Nobody (2021) ☆☆☆(3/4): Bob Odenkirk with a particular set of skills

“Nobody” is exactly what I expected from its trailer, and it did its job well enough to satisfy and entertainment me despite not surprising me that much. Again, we are served with a shamelessly brutal and violent action flick about a guy who, turns out to have, yes, a particular set of skills, but it is a competent action film peppered with some wit and humor, and it is also anchored well by the presence and talent of its engaging lead actor.

Bob Odenkirk, who drew my attention for the first time via his enjoyable supporting performance in acclaimed TV drama series “Breaking Bad”, plays Hutch Mansell, who is presented as a plain suburban family guy via the amusing opening scene rapidly depicting his mundane and predictable daily life cycle. Although he has lived fairly well with his wife and their two kids in their cozy house, he and his wife have been rather estranged from each other, and he has also been disregarded by his brother-in-law and father-in-law at his workplace, which is incidentally owned by his father-in-law.

And then something happens at one night. After hearing some strange sounds inside the house, Hutch wakes up and then goes downstairs, and, what do you know, there are a couple of burglars who have just invaded his house. Although he could be a bit more active in taking care of this dangerous situation, Hutch sticks to his usual passive mode as before, even when his teenage son tries to fight against one of these two burglars.

After police officers eventually come for investigation, Hutch is ready to continue his daily life as usual, but it seems something is being awakened inside him, and then he finally comes to reveal his hidden sides when it looks like those burglars took away a kitty bracelet belonging to his dear little daughter. He already spotted a certain clue from those burglars at that time, and he is surely ready to retrieve that kitty bracelet by any means necessary.

I will not go into details into what happens next, but I can tell you instead that Hutch’s impromptu personal mission accidentally leads to a very unpleasant encounter between him and a bunch of drunken young thugs who happen to get on a bus not long after he did. Watching these nasty lads attempting to bully a young woman on the bus, he instantly decides to take care of them, and he surely shows them that he is not someone with whom they should not mess from the beginning. As already shown a bit via the trailer, the following action sequence unfolded within the bus is pretty violent to say the least, but it is skillfully presented with palpable energy and impact, and Odenkirk willingly hurls himself into demanding physical actions in addition to conveying well to us his character’s understandable vulnerability.

After having this liberating moment of ventilation, Hutch goes back to his usual plain daily life while not saying much to his family, but, as most of you have already guessed, that turns out to be not so easy at all. One of those young thugs happens to be a younger brother of a very notorious Russian mob boss, who is naturally quite furious about what happens to his younger brother. It does not take much time for this ruthless Russian mob boss to identify and track down Hutch, and Hutch soon comes to learn that he inadvertently causes a far bigger problem just for that damn kitty bracelet.

It is not much of a spoiler to tell you that there will be lots of shooting and explosion, and director Ilya Naishuller, who previously directed “Hardcore Henry” (2015), and his crew members do not disappoint us at all. No matter how many goons his vengeful opponent sends to him, Hutch is ready to take care of all of them for himself, and we consequently see a lot of extras and stuntmen getting shot or maimed throughout the second half of the film.

Needless to say, this part is often excessive in its depiction of violence and action, but the screenplay by Derek Kolstad, who is incidentally the write of “John Wick” (2014) and its two sequels, never forgets that it is basically a one-joke action comedy. While the plot itself is predictable to the core, the movie efficiently hops from one narrative point to another as continuing to throw more actions upon the screen, and it also shows some morbid sense of humor at times. While we come to care a bit about Hutch and several other characters close to him, we observe all those mayhems in the film from the distance with mild amusement, and you may find yourself concerned more about the safety of a certain valuable artwork appearing in the movie.

Steadily carries the film with enough gravitas and presence, Odenkirk, who also participated in the production of the movie, is apparently having lots of fun here, and he also shows good comic timing during several absurd moments including the one when Hutch boldly confronts his opponent at one point. As Hutch’s main opponent, Aleksei Serebryakov, a Russian actor whom you may remember for his gloomy lead performance in Oscar-nominated film “Leviathan” (2014), gleefully and savagely chews every moment of his in the film, and Christopher Lloyd and RZA also have each own little fun as two other crucial supporting characters in the story.

In conclusion, “Nobody” is simply another variation to be compared with many other similar action flicks ranging from “Taken” (2008) to “John Wick”, but it generates enough fun and excitement within its genre territory, and it surely demonstrates that Odenkirk can be an action movie hero as good as, say, Liam Neeson. He is approaching to 60 at present, but, considering how much Neeson kicked asses even during his 60s, I guess Odenkirk will probably be able to do that too.

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