Inspired by Bob Odenkirk’s experiences dealing with two home invasions, Ilya Naishuller’s Nobody is the latest in a long line of action films about a seemingly average guy with an elite set of skills. The violent wolf in sheep’s clothing is Hutch Mansell (Odenkirk), a family man stuck in the rut of daily life. A typical suburban dad, Hutch’s world revolves around his family, his work, and the occasional moments of exercise. The romance has fizzled out of his marriage leading to physical and emotional barriers with his wife Becca (Connie Nielsen) in the bedroom. His children love him but, despite serving in the army as an “accountant,” do not hold him in the same manly regards as his veteran father-in-law Eddie (Michael Ironside) whose manufacturing company Mansell works for.
His manhood is further put into question when two criminals break into his home one night looking for an easy score. Despite putting himself in a position to get the drop on one of them, his decision to let the masked intruders go is seen as a sign of his weakness. Everyone from the police to his brother-in-law Charlie (Billy MacLellan) make it clear that, if it was their families, they would have done whatever was needed to keep them safe.
What no one realizes is that Mansell’s decision was not one of cowardice, but rather mercy. Furthermore, the attempted robbery reignited a flame within him that he thought had long been extinguished. Deciding to track down the thieves himself, an unexpected turn of events leads to an encounter with a group of drunken Russians harassing a young woman on a bus. Shaking off years of rust, and leaving the men barely breathing in the process, Mansell’s lust for violence is rekindled when he finds himself the target of Russian mobster Yulian Kuznetsov’s (Aleksey Serebryakov) ire.
A sociopathic owner of a night club who oversees the Obshak, a Russian money laundering facility, Kuznetsov’s brother was one of the men from the bus hospitalized. Seeking vengeance, even if it means going after his family and retired father (Christopher Lloyd), the mobster will not rest until Mansell plays for his sin. However, what Kuznetsov will learn the hard way is that some men run from the threat of violence and others, like Mansell, crave it like a drug.
Using Mansell’s addiction to the thrill of violence as a jumping off point for several entertaining set pieces, Nobody is a worthy addition to the overcrowded vengeance driven action genre. Whether setting the beatdowns within the narrow confines of a city bus or in a booby-trap laden manufacturing plant, Naishuller‘s incorporates plenty of humour into his over-the-top set pieces. In taken itself less seriously, the film gets a surprising amount of milage out of Odenkirk’s average guy demeanor.
Showing the mundanity of Mansell’s life prior to the break in via quick edits, the film does not explore the protagonist’s homelife beyond the surface. Much like his John Wick scripts, screenwriter Derek Kolstad constructs a male fantasy were wife and kids are merely vessels to be placed in the way of danger. Not only is Connie Neilson underutilized in the film, but the marital problems the couple face feel like an afterthought. It is merely a box to check to justify the pent-up rage that is brewing within Mansell.
Of course, it is watching Mansell unleash that rage on unsuspecting foes where Nobody truly excels. Cheekily using several classic songs, including “You’ll Never Walk Alone” by Gerry & the Peacemakers, to accompany the stylized action, Naishuller gleefully moves from one set piece to the next throwing in a few surprises along the way.
While the Blu-ray has a good crop of bonus features to delve into, it is the “Hutch Hits Hard” and “Breaking Down the Action” segments that are the most insightful. These features not only highlight the hard work that Odenkirk put in to get his body ready for the physicality of the role, but also the detailed choreography work that renowned stunt team 8711 helped to orchestrate in each action set piece.
Nobody may break more faces than new ground, but the film offers enough humour and action to satisfy fans.
Bonus Feature: Deleted Scenes, Hutch Hits Hard, Breaking Down the Action, Just a Nobody, Feature Commentary with actor/producer Bob Odenkirk and director Ilya Naishuller, Feature Commentary with director Ilya Naishuller.