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'Nobody' Review: Bob Odenkirk is one dangerous dad

Ilya Naishuller’s 'Nobody' pits Bob Odenkirk against the Russian mob for no other reason than a mid-life reclamation arc.

Don't mess with daddy in 'Mr. Nobody.'
(Image: © Universal Pictures)

Our Verdict

'Nobody' is a crowd-pleasing action endurance test that will be remembered for Bob Odenkirk's proven ability to bust skulls, intimidate thugs, and have an absolute blast getting as bloodied as possible.

For

  • 😼 Excellent use of its cast.
  • 😼 Odenkirk's execution is on the money.
  • 😼 Legitimate showstopper moments.
  • 😼 Big, "dumb," enjoyable action.

Against

  • 😼 Plot sometimes comes second.
  • 😼 Eerily Wickish.
  • 😼 Odenkirk can seem invincible.

Nobody will only available to watch in theaters. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we recommend checking it out at your local drive-in. If one isn’t available, please be sure to check out state and CDC guidelines before watching in an enclosed space.

Newest “Action Hero Dad” Bob Odenkirk takes to Nobody with the fury to prove a million internet doubters wrong—”that Better Call Saul chump can’t bash faces.” Somewhere between John Wick and Taken exists this gloriously strike-per-minute ode to reckoning-brutal entertainment that only cares about bruises. Never as deadly serious as Taken, nor exceptionally tactical as John Wick. Ilya Naishuller’s take on a “nobody” with their own particular set of skills imagines what an 80s henchman slaughterer’s midlife crisis might look like, and it’s worth the suburban disruption. Odenkirk’s two-year intensive training regiment pays off as he pummels, dodges, and blasts in equal comparison to the proven ass-kickers who dominate today’s bullet-riddled landscape, flaunting this burst of adrenaline that should have audiences begging for another round.

Odenkirk stars as Hutch Mansell, an ex-Auditor whose job was to eliminate problems within three-letter organizations. Now he’s a family man to fading wife Becca (Connie Nielsen), dismissive son Blake (Gage Munroe), and kitten-crazy daughter Abby (Paisley Cadorath). Hutch is a slave to normalcy until criminals attempt to rob his household, reigniting his flame for punishment through a series of unfortunate events. Now, Russian mobster Yulian Kuznetsov (Alexey Serebryakov) demands Hutch Mansell's head as revenge for his brother’s near-fatal whooping, with or without familial casualties. Seeing no other options, Hutch sends his beloved to safety and wages war against Yulian—possibly with help from retired FBI father David (Christopher Lloyd) and reclusive brother Harry (RZA).

Shades of John Wick influence Derek Kolstad’s screenplay between justice for a kitty (bracelet, no animal), the unintentional pissing off of a crazed international sociopath, and an inciting home invasion. Hutch represses violent histories when trying to live a life more homely, although his impetus for reenlisting doesn’t come on behalf of anyone’s outright murder. An introductory montage cycles through the monotony of Hutch’s weekly routines, labeling the days while flashing repetitive duties like curbing the trash too late, pushing through winded jogs, and MetroCard swipes—Hutch desires simple pleasures, but hastened editing cuts during that montage paint a soulless husk. There’s a commentary about escaping our pasts yet serving our natures, but really? We’re thankful for Hutch’s throttle back into overdrive, kickstarted when he thinks one of the bumbling robbers stole his daughter’s feline accessory.

Nobody screws with Mr. Nobody’s family—that’s enough motivational instigation.

You’re only getting praise from me concerning Odenkirk, who showcases not just combat proficiency in community transit buses, or while driving a ‘72 Challenger, or when mowing down “Obshak” guards (explained as the Russian mafia’s 401K). Odenkirk’s comedic timing blends with Hutch’s undefeatable attitude, as he enters every brawl with a smirk because his upper-hand is universal. The way he delivers lines like “KITTY CAT BRACELET M**HER F**KER,” or meets Yulian eye-to-eye as the flamboyant gangster finishes serenading his nightclub audiences is layered and unexpectedly intimidating. Hutch sits alone at a table, chewing on whatever slop came out of Yulian’s kitchen, calmly taunting his enemy on home turf without a bead of sweat and armed with sardonic wit. Odenkirk never hammily overplays Hutch’s personality, shows tremendous restraint as a directionless middle-aged man reclaiming his spark, and throws haymaker blows that’d have professionals seeing stars. Dare I say Hutch flaunts this very Clint Eastwood vibe, down to hardass one-liners that’ll have audiences howling something fierce?

Naishuller engages more traditional genre filmmaking in Nobody instead of the FPS-inspired Hardcore Henry but doesn’t sacrifice gratuitous enjoyment. Minor gags land strong like side characters quitting their villainous gigs or fleeing grimy tattoo parlors when they peg Hutch as either a once-agent or military specter (his 7/2 poker hand tattoo). Grander set pieces such as Hutch’s machine factory rigged like John Rambo’s Home Alone bring the defensive punishment through varied death sequences delivered by workshop weapon inventions. Choreography isn’t spectacularly agile, but that doesn’t prevent a finale standoff that whoops unholy amounts of ass (just you wait). Naishuller’s team continually pushes the extra mile to play Nobody like a video game where protagonists accept their beatings but dole out double the bone-crunching damage, never trading excitement or stakes.

Shout out to cinematographer Pawel Pogorzelski, because stylistic flair becomes that much more important as narrative throughlines are straighter than arrows. Maybe it’s the lens holding on a close-up handgun tossed from Hutch to Harry, twirling through midair and snatched before another headshot. Perhaps it’s the intimacy in which framing holds on Odenkirk whipping around confined spaces like an alpha hunter, keeping up with deadly predatory speeds but still engaging choreographed flourishes. An action title is only as enjoyable as the action you can see—zero complaints here.

Nobody is an unlikely but exemplary mix of Sammy Davis Jr. lounge music, double-barrel shotguns under nursing home blankets, and Bob Odenkirk giving a soda straw tracheostomy. Ilya Naishuller has proven adeptness towards frantic fight pacing and sustainable forward momentum, and that statement now comes with more validity. It’s never a detriment that Hutch Mansell continually displays unshakable control over the gravest situations, because Odenkirk’s amalgamation of fatherly softness mixed with executioner morbidness would make Bryan Mills send Hutch’s incoming call to voicemail. Ignitable vinyl records, Pat Benatar soundtrack boosts, Bob “Papa Pain” Odenkirk—Nobody has it all. The gamble, should anyone still be skeptical, is a jackpot payoff.

Nobody releases in theaters on March 26th. There is currently no VOD date set for the film.