March 20th, 2021
STARRING: BOB ODENKIRK, CONNIE NIELSEN, CHRISTOPHER LLOYD
DIRECTED BY: ILYA NAISHULLER
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 3 ½ STARS (Out of 4)
Everything about Nobody is an example of the action movie stars aligning. It’s when the choices of casting, fight choreography, direction, and the overall experience hits the entertainment center of our brains. The concept alone, taking comedian turned Better Call Saul star Bob Odenkirk, and making him a middle-aged action hero will have audiences curious. And that curiosity is rewarded, as Nobody turns out to be everything I wanted it to be. It’s about a guy named Hutch Mansell (Odenkirk), who works at a local metal factory, owned by his brother and father-in-law. He loves his wife Becca (Connie Nielsen), a successful realtor in town, and his darling two children are the apples of his eye. Each day is more of the same. Wake up, make breakfast, go to work, forget to take out the garbage, go for a run, and do it all over the next day. It’s an uneventful, suburbanite, hum dum life, but what we soon find out is that Hutch has a side of him that’s lethal. He has a past life and he’s missing those days when he was able to use his specific set of skills. When the past Hutch comes back, things become violent, and fast. Nobody is in your face, a smash it up action movie, where the guy you least expect becomes the guy you better fear. This Nobody is somebody you don’t want to mess with.
What’s cool about Nobody is that it was directed by Hardcore Henry director Ilya Naishuller, someone who obviously has a creative streak, and desperately wants to make something new in the action movie genre. Although Nobody isn’t breaking the mold, we’ve already seen it done in movies such as Taken, The Equalizer, or John Wick, Naishuller still has a passion for the genre that radiates through the screen. In every moment of fighting, every choice of a song drop, and trusting his lead can pull it off in style is a win for Naishuller. The script from Derek Kolstad is lean and to the point. It starts when Hutch’s house is broken into by petty thieves, scratching an itch to return his fighting form. And Hutch goes looking for trouble, messing with some Russian mob toughs on a bus (by far the best scene in all of Nobody), and places him on a path to battle Russian mob leader Yulian (Aleksey Kuznetsov). Everything that follows the bus fistacuffs is ramped up, with Hutch revealing what he’s capable of from moment to moment. Broken bones, wild shootouts, and boobie trapped rooms.
One of the major appeals to Nobody is Odenkirk, who has taken the world by storm ever since he appeared as the slimy lawyer Saul Goodman on Breaking Bad. His work here is a cool mix of dark comedy, laid back mystery man, and untapped dad strength. One would think the initial surprise of Odenkirk kicking butt would wear off halfway through, but Nobody only steps up higher than before, with each thrilling action outburst. That all works because it’s not atypical for an actor trained in comedic arts to be able to spread his wings. And unlike the Taken’s or the John Wick’s, it works even more when the lead actor is the more unlikely of character actors. We could expect Liam Neeson to kick butt or Keanu Reeve’s to go back to his Matrix fighting roots. This is Odenkirk’s first venture into bloody battles, but something tells me this won’t be the last.
The other impressive part of Nobody is the production, which includes a solid arc, well set battle shootouts, quick paced fight choreography, and a supporting cast that will surprise and please audiences. Naishuller’s first choice of Odenkirk is a well calculated choice, but the presence of Christopher Lloyd as Hutch’s father is spectacular. It’s the wild, flying by the seat of your pants approach that makes Nobody work. The enjoyment comes from the unexpected, where every corner has a henchmen waiting around it, the fight sequences become one against twelve, and the thrills don’t stop.
Is Nobody a bit one note? That depends on who you’re asking. This isn’t a genre film for everyone. My only major complaint was that Naishuller uses one too many song drops, distracting us from the fight scene thrills. The highlight is the work by Odenkirk. His performance is delightfully, wildly out of left field, and a welcome new star for a John Wick style action series. It worked for Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry. It went off the deep end with Charles Bronson in Death Wish. Odenkirk might just be the perfect fit. Plus, I can honestly say that Nobody was some of the most fun I’ve had watching a movie since the pandemic started. The best kind of action comes from some Nobody. You don’t want to mess with Nobody.
NOBODY IS PLAYING IN THEATERS ONLY THIS FRIDAY MARCH 26TH
3 ½ STARS
Written by: Leo Brady