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Film Fanatic: ‘Sicario 2’ Details Revealed

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‘Sicario 2’ Writer Taylor Sheridan Shares Plot Details

When I think of sequel, drug cartel drama doesn’t come to mind. And yet shortly after Sicario was released in late 2015, a follow-up was announced focusing on Benicio Del Toro’s badass hit man character.

But such an idea left me both surprised and conflicted. Sicario was a modest success at the box office grossing nearly $85 million worldwide off of a budget of $30 million. It made money, but not nearly enough to justify a sequel.

The film itself is an engrossing thriller featuring fantastic performances from Del Toro, Josh Brolin and Emily Blunt. It’s also expertly crafted thanks to writer Taylor Sheridan, director Denis Villeneuve, cinematographer Roger Deakins and composer Johann Johannsson.

The idea of a sequel felt a bit unnecessary considering the film’s ending wrapped up Blunt’s storyline. Basing a sequel around Del Toro’s character is interesting, but I felt he was essentially Jaws in Sicario. He’s an ambiguous figure who shows flashes of violence and that’s what made him interesting. Any more backstory on his character might detract from Sicario.

Benicio Del Toro’s mysterious hit man character returns in ‘Soldado.’ | (Lionsgate)

But studio executives don’t come to me for advice so a follow-up entitled Soldado is arriving in 2018. Sheridan is returning to pen the script and while speaking with Collider at the Sundance Film Festival, he divulged a few details regarding the film:

“Look you can’t really do a sequel, but I sure would love to see what happened if these guys didn’t have a chaperone,” said Sheridan. “Because basically they’re operating within the United States, so I played with some actual laws that exist and found a way that they could operate more or less legally within the U.S. But they had a chaperone. What happens if they weren’t in the U.S. and they didn’t have a chaperone? How bad or good would that work out? You’ve seen Sicario, good isn’t going to factor into it too much.”

When he says chaperone, he’s referring to Blunt’s character. She basically prevented Del Toro and Brolin from completely doing whatever they wanted in the war on drugs. She was the the moral compass and our guide but what if that was completely stripped away? Utter chaos and that’s what Sheridan appears to be tackling with the sequel.

Maybe I’m completely off on this and Del Toro and Brolin’s characters will be more fleshed out making them more sympathetic when re-watching Sicario. But another reason for skepticism regarding Soldado is that Villeneuve and Deakins are not returning.

Sicario had a distinct look so removing them is a risky proposition. But Sheridan’s involvement gives me hope considering he wrote not only Sicario, but the excellent Hell or High Water and his new film Wind River which is receiving great reviews at Sundance.

Soldado is either going to be an insanely great follow-up to Sicario or completely unnecessary. We have an entire year to speculate.


Ben Affleck’s ‘Live by Night’ to Cost Warner Bros. $75 Million

Ben Affleck has seen a great resurgence to his career thanks to his work behind the camera. Between Gone Baby Gone, The Town and Argo, which one the Best Picture Oscar, Affleck has crafted three entertaining dramas that have all done well at the box office.

It’s because of this success that Affleck now stands with Clint Eastwood as Warner Bros. two signature directors meaning they can do pretty much whatever they want. But in the midst of his comeback, acting opportunities resurfaced including roles in Gone Girl and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

It’s because of these projects¬†that Affleck was forced to push back his next directing gig, Live by Night. But based on the response and returns of Live by Night, perhaps he should have scrapped the project all together.

According to Variety, Live by Night will cost Warner Bros. $75 million. The film was released in late December in hopes of garnering award consideration, but the reviews were less than favorable and the film has so far earned just $16.5 million globally. The film cost $65 million to make and that doesn’t factor in marketing.

Ben Affleck’s period drama failed to entice audiences. | (Warner Bros.)

Talky period films, particularly ones set during The Great Depression, don’t exactly print money, so the film’s only chance of turning a profit would have been in the States. But it failed to entice audiences thus resulting in the loss for Warner Bros.

Live by Night is adapted from a Dennis Lehane novel and centers on a Prohibition-era criminal who battles with the Ku Klux Klan and rival gangs as he struggles to corner the market on booze.

I found the film to be just okay. The set design, action sequences and cinematography were stelar. But the plot was dull resulting in the two hour film feeling more like three. It also didn’t help that Affleck’s character was the least interesting aspect to the entire film.

It was only a matter of time before Affleck would direct a dud. Eastwood has had plenty of them so I don’t think Affleck needs to worry. His clout at Warner Bros. is just fine. He plans to direct a standalone Batman film next so the odds of him bouncing back are good.

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