A grizzled Finnish dude discovers gold the same way Daniel Day-Lewis discovers oil and proceeds to serve milkshakes to Nazis—deadly, gruesome milkshakes—in the somewhat entertaining but uneven action-thriller Sisu.
Dialing in at a lean 90 minutes, Sisu still manages to stretch its runtime. But if you’re in the mood to see Nazis killed in glorious, over-the-top bloody acts of defiance, you could do worse. Much worse.
Star Jorma Tommila doesn’t have to say much but fits the part of an old dude who knows how to kill and kill in style—and who also gets the shit kicked out of him too. He stabs Nazi dudes in the heads, chucks landmines at them, and otherwise finds inventive way to mow those down who get in his way (he just wants to go to the fucking bank to cash in his gold, after all).
Writer/director Jalmari Helandar injects Sisu with plenty of style and grit; the movie looks great, painted in the browns and grays of war and splattered red like a macabre Jackson Pollock painting.
But the story is threadbare, the pacing inconsistent. Helandar struggles with momentum–the story almost feels episodic, with the protagonist clashing with his Nazi foes in short, violent bursts followed by less spectacular stretches. There is no sustained escalation to the action, or at the least the feeling that things are mounting to something greater than what came before.
Sisu is an action-thriller that is content with what it is, but given the premise at hand, I was expecting more Nazi-killing milkshakes.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.