[Screen It]


(2021) (Bob Odenkirk, Aleksey Serebryakov) (R)

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Action/Dramedy: A seemingly unremarkable man springs into action when a Russian mobster targets him and his family.

Hutch Mansell (BOB ODENKIRK) is a seemingly ordinary guy living an ordinary life that isn't much different from day to day. Married to Becca (CONNIE NIELSEN) with whom he has a teenage son, Blake (GAGE MUNROE), and preteen daughter, Sammy (PAISLEY CADORATH), and son to David (CHRISTOPHER LLOYD) who lives in a nursing home, Hutch's only noticeable trait is somehow always taking the garbage out moments too late every time.

But then two thieves break into his house at night, and finding himself with the opportunity to bash at least one of them, he opts not to, thus disappointing Blake and earning some condescension from the cops and a neighbor, although his brother, Harry (RZA), understands. When he learns that the thieves took his daughter's kitty cat bracelet, however, he jumps into action to find them and retrieve that, but can't follow through. He then takes out his frustration on several twenty-something men who board a bus with him and harass some of the other riders, showing that he's quite proficient at hand-to-hand combat.

What he doesn't know is that one of those men is the younger brother of Russian mobster Yulian Kuznetsov (ALEKSEY SEREBRYAKOV) who's been tasked with babysitting the Obshak which is essentially the 401K of the Russian mob with total assets of several hundred million dollars. Not happy with what Hutch did, he sets out to get even, initially unaware of what sort of man Hutch really is -- something he's about to find out.

OUR TAKE: 6.5 out of 10

As long as there are bad guys around, the world is going to need good guys to thwart their intentions, defeat them, and put them in jail or even a grave if needed. And since most of us are not in the official position to do so or possess the necessary physical and psychological training and wherewithal to carry out such actions, we traditionally opt for experiencing such heroics vicariously through those on the screen, both small and large.

Interestingly enough, I find that most satisfying when the heroes end up looking more like me than say an imposing figure, let alone superhero characters that have been dominating that department for a decade or so. And that's because I can see myself as those otherwise unassuming types who reluctantly take on the bad people of the world.

All of which might explain why I enjoyed the heck out of "Nobody" an action dramedy where Bob Odenkirk ("Better Call Saul") plays the title character in more ways than one. The initial view (after a prologue that suggests dark and violent comedy is headed our way) -- in this offering from filmmaker Ilya Naishuller -- is via a montage of his character, Hutch Mansell, going through his unremarkable daily routine where little if nothing changes.

While he's close with his preteen daughter, Sammy (Paisley Cadorath), he's less so with his teenage son, Brady (Gage Munroe), or his real estate agent wife, Becca (Connie Nielsen). Theirs is apparently a loveless marriage that's now only going through the motions, which seems to define Hutch's overall life as well. Things don't get better when he has a chance to be a hero -- the opportunity to clock a home invasion robber with a golf club -- but has second thoughts and does nothing.

At that point, and after being emasculated by a cop who arrives on the scene, the next-door neighbor, and Brady, it appears Hutch might end up going down the "Falling Down" path and be the average guy who's finally had enough, snaps, and doles out some long pent-up justice. And that only builds when he can't go through with his subsequent comeuppance plan and ends up on a mostly empty bus at night, headed home in self-defeat.

Luckily for him, screenwriter Derek Kolstad has some additional bad guys show up on the bus and that's when the "fun" begins. Granted, if you don't like violence of any type -- including that of the highly stylized, over-the-top variety -- this won't be your cup of tea. But if you don't mind the sort of action that's fueled the "John Wick" action flicks, you'll likely dig what's offered here, especially with it being coated with some dark humor tones.

The main plot stems from Hutch doling out justice on the bus, with one of his "victims" ending up being the brother to a Russian mobster, Yulian Kuznetsov (Aleksey Serebryakov), who isn't the type to take such actions lightly. That's on display when we see him enter a club, down a shot of booze, snort some coke, boogie up onto the stage and belt out part of a song, only to then brutally murder a man to prove he's more than worthy of protecting the Russian mob's 401k plan, so to speak.

And that he's the kind that will want revenge. All of which will show that like another seemingly unassuming movie hero Hutch has a certain set of skills that are then put on display and then some. Throw in Christopher Lloyd as his shotgun-wielding grandfather who's missed this sort of action and the flick ends up getting zanier as it plays out over its 90-some minute runtime.

Aside from the climactic action sequence going too far over the top in that regard, the rest of the action and stunts are handled well, the pacing is excellent (especially as compared to the four hours of "Justice League"), and Odenkirk nicely blends his past comedic and dramatic stylings into a highly satisfying and engaging hero character.

While what's present might not be original, it's handled with just the right touch and enough cathartic and vicarious mayhem that viewers might come away feeling like they were the ones who just kicked some butt. Especially if they're otherwise not the usual, heroic type. Fun in a turn off your brain and go along for the ride sort of way and fueled by a great retro soundtrack, "Nobody" rates as a 6.5 out of 10.

Reviewed March 19, 2021 / Posted March 26, 2021

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