SISU Review – Thrilling, Riveting, Action Packed

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SISU, from Lionsgate, brings to the screen the story of one man's fight against all odds and his determination to retake what was stolen from him by a ruthless Nazi detachment leader at the end of WWII.

The film begins with voice over and a map of the final days of the Nazi attack on Europe. They had begun a scorched earth retreat campaign, leaving nothing standing, everyone and everything in their wake burned to the ground.

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One man, Aatami Korpi, played by Jorma Tommila, as we our told, a legendary commando of the Finnish military, who left the war for good. The toll was too great, after costing him his home, family, wife, he retreated to the countryside, a campsite in the middle of nowhere, somewhere near the Finland border. One day, as he was panning in very shallow waters near his campsite, he found a piece of gold, no bigger than a fingernail. But what the untrained eye saw as a sliver, the trained eye understood somewhere close to this river there was a deposit of gold.

He begins to dig, soon the hole is deeper than he is tall. The sounds of war are encroaching. He continues to dig until he finds a large gold deposit in the earth. Armed with his pickax he begins to break it into pieces. His days of solitude are over and now the journey begins.

He breaks down his camp and now with satchels of gold, he rides to find a bank. Along the road he comes across a regiment of Nazi's led by Obersturmführer Bruno, played by Aksel Hennie. As Korpi passes, they meet eyes. Neither speaks. The lone miner rides on. Under Obersturmführer Bruno's command, The Wolf, played by Jack Doolan, raises his gun to shoot him, and he is told, by Bruno he is riding to his death.

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When it looks like Korpi has passed the last of the Nazi's he encounters a smaller group. This group is more determined than the last and order him from his horse. Just as it looks like Korpi would become another victim of the Nazi war machine, he slaughters the group of five men.

The gun fire alerts Bruno's regiment of trouble, and they turn the tank around. Once Bruno's examines the bodies, one of the soldiers has a gold nugget in his hand and he realizes the old man was a miner with sacks of gold.

When the Nazis steal his gold, they quickly discover that they have just tangled with no ordinary miner.  And no matter what the Nazis throw at him, the one-man death squad will go to outrageous lengths to get his gold back – even if it means killing every last Nazi in his path.

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The action continues to increase throughout the film, as this legendary ex-commando becomes driven with white-knuckled courage and unimaginable determination in the face of overwhelming odds until it seems that he will pay the ultimate price for his determination. 

SISU, a bloody combat war movie, in the vein of Quentin Tarantino, pulls the audience in with limited dialogue and over the top action.

The actors deliver solid performances with very little, even sparse, dialogue, and still manage to engage the viewer, and tether them to the story, and the outcome, which is a real accomplishment.

Surprisingly, SISU is thrilling. A riveting and gripping journey. It is bloody, gory, and violent with strong audience appeal. SISU opens in theaters April 28, 2023. See it.

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Release Date:  April 28, 2023 (only in theaters).

Runtime:  91 minutes.

Writer: Jalmari Helander.

Director:  Jalmari Helander.

Executive Producers:  Mike Goodridge, Gregory Ouanhon, Antonio Salas.

Cast: Jorma Tommila, Aksel Hennie, Jack Doolan, Mimosa Willamo, Onni Tommila.

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