‘Nobody’: Suburban dads have a new action hero

“Nobody” – In many households, David Leitch’s name may not ring any bells, but look at his IMDb profile!  He has over 80 stunt credits and more than 20 acting gigs.  Leitch also directed “Atomic Blonde” (2017), “Deadpool 2” (2018), and “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw” (2019), and he produced all three “John Wick” pictures.

The man has lived and breathed action films for 26 years – including performing stunt work for Matt Damon and Brad Pitt – so Leitch knows his craft.

Here, he’s a producer on “Nobody” and teams up with executive producer/writer Derek Kolstad (who wrote or co-wrote all three “John Wick” movies) and director Ilya Naishuller.  Actually, Naishuller helmed one of the very few films that I ever had to stop watching (in a theatre).  “Hardcore Henry” (2015) isn’t a bad movie by any means, but Naishuller’s wild and jerky camera movements deliberately immerse us into a video game of sorts.  Sadly, I became dizzy and felt sick after 30 minutes and left.  Hey, no one else was sulking in the fetal position, so I didn’t bother asking for my ten dollars back.

Anyways, with Leitch, Kolstad, and Naishuller forming a triad of cinematic carnage, no one should expect that “Nobody” will double as “Love Actually” (2003), “Boyhood” (2014), “Enchanted” (2007), or “Dirty Dancing” (1987).

Although the tagline for Naishuller’s revenge picture could easily be: “Nobody puts Hutch Mansell in a corner.”

Bob Odenkirk stars – front and center – as Hutch, a mild-mannered everyman.  He lives in a spacious two-story home at the end of a beautiful cul-de-sac with his wife Becca (Connie Nielsen) and their kids Blake (Gage Munroe) and Abby (Paisley Cadorath).  Gee whiz, after a few minutes of studying the Mansells, Becca and Blake don’t show him much respect, although that’s not terribly unusual for teenage boys.  Still, Hutch realizes, feels, and internalizes his spouse’s and son’s pity and moderate – but silent – disparagement, and the weight of their disregard piles on his back and smashes down his spine.  He’s a beaten man and mentally checked out.  Twenty-four hours a day, he spins in life’s hamster wheel by working at a monotonous accounting job at Becca’s father’s small manufacturing company from 9 to 5 and feeling ignored at home from 5 to 9.

Thank God that his elementary school-aged daughter shows him admiration, but otherwise, he feels like a…nobody.  This endless cycle, however, breaks when a couple of burglars bust into the Mansells’ home.  The pair didn’t get away with much, but Abby’s kitty cat bracelet is missing, and that’s it: Hutch snaps.

It turns out that his mind isn’t the only thing that breaks, as he goes on a violent spree of mayhem, which begins against five hoodlums on a city bus.  These dudes chose the wrong day to pick on this 50-something human tornado.  Limbs and skulls suddenly go snap, crackle, and pop due to Hutch’s assault, as stationary unpadded metal bus railings and a wine bottle are perfect props for our hero.  It’s an explosive display that’s instantly reminiscent of “John Wick”, but substitute a murdered pet with a missing kid’s item of plastic jewelry.  Well, there’s that, and Odenkirk doesn’t resemble a lethal weapon in the slightest, which is this flick’s massive hook.  Although Bob and Keanu are strikingly close in age at 58 and 56, respectively, so chew on that for a while.

Well, Naishuller and Odenkirk give the audience plenty of ferocious, visceral action-picture eye-candy over a no-nonsense 92-minute runtime.  Hutch is a one-man wrecking crew, although his father (Christopher Lloyd) helps a bit in a nifty, sicko supporting role.  Our protagonist, however, soon tangles with a Russian mobster.  Yulian Kuznetsov (Aleksey Serebryakov) is described as a “connected and funded sociopath”, and his ire dramatically raises the stakes as hand-to-hand combat escalates into more mechanical forms of firepower, if you catch my drift.  Hutch’s family’s safety becomes an immediate concern, but Naishuller and Kolstad find a convenient way to set aside Becca, Blake, and Abby safely, so our suburban Mr. Wick has the elbow room to work, punch, kick, and shoot.

Of course.

At the end of the day, “Nobody” is a one-trick pony – in the form of a ’72 Challenger and a barrage of aggression – but Odenkirk sells this ride, including the obvious possibilities for a sequel.  Sure, I’ll watch another follow-up or two, and so will several million 5-foot 9-inch dads out there.

⭐⭐ 1/2  out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Image and Trailer credits: Universal Pictures


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