Sicario: Day of the Soldado ★★

“Sicario: Day of the Soldado” is a mean fucking movie. That’s sort of its thing. Much like the previous installment of this unlikely franchise, the film drapes itself in darkness so that it can focus our attention on any stray specks of light; one early shot, in which the white halo of a helicopter spotlight tracks a brown man as he sprints towards the Texas border during the dead of night, provides a convenient visual metaphor.

It’s also a hard movie, in the way that Josh Brolin’s jawline is hard, or that Hemingway is hard, or that trying to carve a coherent narrative out of the Escher-like power struggle of the Mexican Drug War is hard. Like “Sicario,” “Wind River,” and everything else that Taylor Sheridan has ever scripted, “Day of the Soldado” feels like it was written on a bender of whiskey and Viagra — even the female characters have big swinging dicks, because Sheridan only seems to know one way of expressing real strength.