If the crime-action-farce "Nobody" seems oddly familiar to you, it's probably because you've pretty much seen it before when it was called "John Wick." But coming from a critic who did not like "John Wick" or "John Wick 3" ("John Wick 2" was admittedly pretty cool), I actually think that "Nobody" does it better.
Where the original "John Wick" was tonally all over the place, "Nobody" at least has a consistent tone throughout. In case you're not hip on the "John Wick" references, that film's bad-ass title character, John Wick (Keanu Reeves, who simultaneously over-acted and under-delivered in the role), who went on a revenge killing spree after his dog was murdered by a gang of really bad dudes. In "Nobody," the a bad-ass title character also goes by the name of Hutch Mansell (Bob Odenkirk), his "Nobody" moniker being a nickname for his former life as a war veteran and merciless killer. Instead of his dog dying, Mansell snaps after a home invasion leaves him feeling emasculated, and ridiculed by his son (Gage Munroe) and wife (Connie Nielsen). He reverts back to "Nobody" and the mayhem begins.
The comparisons between the "John Wick" films and "Nobody" are obvious but also an easy means of describing the bloody-fun vibe it's going for. Odenkirk is perfectly cast, and it's a joy for those that know him as Saul Goodman/Johnny McGill from "Breaking Bad"/"Better Call Saul," where he has perfected the art of a slippery, weaselly salesman. There is tremendous pleasure in watching "Saul" beat the ever-loving-Hell out of a gang of thugs on a city bus, because we're not used to watching the actor confront his on-screen enemies with such direct force.
Adding to the fun is Christopher Lloyd as Hutch's dad, who for the most part can be found in his retirement home in front of his TV, but who shares many of the same skills as his son. A weird plot structure has Hutch's brother (RZA) also in the mix, mainly over the phone or radio, perhaps implying that the brother only existed in Hutch's head.
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One of the greatest sequences in "Nobody" is a show-stopping tracking shot that introduces the film's baddie, Russian mobster Yulian Kuznetsov (Aleksey Serebryakov). It's maybe the most memorable scenes in the entire film, but sadly Yulian's character never quite lives up to the coolness of his introduction.
Ultimately, that's the underlying issue with "Nobody" in the first place: Style over substance, where flash is favored over anything else, and the premise never quite lives up to its potential. It definitely hits some high notes along the way, but by the end, "Nobody" seems a bit too mindless and sloppy to build a film franchise around, which seems to clearly be the driving goal here.
Even still, this is the sort of "guy movie" that is worth checking out if you like action, inconsequential violence, spontaneously laughing while people die in unexpected ways, blood, gore or all of the above. It's true, "Nobody" may not be for everybody, but for those looking for an entertaining R-rated action flick, "Nobody" might be just what you're looking for.
Genre: Action, Crime.
Run Time: 1 hour 32 minutes
Starring: Bob Odenkirk, Aleksey Serebryakov, Connie Nielsen, Christopher Lloyd, RZA, Gage Munroe.
Directed by Ilya Naishuller ("Hardcore Henry").
"Nobody" is in theaters on Friday, March 26th, 2021.
(WARNING: Below is the "red-band" trailer of the film).
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