A key part of the success of 2015’s Sicario was Emily Blunt’s role, which provided a moral balance to the hard-hitting story. Her character does not return in Sicario: Day of the Soldado; the main reason for this, according the director Stefano Sollima, was that they explicitly did not want this sequel to have a moral compass. Unfortunately, it turns out that is exactly what makes this movie nowhere near as interesting as its predecessor.
The background to Sicario’s story is the premise that the war on drugs cannot be won by playing by the rules. Or even that the war on drugs cannot be won at all, as it it has become a self-defeating prophecy: an endless war with drug lords pursuing ever more creative ways of going underground and at the same time embracing ever more violent ways to achieve their goals. Trying to get some kind of control back over this is not for the weak.