving Day of the Soldado’s rich contrast.

While exhibiting a slight uptick in noise over the UHD, Sony’s disc is a winner. It’s textural, sharp, and clear.

Audio

On Blu-ray, the choice is DTS-HD 7.1. The UHD offers Atmos. Sony’s uncalled for tactics continue.

Either way, the mix is bold and rich. While lacking the best dynamics, explosions resonate in the low-end with a thick rumble. Gunfire in close kicks similarly, and helicopters panning the soundstage leave behind a jolt.

Seamless usage of the rears tracks vehicles as they pan and locks listeners into the gunfights. Directionality uses the full available width. Surrounds keep the ambiance high when on city streets, giving Day of the Soldado a constant stream of material.

Extras

Around 40-minutes of bonuses fill the disc, split into three featurettes. Nothing here is notable. In fact, some of the material repeats between these features, all of them generic and a cut above EPK.

Sicario: Day of the Soldado
  • Video (4K UHD)
  • Video (Blu-ray)
  • Audio
  • Extras
2

Movie

Sicario didn’t need a sequel, and Day of the Soldado doesn’t grasp or replicate the intricate criticism of the first film.

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4 (1 vote)

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