Having impressed as sleazeball lawyer Saul Goodman in “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul,” Bob Odenkirk takes on an unexpected role — domestic avenger.
In “Nobody,” he’s Hutch Mansell, a regular guy whose marriage has gone cold and who works a job that bores him. He has a teenage son and daughter he loves, his suburban home at the end of a cul-de-sac looking just like every other house.
However, a middle-of-the-night break-in throws his mundane existence into turmoil. When Hutch hesitates to take down the pair of trespassing thieves, his wife and son lose respect for him, as do his neighbors, co-workers and anyone else who hears of his cowardice. Problem is, there’s much more to Hutch than meets the eye.
Taking a bus ride to clear his thoughts, he shows his true colors when he beats up a quartet of Russian thugs who threaten a young lady.
Problem is, one of his victims is the brother of Russian mobster Yulian Kuznetsov (Aleksey Serebryakov), and when he sees his sibling in the hospital eating through a tube, well let’s just say, he’s not happy.
Taking a page from “Death Wish” and “A History of Violence,” the film allows our hero to revert to his true self — a former government agent with a particular set of skills — through a series of action scenes that are just as funny as they are exciting.
As written by Derek Kolstad, who penned the “John Wick” movies, you know exactly what to expect. Much like those Keanu Reeves flicks, “Nobody’s” bread and butter are the elaborate action sequences, just as intricate and entertaining as those in the “Wick” movies, but this time punctuated with a wry sense of humor.
Of particular note is an attack on the Mansell home by a dozen assassins who walk into one booby trap after another, and the film’s climax in a machine shop that our hero has jury-rigged with deathtraps that are surely filled with props from ACME, Inc. Again, none of this is to be taken seriously. Just sit back and let the stylized mayhem wash over you.
Director Ilya Naishuller brings a sense of energy to the familiar story. Responsible for the cult actioner “Hardcore Harry,” the filmmaker employs inventive editing to give a sip to mundane and juxtaposes familiar pop tunes with over-the-top violent moments.
“I Gotta Be Me” plays as Hutch dispatches a bevy of bad guys and his real self emerges, while “The Impossible Dream” is heard as he delivers an unexpected, gut-punch to Kuznetsov.
Brimming with pointed dark humor and clever plot twists, “Nobody” revels in its B-movie roots, Odenkirk providing a Charles Bronson-like turn that’s surprising and entertaining as hell.
As his wife, Connie Nielsen is wasted, but sequels are in the offing if this hits at the box office, and the implication is she’ll be playing a bigger part in future installments.
I’m down for them, but only if Hutch ultimately crosses paths with John Wick himself. The guilty pleasure mayhem would be apocalyptic.