What happens when you take John Wick, flip the genre to Western and set it at the end of the Second World War? You get Sisu - a lean, gritty and ridiculously violent action movie that gives audiences exactly what’s advertised.
Sisu follows a Finnish gold miner who’s struck the mother-load, and now has to traverse German occupied territory to get his gold to safety. He’s also in the business of killin’ Nazis, and business is boomin’. That’s really all there is to this movie, and it never once pretends to be anything more. The film is broken into a handful of short chapters, and even the chapter headings get right to the point. Just 91 minutes of a grizzled old man savagely cutting down German soldiers in wickedly gory ways.
The barren Finnish countryside is the backdrop for most of the bloodshed, and that big empty space smartly places all the focus on the action. The use of graphic practical effects means each and every kill hits hard, and there’s such creative variety in the ways those kills unfold. For a film that grounds itself with gritty visuals, there is some distracting CGI used in the final act. It doesn’t look bad, but it sticks out like a sore thumb compared to everything that comes before.
You’ll need to suspend pretty much all your disbelief in exchange for entertainment value. The enemy soldiers are constantly making dumb decisions that lead to their inevitable demise. Also, if you thought John Wick took an unrealistic amount of damage, you haven’t seen anything yet. The protagonist dishes out plenty of damage, but also withstands so much himself that it becomes almost comical. At the end of the day, it’s still wildly entertaining, which is ultimately what matters most.
You wanna watch a grizzled old bad-ass obliterating Nazis for 90 minutes? Sisu is the movie you’re looking for. It’s lean, mean and gratuitously violent in all the right ways. It doesn’t reinvent the action genre, but it sure as hell gives it quite a kick.
Review by: Benjamin Garrett
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