Friday, 16 April 2021

Nobody (Movie Review)

In the wake of the recent success of the John Wick movies, several filmmakers have tried to replicate its formula, by stuffing their films with gritty, over-the-top action scenes and totally badass antiheroes. I am talking about movies like Atomic Blonde, a film that was itself directed by David Leitch, one half of the directorial team behind the first John Wick movie. But none of those films have come close to successfully replicating that formula until now.

In Nobody, Bob Odenkirk plays Hutch Mansell, a family man that seems to be having a midlife crisis. He is caught between a stale marriage and an unfulfilling job, and the unchanging daily routines holding all of it together. After their house gets broken into one night, and Hutch fails to deal with the intruders, he appears to hit an all-time low.

But Hutch soon decides to take matters into his own hands, and following a chance encounter with a group of Russian thugs one night, he is forced to unleash a part of himself that has been long dormant. Now Hutch must do everything he can to protect his family from the fallout, as he once again finds himself navigating the criminal underworld he had once turned his back on.

Nobody has Derek Kolstad's fingerprints all over it, from its grizzled protagonist to the over-the-top action that takes up much of its runtime. The John Wick screenwriter certainly has a flair for such stories, and it was on full display here. But it is actually the film's director (Ilya Naishuller) who's DNA was most at play. Much like Hardcore Henry, the movie plays out like a video game brought to life. 

There were disposable bad guys everywhere, who seemed to spawn one minute only to get dispatched with minimal effort the next. None of that is a dinge on the quality of the action by the way, which was generally topnotch and quite visceral, just a commentary on the type of logic one should expect in the film. Put simply, this is another one of those leave-your-brain-at-the-door action flicks.

But what actually helps to elevate Nobody beyond the designation of yet another John Wick clone was Bob Odenkirk's performance. The actor imbued the character of Hutch with enough heart and soul to make him instantly likeable. It was also nice to see him able to take on an action role like this one, even if it is in an action film that borders on the very edge of full-blown comedy.

The comparisons with John Wick are of course ultimately inevitable. Both movies center upon a former hitman who is being forced out of retirement after all. But unlike John Wick, which quickly veered towards the fantastical in its depiction of its criminal underworld, this one takes a more grounded-in-reality approach. Just don't expect any of that grittiness to get in the way once the bodies start piling up.

Nobody has enough over-the-top action to rival all the films in the John Wick franchise. And while it might not do too much to set itself apart from those films, the film at least acknowledges its lack of originality with something resembling a knowing wink. Bob Odenkirk's Hutch also proved to be just as endearing as John Wick, so much so that a part of me now wishes that we'd one day get a crossover featuring both characters.

7 comments:

  1. I'm always up for leaving my brain at the door.

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    Replies
    1. Lol. Same here, provided the story isn't too riddled with plot holes and inconsistencies, like Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen. 😁

      Delete
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