Review: ‘Nobody’ (is coming to save you)

You should see the other guys.

A suburban father of two in a waning marriage, Hutch Mansell (Bob Odenkirk) works out in the morning, goes to work for his boss Mr. Williams (Michael Ironside), and heads home to sleep until starting all over the next day. Viewed by his peers as passive and non-confrontational, no one is surprised when two thieves break into Hutch’s home and depart unscathed during an potential assault; even his too-eager athletic son Blake (Gage Munroe) is crushed when his father fails to act when seen having the upper hand. It isn’t until his daughter Abby (Paisley Cadorath) mentions missing her Hello Kitty bracelet among the stolen items that something snaps in Hutch, revealing a dire truth: his behavior is intended to protect everyone else… from him.

Hardcore Henry director Ilya Naishuller has an eye for action films, but it’s Derek Kolstad viewers should pay attention to: the writer of all three John Wick films. Actor, stuntman, and fight coordinator Daniel Bernhardt also put time in on both Nobody the Wick series, training actors as well. It was always the intent to get Bob Odenkirk up to speed, at least looking capable of what his character could do, but Bob trained until he could do everything except what the financiers forbid him to do, a personal challenge to himself and a dedication to the production. Hutch isn’t exactly a dog person, but like Mr. Wick, there’s never a shortage foolish Russian mobsters around looking for a deserved ass-kicking. Is Nobody as original as viewers might like it to be, or does it even really matter?

Odenkirk’s ability to become a character is well-documented, if for no other reason than recreating his Saul Goodman character from “Breaking Bad” into an even better show with “Better Call Saul.” Nobody rests squarely on the lead actor’s shoulders, and by leaning into authenticity, it rings true even when nothing else does. The film stops short of claiming any connection to the John Wick universe, but it also doesn’t have to since they share an audience. In a world full of tough talkers who boast what they’d do if given half a chance, here’s a refreshing reminder what you don’t know is reason enough to probably leave someone alone.

Full of surprises like a capable Christopher Lloyd and recurring sight gags like ridiculous timing for info-dump expositions, Nobody mixes it up to keep thing fresh. While the final bloodbath borders upon Shoot ‘Em Up absurdity, the production mostly earns it by that point. John Wick is defined by his contacts rather than family, having never intermingled the two, but Nobody draws strength from a traditional family structure, even keeping them in the dark if that keeps them safe… which it never does for long. It’s too bad the start-up couldn’t find villains other than Russian money-movers who take things personally; you’d think at least one of them might have compared Hutch to “Baba Yaga” and saved themselves a lot of grief, but where’s the fun in that?

Like everything Hollywood these days, the seeds of a sequel are embedded. Nobody has an inherent advantage over the John Wick series since the family members aren’t indebted to one another… and are a lot less likely to betray one another on a whim. Sure, fine, there will be a sequel eventually, but when do fans get Nobody Vs. John Wick or John Wick Meets Nobody?

Nobody is rated R for strong violence and bloody images, language throughout, brief drug use, and going from zero to sixty in “you’re about find the fuck out.”

Four skull recommendation out of four

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