5/10 With an insane and overrated 94% on Rotten Opinions, “Sisu” ends up falling victim to style over substance and while I appreciated several aspects of the movie, “Sisu” doesn’t do enough to stand apart from similar, superior films while getting more and more ridiculous with each passing minute. As for what works with this Finnish movie, the hour and a half running time ensures that this is a brisk, quick watch that will entertain you from start to finish. In a clear case of “show, don’t tell”, writer/director Jalmari Helander does a solid job of substituting clunky exposition, too much backstory and an over-reliance on dialogue with simply showing how badass our main protagonist Aatami (AKA Sisu), played with gruff grit by Jorma Tommila, is. The script does a solid job of telling us just enough backstory about our main character without wasting time on too many flashbacks and keeping his dialogue to a minimum. The recreation of Lapland, Finland in 1944 is incredibly well done through the movie’s production design, costume design and visual effects, made all the more impressive by the movie’s roughly $6.6 million budget. The action and kills are grisly and violent, which is fun to watch for action movie fans, as Nazi after Nazi gets stabbed, shot, choked, blown up, hanged, etc. Unfortunately, there is just as many aspects that don’t work which can be broken down mainly into two essential flaws. The first flaw is that the movie’s influences weigh far too heavy on the movie, making it feel like a rip off in many respects, as opposed to an homage to other films. The two easiest examples to see would be the films of Quentin Tarantino and the “John Wick” franchise. Like a Tarantino action film, this movie is filled with completely over the top violence and even lets some women get in on the violence. Also ripped from Tarantino is the movie being split up into chapters, despite there being no benefit of doing so with the chapter run times widely differing in lengths. If you want to split a film into chapters, at least do what Tarantino does and make the chapters relatively the same length. You wouldn’t read a book where the opening chapter is two pages long followed by a second chapter that is 35 pages long. As for the “John Wick” influences, we get a badass protagonist with no family, just enough backstory to get by, a multitude of skills, seemingly unkillable and a canine companion as a side kick. The similarities are just too great to overlook and feel like a lazy copy but set in a different country and time period. The other major problem is how insanely over the top and ridiculous the movie gets the further along it progresses. You’ve got a man in his mid 60s and while yes, he is a badass, that doesn’t mean he can defy death every few minutes. This guy gets stabbed, shot, hanged, etc. and every time he is able to walk or run it off, heal quickly and keep up full strength and stamina. Forget about the fact that he would likely starve, die of thirst/dehydration, bleed out and/or succumb to infections from his multiple wounds as he sticks mud and dirt into the open gashes on his body, but the man never skips a beat. I didn’t realize you could be hanged for longer than you can hold your breath and then kind of wake up back into consciousness whenever you feel like it. The predictable finale/climax sees a plane crash that just had me throwing up my hands in frustration at how dumb everything was. The only thing missing was Aatami killing Japanese soldiers in Japan, behind enemy lines and being there when Japan got nuked but somehow coming out unscathed. When your protagonist is unkillable, you never feel like he is in any danger and it eliminates any and all stakes. While this aims to be a mindless, fun, bloody action flick, the stupidity of what the main character survives and copy/pasting from better films, takes away from half of the fun. A rental at best if you keep your expectations low, but don’t believe the hype or Rotten Opinions score on this mediocre offering.

#TheMileHeilClub / #MakeItToTheFinnishLine / #FineMining / #GoldilocksStockAndTwoSmokingBarrels / #HisGoldenYears / #TankYouForYourService

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