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Review: Sisu – Better than so-so

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

If you mixed the “All Gold Canyon” story from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs with First Blood, The Northman and Inglourious Basterds, or if they allowed Indiana Jones to violently annihilate a couple of squads of Nazi’s in one of his movies, then you’d probably have something resembling the new Finnish film, Sisu.

Written and directed by Jalmari Helander and set during the end of WWII, an old man (Jorma Tommila) with a mysterious background finds a fortune in gold, but before he can get it to the bank it’s stolen by a band of nefarious Nazis.

The Germans soon find out that they’ve messed with the wrong miner as he “goes medieval” on them all. He also frees a group of kidnapped Finnish girls who take up arms to help him, but he does pretty well just on his own.

In Finnish, “sisu” means “a white-knuckled form of courage and unimaginable determination in the face of overwhelming odds.” In cinematic terms, it’s nearly non-stop action and gruesome Nazi exterminations. It is overwhelmingly bloody and violent, but mostly in a fun comic-booky way.  

At 90-minutes, this fast-paced flick has very little dialogue and it is over before you know it. I think it might have been better without the awkward dialogue it does contain, but maybe it’s just lost in translation.

As is, Sisu is better than so-so, but I also would have loved to see the hero go into a classic old-timey miner jig at the end of the movie. Now THAT would have made it perfect!

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About the author

Bob Leeper

Bob Leeper is the co-owner and manager of "Arizona’s Pop Culture and Alternative Art Network," Evermore Nevermore. He is the co-creator of the pop culture events Steampunk Street and ENCREDICON, and is a member of the Phoenix Film Critics Society. He also curates the Facebook fan site The Arizona Cave – AZ Fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and is one of the few brave and bold fans of Jar Jar Binks.