In the bizarro world in which Nobody dwells, Bob Odenkirk’s “every man” Hutch Mansell has a special set of skills that would turn Liam Neeson’s Taken dude green with envy. Odenkirk isn’t the first or, honestly, even the hundredth name to pop into anyone’s head at the mention of an action hero. Yet for some weird reason Nobody not only works, it’s right up there with the better action films of the past decade. Go figure.
We’re introduced to Hutch as he goes through his dreary daily routine. Breakfast, take out the trash, catch the metro, clock in, work, clock out, home, bed…rinse & repeat. It’s a grind but bearable because it pays the bills and because he could pretty much perform his job in his sleep. There’s also the added benefit of being able to spend the evenings with his family.
Life continues this way until two intruders enter their home while the Mansell family is asleep. With his wife (Connie Nielsen) and two kids (Gage Munroe, Paisley Cadorath) threatened and his home invaded, Hutch does what every normal parent would do – he prepares to protect his family from danger. However, it’s his teenage son who launches an attack. Hutch has the opportunity to injure the intruders but fails to act, and it appears at first glance that it’s because he chickened out.
But that’s not actually the case. In the first impressive bit of action heroism, Hutch takes on a handful of hooligans on board a stopped bus. If you’re like me, you’re going to assume this scene is a dream sequence in which Hutch channels his inner stud and goes John Wick on random baddies. The fact it’s really happening and is setting up even larger, more intense and over-the-top action sequences is mind-blowing, considering we’re discussing a film starring Bob Odenkirk.
And speaking of John Wick, if that blockbuster franchise doesn’t spring to mind within the first half an hour of Nobody, then you’re either not a Keanu Reeves fan or not into the action genre in general. If the latter’s the case, you’ve probably wandered into Nobody under the mistaken belief it’s something other than a balls-to-the-wall action-packed thriller. It’s not. In fact, plot-wise there’s not a lot going on. But in no way is the action less impressive than John Wick, Taken, or other recent films of the action ilk.
Bob Odenkirk’s surprisingly believable as Nobody’s lead. Better Call Saul fans are going to love seeing this side of Odenkirk, and Nobody’s a total blast because of – not despite – its lead actor. Plus, there’s the added bonus of Christopher Lloyd and RZA as Hutch’s father and brother, respectively, who join in the madness and mayhem.
After the first fight on a bus, Nobody’s nearly non-stop action is fantastically fun and a real not in the least bit mentally taxing joyride. Logic and psychics may not always be in play, but director Ilya Naishuller (Hardcore Henry) and screenwriter Derek Kolstad (the John Wick franchise) do a terrific job of continuously upping the ante over the film’s swiftly paced 92-minutes.
Nobody doesn’t squander any opportunities to insert a little dark humor among all the violence, which makes perfect sense given Bob Odenkirk as the film’s lead. Odenkirk’s such an unlikely but likable action hero that hopefully Nobody is just the first installment of a new must-see action franchise.
MPAA Rating: R for language throughout, brief drug use, bloody images, and strong violence
Running Time: 1 hr 32 minutes
Release Date: March 26, 2021
Studio: Universal Pictures