John Wick meets Home Alone in the unashamedly over the top Nobody
Bob Odenkirk stars as Hutch Mansell, a downtrodden average Joe working a boring office job with the same routine week in week out. Ignored by his wife and kids and mocked by his co-workers and in-laws, his life is passing him by. When Hutch chooses not to fight a pair of burglars who break into his house and lets them get away, his loved one’s opinions of him take a further nosedive and unlock a seriously violent streak that has long lain dormant. Whilst out for revenge Hutch soon finds himself tied up with some serious criminals and the following 90 minutes are a non-stop action assault.
Nobody is based on an idea of Bob Odenkirk’s own. After being the victim of a burglary, he fantasised about how he would have handled the situation had he been ”a total badass.” After roping in John Wick writer Derek Kolstad and Hardcore Henry director Ilya Naishuller that fantasy of becoming an action star was brought to life.
Nobody is certainly not original and comparisons to John Wick are extremely easy to draw with similarities between the two films glaringly obvious. Like Wick, Hutch is a quiet man driven to breaking point by an unprovoked attack and also like Wick we quickly learn that there’s a secretive back story to explain his skill at extreme violence – though it’s nowhere near as irresistible as the shadowy world of the Continental. The central conflict arises when our hero gets himself mixed up with the family member of a sadistic, shiny suited Russian gangster (this time Russian actor Aleksey Serebryakov) and whilst he might have a bus pass rather than a muscle car, Hutch’s prowess as a killer is equally fearsome.
Whilst the violence is extremely impressive, Nobody fails to ever appear quite as ”cool” as it’s much-loved predecessor, it’s aesthetically pretty uninteresting and suffers from absolutely terrible dialogue at times. Or perhaps the lack of cool factor is simply that Hutch just talks too damn much – those iconic scenes of Russian bad guys talking fearfully about John Wick are here replaced by Hutch telling stories himself whilst threatening to fuck people up – it’s somehow just nowhere near as intimidating.
What saves this film is that it knows exactly what it is and leans into it with a wink and a nudge. A tight 90 minutes that is nearly non-stop action, Nobody never outstays it’s welcome and will keep audiences glued. The fight choreography is fantastically bloody, featuring an awful lot of head smashing and fancy knife work that’ll make you wince. Big set pieces play out under gloriously silly jukebox hits including Pat Benatar, Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World and most strangely – You’ll Never Walk Alone.
The final big action set piece alone is worth sitting through the rest of the film, and thankfully the film makers throw out any attempt at serious plot or world building in the name of balls to the wall violence. Hutch and his family hole themselves up in a booby trap laden building and fight off dozens of bad guys whilst gleefully spouting 80s-esque silly one liners. It’s like Home Alone but if Kevin McCallister lived in scary metalworks shop and was like, super in to murder.
I’ve rather shamefully never seen Breaking Bad nor Better Call Saul so I’m not exactly on the Bob Odenkirk bandwagon, but he does a decent job here bringing a believable physicality to the role alongside a sprinkling of sardonic humour. Frankly it’s just nice to see a new face in action movies – there’s only so many times I can watch Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson or Liam Neeson rehash the same films again. If more ‘unlikely’ actors want to have a go at being a badass then I’m all for it.
Nobody is nothing special. It’s unlikely to become your favourite film. But what it does it does well, and if you’re a fan of old school silly action movies then look no further, this is the popcorn flick for you.
Nobody is out in cinemas and online now