"Nobody" stars Bob Odenkirk, Connie Nielsen, Christopher Lloyd, RZA, and Aleksey Serebryakov. Released on March 26, 2021, the film is about a husband who must defend his family from a vengeful drug lord.
The film was directed by Ilya Naishuller, who is known for directing the 2015 film "Hardcore Henry". He may look like an ordinary family man on the outside, but on the inside, he's a ruthless killer filled with rage. After impressing a ton of fans as lawyer Saul Goodman in "Breaking Bad" and its spin-off "Better Call Saul", Bob Odenkirk is now taking on the challenge of being an action star. This latest action film comes from musician/director Ilya Naishuller, the founder of the Russian indie rock band Biting Elbows. He made his directorial debut with the first-person action thriller "Hardcore Henry" six years ago, which I thought was surprisingly entertaining. His next film sees him moving away from his experimental filmmaking to directing a modern action film that's somehow replicating the "John Wick" films in terms of style and tone. I should know because one of the film's producers is the stuntman who directed "John Wick" with Chad Stahelski, David Leitch. Whenever I see Leitch's name in the credits, I know that I will be in for a treat. I mean, look at the other films he directed and try to prove me wrong. This guy knows how to make the action vastly entertaining in his filmography. Based on the trailers, this film appears to be no exception, but does it provide more than just a series of stylistic R-rated violence? Let's find out.
The story follows Hutch Mansell (Odenkirk), a mild-mannered family man who's spending his ordinary days with his family, which consists of his wife Becca (Nielsen) and their two children Blake (Gage Munroe) and Sammy (Paisley Cadorath). One night their home was invaded by two thieves. Instead of defending himself and his family, Hutch decided not to intervene to avoid any complications, resulting in his family drifting away from him, including Blake. His guilt towards his actions reawakens the dark secrets of his past and his suppressed set of skills. He used his skills to save a stranger from a group of punks, which grabbed the attention of a Russian drug lord named Yulian Kuznetsov (Serebryakov). With his family in danger yet again, Hutch must do what he should have done in the first place: protect the ones he loves and beat the living crud out of the bad guys. This is basically what "John Wick" would've looked like if the character has a family and a few imperfect skills under his belt…and doesn't have a dog for the vile people to kill. So dog lovers, feel free to sigh in relief. It's unsurprisingly easy to tell that the film has many similar cliches from the other action movies that came before it. It's just a simple and visually stunning beat-em-up thriller with plenty of bloody violence that'll make you either wince or smile with delight. In cases like this, that's all I could ask for. Instead of being a "John Wick" rip-off, it wound up being a "John Wick" inspiration that combines its fun R-rated action with a story that's as caring as the main character. Naishuller has proven himself to be a respectable director in terms of the action genre as he managed to make every action scene as stylish and focused as possible. The editing was suitable enough to capture the explicit violence, and the action choreography had a satisfying mixture of realism and absurdity. Those sequences are best described as valuable rewards for those who are patient enough to watch through the first act. The drama scenes were also respectable enough to make me feel invested in the characters, especially Hutch, who is determined to protect his family. As I mentioned before, Bob Odenkirk steps into new territory in the form of an action star as he portrays Hutch as an ordinary husband with a secret past. To its credit, the film did a decent job at balancing this character's personality. You can tell that even though Hutch is still the type of guy that'll beat someone to a pulp, he also has a sense of vulnerability and rustiness in his fighting skills. This type of personality usually helps in making the action scenes look a bit more realistic and intense. As for Odenkirk's performance, he was a joy to watch. Not only did he provide a proper balance between humor and seriousness into his role, but he also managed to prove that he's capable enough to stand alongside other famous action stars like Jason Statham and even Liam Neeson. RZA and Christopher Lloyd were also solid in their roles as Harry Mansell, Hutch's half-brother, and Hutch's father David, respectively. I honestly wasn't expecting Lloyd's character to do that much throughout the film, but surprisingly, it was able to prove me wrong. It would've been even nicer if the film explored the family dynamic between Hutch, Harry, and David a bit more. Maybe they'll do that in a possible sequel? There's nothing unique about the antagonist Yulian, but Aleksei Serebryakov did seem to have a good time portraying the character.
Overall, in terms of its concept, "Nobody" seemed to be a "John Wick" knockoff on paper. On screen, however, it's a well-directed and entertaining thriller that used the "John Wick" formula to give it a new coat of paint instead of copying and pasting it. It's far from original when it comes to its story, but there's no denying the fact that I had a fun time watching the action unfold. The cast was good in their roles, Ilya Naishuller's filmmaking style was quite impressive, and the action scenes were both bloody and enjoyable. Based on my experience, It's evident that both Naishuller and David Leitch will have a healthy future in the movie business, especially for the action genre. Maybe down the road, they could do a crossover with this film and "John Wick"? It sounds unlikely now, but I will pay money to see it in a heartbeat if it actually happens.