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Sisu is like if John Wick was set during WWII, with ten times the gore of Inglourious Basterds

Published Apr 30th, 2023 7:36PM EDT
Jorma Tommila as Aatami in the movie Sisu
Image: ©Freezing Point Oy, photographer Antti Rastivo

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Who knew a World War II film from Finland could out-Tarantino 2009’s Inglorious Basterds and turn one pretty basic idea — killing as many Nazis as possible over the course of 90 minutes — into deliriously entertaining cinematic gold? Here, dear reader, is all you need to know about the newly released film Sisu, from Finnish screenwriter and director Jalmari Helander: Some things, like watching a horde of Nazis die in all manner of gruesome, extremely bloody ways at the hands of a one-man, John Wick-like killing machine, never go out of style.

And by the way, ’tis the season for super-violent, kill-all-the-Nazis WWII movies. Less than a month from now, for example, Netflix is set to release Blood & Golda Tarantino-inspired feature film in which a German deserter, during the final days of the war, finds himself battling SS troops who are scrambling to find a hidden stash of gold. Sisu, meanwhile, has just debuted in theaters and is built around a protagonist who looks and behaves basically like Kratos from God of War, minus the blades of chaos.

“During the last desperate days of WWII,” explains the official Sisu summary, “a solitary prospector (Jorma Tommila) crosses paths with Nazis on a scorched-earth retreat in northern Finland. When the Nazis steal his gold, they quickly discover that they have just tangled with no ordinary miner.

“While there is no direct translation for the Finnish word “sisu”, this legendary ex-commando will embody what sisu means: A white-knuckled form of courage and unimaginable determination in the face of overwhelming odds.”

In terms of how Sisu has been received so far, this is another of those rare moments where critics and viewers are in pretty close alignment. Sisu currently has a 93% critics’ score and an 89% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, and I completely understand why. There’s a satisfaction to the violence throughout this movie, of a sort that feels missing from similar thrillers that end up spilling buckets of blood. I say, if a hero is going to toss a landmine directly onto the head of someone and blow them to smithereens, make it a Nazi, right?

Sisu movie sceneImage source: ©Freezing Point Oy, photographer Antti Rastivo

Overall, the movie is a no-frills, pulse-pounding shoot-’em-up that might turn some of your stomachs — the way limbs and blood splatter is constantly flying through the air — and which also isn’t afraid to be a little irreverant at times. Like when a German general advises, about Aatami: “He is one mean motherf***** that you do not want to mess with.”

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.