Monday, June 27, 2022

Attack on Finland: Super Timely Nordic Action

Pretty soon, this attack on our Scandinavian friends could legally be an attack on us as well. That is because Finland has made an official bid to join NATO. As it presciently happens, preventing such a bid is part of the motivation behind the terrorist plot in Aku Louhimies’s Attack on Finland (a.k.a. Omerta 6/12), which opens this Friday in theaters and on VOD.

Finnish secret agent Max Tanner and Swedish agent Sylvia Madsen were working an op together that turned out very, very badly. However, Tanner still thinks they work well together. You know, really well. Therefore, he is happy to see Madsen coming to Finland as the “bodyguard” of Jean Morel, a French EU official attending their 12/6 Independence Day celebration. In reality, she is also investigating Morel for potential corruption and security breaches, but she will have to concentrate on the protective part of her assignment when Russian-backed terrorists take the entire presidential palace hostage.

While Madsen and Morel are held at gunpoint inside, Tanner serves as the official “negotiator” on the outside. Unfortunately, the FSB-controlled terrorists intend to demoralize the Finnish people, whether their demands are met or not. The Finnish security service can count on help from their Swedish and Estonian colleagues, but Madsen’s boss at the EU is not so reliable.

Based on Ikka Remes’ novel,
Attack on Finland could not possibly be more zeitgeisty. It is also a lot like the 24 series in that a lot of “unthinkable” national tragedies will actually happen. Perhaps most importantly, Louhimies and company show the action film can be a viable vehicle to address serious geopolitical and national security issues.

The action itself is well-staged and often pretty intense. Jasper Paakkonen looks like a credible action hero, but is on-screen charisma is somewhat limited. However, he and Nanna Blondell (playing Madsen) make an appealingly diverse potentially romantic couple. Viewers will want to see them get together. In general,
Attack lacks a forceful, plot-driving, audience-unifying villain, but Nika Savolainen makes an intriguing femme fatale as Anya, the shadowy Russian spymaster, who pops in and out to pull the bad guys’ strings.

The scope and spectacle of
Attack’s action sequences go well beyond the standard of typical VOD fare. It also has a lot to say about Russia and the EU, implying the value of potential NATO membership. Anyone who familiar with history should know Finland won one war against the USSR and essentially fought them to a stalemate in the rematch. Plus, according to Heritage Foundation, Finland ranks #9 on the economic freedom index, well ahead of the United States (at #25). NATO should tell Turkey to shut the heck up and welcome Finland in. This film also reflects their fighting spirit and commitment to ideals of democratic freedom. It is entertaining and ever so of the moment. Enthusiastically recommended, Attack on Finland opens Friday (7/1) in Los Angeles, at the Laemmle Town Center 5.