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You wait all these years for the next action stars to emerge, only to come to find that you have been waiting at the wrong doors and looking at the wrong are groups all along. After Liam Neeson knocked us all bandy nearly 15 years ago with a later career action star transformation we never saw coming in Pierre Morel’s Taken and Keanu Reeves was reborn in a role he was born for in 2014’s John Wick, we now have another unexpected action hero emerging and his name is Bob Odenkirk. A familiar face actor to many, he has thrived particularly on TV through incredible turns in the likes of Breaking Bad, its spin-off Better Call Saul and Fargo. Odenkirk’s career has been varied certainly, but even with that fact in mind, few of us ever expected Nobody.
The film centres on Hutch Mansell (Odenkirk) a husband/father whose life feels like one big weekly recycle and whose relationship with his wife Rebecca (Connie Nielsen) and kids (Gage Munroe and Paisley Cadorath) is somewhat strained, especially when during a violent break-in at their home, he freezes from taking a shot at one of the home invaders. But, underneath this calm everyman exterior lies a history wherein in secrecy, violence and death were his job, and this one burglary re-ignites this long dormant part of Hutch’s past life, which has serious consequences for his future.
From the writer of John Wick Derek Kolstad, Nobody at first glance seems like a similar act, and in some ways it is but believe me there is more to Hutch Mansell than meets the black eye! Hardcore Henry director Ilya Naishuller has crafted a modern action classic here, in a film that is funny, brutal and immeasurably entertaining. Nobody is less a revenge film and more a story of a man who feels adrift in his own existence and feels less of a man as a result, a person who rediscovers a sense of purpose, structure and strange solace in the life he thought he had left behind, and Hutch is not the only character in the film to feel this way either.
Bob Odenkirk absolutely aces it in this bloody-knuckled thrill ride, in which a new icon is born in Hutch Mansell and one that stands proudly alongside a certain Mr. Wick (god help anyone if those two ever team-up!). He is an absolute revelation and takes to the sublimely choreographed action like a duck to water, while also delivering his dialogue with razor sharp wit or intriguing menace. He is joined by a blindingly good cast, all of whom are an absolute joy. From Aleksei Serebryakov’s flamboyant but nasty Russian mob boss villain to Colin Salmon’s brief role as a government handler known as “The barber”, there is not one name wasted here. Though arguably the best supporting turns are from a slickly cool RZA as Harry and a scene stealing Christopher Lloyd as Hutch’s dad David. Who’d have ever thought at 82 years old, we’d see the Doc toting a shotgun in the heat of battle?
Nobody is a face-crunchingly impactful tour de force of an action film, that has you smiling from start to finish. With immaculately constructed set-pieces (one recalling Rambo: Last Blood in its trap-setting intricacy), a simple but brilliant story, and a soundtrack that drips with style. This is precisely what action cinema ought to be and there is not one ounce of fat on this breathtaking shot of entertainment.
A bone breaking bobby-dazzler of a movie.
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