Sisu is Satisfying Action in a Tidy Package | Blu-Ray Review

Sisu is proof-positive that watching Nazi’s get their asses handed to themselves for 90 minutes makes for a fun time.

Despite loving the trailers, I missed out on Sisu when it hit theaters back in April. It’s limited release didn’t have any showings nearby. Thankfully, with the recent arrival of the blu-ray, I’m able to rectify this. Billed as a John Wick-esque action flick with a historical angle, Sisu promises much and largely delivers.

Directed By: Jalmari Helander
Written By: Jalmari Helander
Starring: Jorma Tommila, Aksel Hennie, Jack Doolan, Mimosa Willamo
Release Date: 07/11/2023
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The story of Sisu centers on Aatami in the latter days of World War II. The aging gold prospector, once a legendary Finnish commando, is looking to put the war behind him and life is life on his own terms. He stumbles upon a rich deposit while out in the Finnish Lapland and sees good fortune on the horizon…That is until he crosses paths with Nazis, pulling back as part of their “scorched Earth” retreat, on his way to cash in his discovery.

The German Death Squad, led by a brutal SS commander, is hellbent on taking Aatami’s gold, forcing the man to unleash the rage and deadly skills that earned him the nickname “Immortal.” What follows is roughly 90 minutes of Aatami brutally working his way through the Nazi soldiers as he endeavors to protect himself and take back what’s his.

It is a very straightforward story, and there really isn’t that much more to it. Sure, there’s some little bit dealing with women captives, and vaguely learning about Aatami’s background. For the most part, however, it’s laser focused on Aatami surviving, killing, and reclaiming the fortune which promises a more peaceful future for himself. It doesn’t get deeper than that, and frankly, it doesn’t need to.

The film knows exactly what it wants to do, and wastes no time getting there. The pace is blistering and keeps the action/tension high at just about all times. While I would say it’s not quite at the same breakneck level as the John Wick films, the action on display hits hard in other ways. There’s no shortage of “holy shit” sequences and jaw-dropping moments, and it keeps pulling you along until the finale.

The only real issue, however, is that’s about all it has going on. It doesn’t try to do much more than be a showcase for awesome moments. While it sprinkles in a bit of backstory and lore for Aatami, it’s done so casually as to feel irrelevant.

Sure, it offers a bit of reasoning for why he’s so badass, but it’s not needed. There’s attempts to tie that past into his rationale for doing what he’s doing now, but again…it’s not necessary. You could cut all that information out (especially the way it’s given) and not really affect the larger story or how you feel about it.

Don’t get me wrong, even light on story/character depth, the action feels satisfying and well earned. Much of this comes to how the sequences are shot and the general structure of the film. Combine that with some solid performances and villains you can’t help but hate, and you’ll be thoroughly entertained for an hour and a half.

Without those character/story hooks, however, it’s tough to see revisiting this one on the regular. It certainly has enough excitement to make me want to come back to it, and if I see it on, I definitely wouldn’t turn away from it. In it’s effort to provide maximum action, it loses some of the oomf needed to make it a more complete experience. Even so, watching Nazis get beat and blown-up in a variety of ways is always worthwhile.

You may have noticed I haven’t actually talked about the blu-ray elements so far (as I normally do). That’s because there’s really not a whole lot to discuss!

On the technical side of things, it’s solid. The visuals are crisp/sharp and the audio makes you feel every bullet whizzing by and every bone breaking. The bonus features are barebones, consisting of a pair of featurettes that are mostly “okay” and nothing too exciting.

As such, the decision to pick up Sisu on blu-ray really boils down to the film itself. Let’s be honest; these days, if you so much as think you’ll enjoy a film…go ahead and buy a physical copy. You don’t want to have an urge to watch something and discover you have no options to do so. There’s plenty of fun in Sisu to justify such a purchase.

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Jordan Maison
Editor-in-Chief: Writer and cartoonist who went to college for post-production, he now applies his love of drawing, movie analysis, filmmaking, video games, and martial arts into writing.