Sisu: Rambo Meets Inglourious Basterds In An Instant Classic

Jorma Tommila as Aatami Korpi in SISU. ©Freezing Point Oy. Photo Credit: Antti Rastivo.

A Finnish deserter becomes a one-man fighting machine, much in the form of Rambo, as he takes on a company of Nazis in Sisu.

While World War II was the main war in Europe, there were a number of sub-wars that included Germany and Finland. It’s here where we find a Finish deserter and gold prospector, Aatami Korpi. He had previously served in the Winter War, also known as the First Soviet-Finnish War, a few years earlier. But back to what I was saying the war that’s happening when we meet him is the Lapland War. The two countries started fighting in September 1944, concluding two months later in November. Interestingly, they had previously fought together during the Continuation War (1941-44), also a sub-war–the Second Soviet-Finnish War–taking place against the Soviet Union during WWII. In short, I was today years old upon learning that the Finnish were allies to the Germans prior to the Lapland War.

Anyway, Korpi finally discovers gold and goes on his merry way in search of a bank. But again, there’s a war going on so it’s going to be a bumpy ride. That’s not a problem–he’s been known to kick ass. Not even a 30-man Wehrmacht platoon stands a chance against him. He’s a one-man fighting machine that previously took out many Soviet forces. What makes you think that the Nazis stand a chance?!? If there’s one thing I love too see, it’s Nazis getting their asses kicked over and over! They certainly get what’s coming to them for stealing Korpi’s gold.

In getting his revenge, he also rescues a number of women taken prisoner by the Nazis. It leads to one of those glorious shots in which they, too, get their revenge against the Nazis. One perfect shot, indeed.

Mimosa Willamo as Aino in SISU.
Mimosa Willamo as Aino in SISU. ©Freezing Point Oy. Photo Credit:
Antti Rastivo.

The film is very gory but I wouldn’t expect anything different in a war film. Some films might go out of their way to hide the goriest parts but Sisu does not. In any event, it runs a fast-paced 91 minutes with Nazis getting badly injured or killed in every which direction one looks. For what it’s worth, the film is completely fiction with no such event happening in real life. At least, not that we know of. Anyway, it gives filmmaker Jalmari Helander an opportunity to produce a film on location in Finland. Lapland makes for beautiful visuals but the environment can be terrible for filming conditions, what with the wind and cold temps and all.

While there is no direct translation for Sisu, the production notes describe it as “a white-knuckled form of
courage and unimaginable determination in the face of overwhelming odds.” To say that Korpi rises up when the odds are terribly against him would not be an understatement. On paper, he does not even stand a chance. It’s like David fighting Goliath–you’d bet on the big guy if you didn’t know better.

Sisu is the next great classic action film. We will remember April 28, 2023 for being the weekend that two instant classics opened up against each other. Unlike the other instant classic opening in theaters, Sisu is not a film for children.

CAST: Jorma Tommila, Aksel Hennie, Jack Doolan, Mimosa Willamo, and Onni Tommila

Lionsgate will release Sisu in theaters on April 28, 2023. Grade: 4/5

Please subscribe to Solzy at the Movies on Substack.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.