“A docile family man slowly reveals his true character after his house gets burgled by two petty thieves, which, coincidentally, leads him into a bloody war with a Russian crime boss.”

Director: Ilya Naishuller
Writer: Derek Kolstad
Staring: Bob Odenkirk, Aleksey Serebryakov, Connie Nielsen, Christopher Lloyd
Release Date: March 26, 2021

You don’t mess family. And as a tagline says, you never underestimate a nobody.

Hutch Mansell (Bob Odenkirk) is a regular family man living in the suburbs. He is in a stagnant marriage with his wife Becca (Connie Nielsen) and together they have two kids, a high school boy who wants to prove himself and a young girl who adores her father. Their fragile life of routine is shattered when a young couple breaks into their home and steals some cash along with some small trinkets, including a kitty-kat bracelet of his daughter.

The thing that was lost most in the robbery was not tangible, but rather the trust Hutch’s family put in him. Can he not protect them? Classic man of the house problems.

The disappointment in himself and the fear of losing those around him fuels Hutch with a fire he has not felt for a long time. For too long has Hutch held a simmering boil underneath his calm exterior. After years of keeping it at bay, Hutch seizes an excuse to let his true self become uncaged. For no one messes with a man’s family.

Now who is Hutch Mansell? He is a former government warrior who worked under one of those three letter agencies as an auditor. He has a set of skills that make him quite difficult for men who go against him. Those skills have remained dormant for quite some time, but now his violent eyes are set upon Yulian Keznetsov (Aleksey Serebryakov). Yulian is the villain of Nobody, and he is merely a pawn in the game of the Russian mafia. He is a man unhinged, and by the end of this story, Yulian and Hutch face-off in a blazing, glorious, gory gunfight.

Let’s get straight to the point, Nobody (2021) is a direct disciple of the John Wick franchise. There are far too many similarities to deem otherwise.

  • It is about a man who is heartbroken in his own way and must fall back to his most basic instinct in order to find himself in the present once more.
  • The initializing moment involves a pet. Wick lost his dog, and Hutch’s daughter lost her cat bracelet. Also Hutch’s daughter wants a cat and so cue extra motivation to find this kitty-kat bracelet.
  • The main villains are Russians. There is a lunatic Russian at the top who must be stopped.
  • The evil Russian sends a horde of henchmen to the home of the hero and the hero must vanquish them with creativity and a cache of stored weapons.
  • The Russians enjoy hanging at the club, and there is a giant fight at the club as well.
  • Oh, and the hero lights up and creates an ash pile of what was all the Russian mob’s assets.
  • The Auditor is a character in John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum (2019) and such was the old profession of Hutch himself in Nobody.
  • It has the classic basement shot with the camera at the bottom of the stairwell looking up at the hero being badass.
  • There is an expanded universe in Nobody one could delve into if they wished, just like that of John Wick.
    • For example: What was the program that Hutch was in? Why did that veteran in the tattoo parlor run away in fear? What did he know from that tattoo? What is going to happen to the Russian’s now that their fiscal dogpile is nothing but embers?

I love the John Wick franchise, so it would make sense that I love Nobody. The tethering string between the two? Writer Derek Kolstad.

Kolstad has written on all three of the made John Wick movies and he is already credited with the two sequels that are planned. Kolstad is also linked to The Continental, the TV show based off of the Wick universe. The action writing savant is also helming the TV shows Splinter Cell and Hitman. Kolstad is also diving into the video game movie world with Just Cause, which will let him play with his absurdity and pension for insane violence.

Nobody is directed by Ilya Naushuller, and this is a major step forward from his first directing project. Naushuller directed Hardcore Henry (2015), which was a first-person action movie that failed to hit its target. This adventure, with the steering talents of Kolstad’s pen and the gas pedal that is Odenkirk’s, is a far more entertaining and coherent experience.

While the modern inspiration for Nobody is apparent, there are differences in tone that make it a movie of its own. Due in large part to the comedic abilities of Bob Odenkirk, Nobody is able to achieve a more over-the-op amusing tone. It has utmost confidence and really does not care to appease the masses. It is what makes Nobody a something; it is confident in its absurdity and in what its purpose is. Nobody is an entertainment vessel, one that thrives to reach its own goals and no one else’s.

Odenkirk is amazing as Hutch. The transformation (or devolution may be the correct term?) from the capped docile neighborhood man to boiling violent vengeful killer comes as easy as the evil self-confident smile he bears so often. The viewers end up rooting for Hutch to lose his mind, and that he does.

The “we have gone too far” incident for Nobody comes with the bus fight, and by God it is just bloody fantastic. (By the way, another connection to John Wick, remember that fight between Wick and Cassian in John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)). There are broken bones, veins punctured, throats slit and amusing facial expressions galore. This is the moment when anyone watching Nobody becomes educated as to what the remainder of this movie is going to be.

I would boast that this bus fight in Nobody is better than the one in Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings (2021). Both are excellent, but the brutality and more even handedness in Hutch’s fight is more appealing. Both characters are rekindling something; Shang-Chi is tapping in ancient training he had, and Hutch is rediscovering the old killer mindset he buried deep. Shang-Chi did not embrace a new mentality when fighting, but Hutch did, that is what elevates it for me.

Nobody is my type of movie. It me in the quandary of wanted to be objective and look at this movie from an unbiased lens, but I also want to be truthful with my feelings and rave about just how fun this movie is. The simple matter of indisputable fact is that Nobody is an absolute amazing experience for an action fan, and even if you do not love the genre itself, you will find aspects of the story that are at worse redeemable. I mean, it has Christopher Lloyd wielding shotguns and maniacally laughing!

Now here is a question that should not be asked out loud. Do we want a John Wick and Hutch Mansell crossover? There are enough similarities in the story that it’d be like the Spider-Man meme come to life but instead of pointing fingers they’d be pointing any myriad of guns and knives. With that being said, I would still watch it.

STANKO RATING: A (4.5/5 Stars)

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