Review: 'Nobody'

By: Heather Seebach

Bob Odenkirk has had a vice-hold on my heart since the days of Mr. Show but this prolific funny-man blew us all away with his dramatic turn as shady lawyer Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad and its spinoff, Better Call Saul. From there, Odenkirk became an in-demand supporting actor for Oscar bait such as The Post and Little Women. Not content to stop there, however, Odenkirk has now thrown his hat into the action realm as a full-fledged, John Wickian action hero in Ilya Naishuller's Nobody. The 58-year-old comedian-turned-thespian is not the obvious choice for a big-screen ass-kicker but the gamble pays off in this incredibly fun, over-the-top actioner. 

Hutch Mansell (Odenkirk) is a family man living a very mundane life. His job sucks; his marriage has lost its spark; his son resents him; and generally nobody respects him. That all changes when a home invasion drudges up the man he used to be - specifically, a dangerous government hitman. This leads to an unintentional entanglement with the Russian mob who put a target on our hero's head.

Nobody is Naishuller's sophomore feature following another over-the-top action romp, Hardcore Henry, which itself was a spiritual follow-up to the viral Biting Elbows music video "Bad Motherfucker." Gone now is the POV gimmick that defined those efforts but his propensity for insane violence has not diminished one bit. The bloody set pieces are gleefully and unflinchingly brutal with no shortage of dark humor. The bus sequence in particular is delightfully clever and satisfying.

This time Naishuller joined forces with John Wick scribe Derek Kolstad, who has essentially written the same retired-assasin-takes-on-Russian-mob story yet again; however, the introduction of Odenkirk as the unlikely badass brings freshness to an otherwise dull narrative. Nobody watches these movies and relates to Keanu Reeves but most of us can related to a middle-aged, down-trodden man who is pushed too far. Furthermore, Hutch may have a "particular set of skills" but he is still human. He gets his ass kicked - HARD - and it enhances the believability of the action sequences. We see an out-of-practice killer getting his mojo back in real-time.

That is not to say the film is without its share of silliness, which is most welcome. It is a nonstop barrage of blood, bullets, bodies, and broken bones. It has the best use of a claymore mine since...well, ever. Supporting actors RZA and Christopher Lloyd bring even more giddy fun to the mayhem. The gore and the stunts are fantastic, as well. Odenkirk insisted on doing his own stunts, inspired by Jackie Chan in Police Story. You can tell he worked hard to pull this off convincingly and he nailed it.

The emotional family element of the script does not exactly stick the landing but honestly, it does not need to. Mansell's wife and kids are essentially story fodder and - let's be honest - nobody is watching this movie to get their heartstrings pulled. 

Nobody was my first film in a movie theater in over a year thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was exactly what I needed and wanted: a balls-out good time full of carnage and humor. The quirkiness and the addition of Odenkirk place this one far ahead of any John Wick movie. See it in a theater if you are able - it's the perfect escape for anyone jonesing for some mindless violence. 

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