Movie review: Nobody
Continuing Hollywood's new rule that nobody under 50 is allowed to be an action star, the dad from Little Women is here to kick the Russian mafia a new one.
We have seen this before.
A vigilante fantasy where an apparently unremarkable man reignites his darkest skill set to mete out extraordinary violence against those who would ruin society. And yes, this action thriller is written by John Wick creator Derek Kolstad.
Nobody is a riff on the original Wick premise, only in this scenario, a former killer's civilian life – which turns him into an ordinary Joe in a joyless work routine and an increasingly loveless marriage – has run its course.
But as we all know, the ability to single-handedly take out a Russian mafia kill crew is far more effective than a box of chocolates and couple's therapy.
Maybe that is too cynical, because Nobody – which became a surprising US box- office hit, making almost US$35 million (S$46 million) on a production cost of US$16 million – is a lot of fun.
That's not to say it's all thrills from the off. It's a slow burn to the first explosion of action.
But this is where we get to feel for our characters.
The brilliant casting of unassuming comedian Bob Odenkirk (Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul) makes his character Hutch Mansell believable.
He sells the pain of a man who in order to protect his true identity, has to allow himself to be humiliated and further push his kids and wife (Connie Nielsen) away.
Odenkirk is unlike the typical leading man, and director Ilya Naishuller makes the action more raw than the slick choreography of Nobody's vigilante contemporaries.
The bus fight shown in the trailers is more visceral and messy when played out in full, with moves sold as a spur of the moment necessity rather than predetermined martial arts orchestration.
While Odenkirk is probably more famous for Better Call Saul, his comedy background (do look up Mr. Show with Bob and David on YouTube) helps to sell the fallibility.
And there are laughs here, especially at Hutch's continued attempts to tell his backstory to henchmen who expire mid-story.
Granted, the villain Yulian (Aleksei Serebryakov) could have been built up to be more of a threat, and there is that nagging feeling that Kolstad may need to broaden his scope (even the episodes of The Falcon And The Winter Soldier he wrote had John Wick tropes).
But those are minor gripes.
Nobody is another great example of embracing a genre to create great entertainment - it is violent, funny and only 90 minutes.
After Godzilla Vs. Kong, this is the next film to get you into the cinema.
STARRING: Bob Odenkirk, Aleksei Serebryakov, Connie Nielsen, Christopher Lloyd
DIRECTOR: Ilya Naishuller
THE SKINNY: After a home invasion, ordinary office worker and dad of two Hutch Mansell (Odenkirk) becomes a figure of humiliation for not fighting back. But that awakens a side of himself he had hoped was long-buried – an awakening that then puts his family in danger.