NOW IN THEATERS! If you’ve seen the trailer for Jalmari Helander’s action movie, Sisu, you know exactly what you’re getting into. No surprises. Jorma Tommila stars as our deadly protagonist, Aatami. It’s the final days of World War II, and a Nazi platoon in Finland is ordered to return to the front. However, their cunning commander knows their days are numbered and plans to stay and settle in Finland. Meanwhile, the elderly Aatami is digging through his field and stumbles upon a serious vein of gold. Now that Aatami is rich, the only thing standing between him and his bank is the Nazis.
When Aatami passes by a small squad of soldiers, they stop him and discover his gold. They need money to start a new life in Finland, so they rob him. Little do the Nazis realize they have no chance of survival as Aatami is a former soldier and an insane killing machine. As he approaches their commander, he discovers the leader has kidnapped women from the village and uses them as recreation for his men. Naturally, Aatami does not like this.
Sisu is about as straightforward as you can get. Aatami needs to get to the bank; all he has to do is kill the Nazis he encounters along the way. What makes this story so exciting and engaging is the amount of gore and blood it takes to do it. Jorma Tommila is pretty kick a*s. Not sure how much this older gentleman did stunt-wise, but he’s a likable character. He looks like a gentle killer with the legend of Sisu following him around like a dark cloud.
“Aatami needs to get to the bank; all he has to do is kill the Nazis he encounters along the way.”
Think of this action flick as a symphony. It starts quietly. Our hero never says a word except at the end. He meets a small band of soldiers, and the action begins with a knife to the skull, as seen in the trailer. Before you know it, everyone’s dead, and as Aatami moves his way from one mini-boss to the next, the violence increases in gore, blood, and dismemberment. The violence is over-the-top cartoon violence, except in cartoons, a stick of dynamite means you’re going to get black ash covering your body. Here a stick of dynamite means everyone else is going to be bloody red, and your legs are the only thing still standing after the blast.
As stated before, there’s not much of a story. Aatami needs to get to the bank, and no one is stopping him. Other than that, the plot is thin. We get an inkling of the legend that Aatami has built over his life. Yes, he’s an honorable man when he saves the women. That’s all well and good, but we’re here for the action, and it’s worth the price of admission. Yes, we deserve a deeper plot with subtext, but why ruin a good thing?
In the end, Sisu is all about the violence and blood, and there are buckets of both. This is one of those action films where you can just sit back, unplug your brain, and hop on for one wild ride.
"…all about the violence and blood, and there are buckets of both."