Henchmen need to unionise…

NOBODY

Directed by: Ilya Naishuller

Written by: Derek Kolstad

Featuring: Bob Odenkirk, Aleksey Serebryakov, Connie Nielsen, Christopher Lloyd, Michael Ironside, Colin Salmon, RZA

Hutch Mansell works at his in-laws small manufacturing business doing the accounts. He is married and has two children, a boy and girl. Each day he goes to work, does his work and goes home to his family. He is an ordinary family man, the sort you would pass in the street without a second glance. One night his family suffers and break-in, two thieves steal what little money he as, threaten him and his son and when he gets to the chance to defend his son and home he decides not to. Despite the misgivings and misunderstanding of his teenage son, Blake, and even his wife Becca, Hutch feels his course of action was correct. That is until his young daughter informs him that her ‘kitty-cat’ bracelet is missing seemingly taken when the thieves grabbed the home’s loose change, then something changes, and Hutch decides enough is enough. This awakens long hidden skills and eventually puts Hutch on a collision course with some unbelievably bad people…

Nobody is a fast, action-packed, violent tale of vengeance, living in the same street as John Wick, Derek Kolstad wrote it, and Nobody is nearly the same film. Given that deadpan and comedic Bob Odenkirk is the lead, fresh off his turn in Breaking Bad and the spin-off Better Call Saul you would expect this film would have a more fun element to it. At the beginning we do get a sense of underlying comedy and with the violence non-existent this is the better film. Even the over-the-top cartoon violence of the ‘bus attack’ being more personal held my attention, Odenkirk gets battered and hurt, in reality he would be dead or seriously injured, but this film is not about that and it is churlish to pick out realism as a failing.

The action when it happens is frenetic, well-choreographed and exciting, particularly when it is small and personal, but it is as if director Naishuller (Hardcore Henry) forgot the whole first acts of the film and we end up with every Russian, fighting Bob, his brother RZA and his 82-year-old dad played by Christopher Lloyd, funny but stupid. Yet again though it appears to thousands of men with guns willing to die horribly to serve their gangster boss, all dying in horrible ways. It is all a bit familiar.

What you see is a professionally made well-crafted action film, with ultra-violence, gunplay and even Home Alone booby traps, yet for me the best filmmaking, the most effective sequence comes at the very beginning of the film a choppily edited opening sequence underlining the boring mundane life Hutch lives. Quick, sharp, to-the-point and in a few repeated shots you know exactly what our main character appears to be.

For lovers of action-packed-violence, this will be enough but for those that worship at the ever-diminishing returns of John Wick it will not be enough, they will like it but will forget it soon after watching and waiting patiently for ‘John Wick 6, He Kills the Whole World’.

This is a revenge story, told in a cartoon-style with little or no sense to the plot from the beginning that gets even more nonsensical the longer it goes on but it is made for a specific audience. For those that like being on ‘Revenge Street’ but perhaps prefer a little more meat on the bone I would recommend Blue Ruin or even something like the original Death Wish, even Straw Dogs from 1971 but having said this for action, and let us be honest mindless violence, there are too many to pick from.

As you may have guessed this type of action-film with bish-bash-violence leaves me mainly cold and under the right circumstances I could fall asleep watching most of them, I really liked the original John Wick but due to the success of that film we have Nobody which does not do anything different enough to distinguish it. Cardboard cut-out Russian gangsters (sigh) led by famous Russian actor Aleksey Serebryakov raised my eyebrows and from that point they never really dropped again. I wish someone would make this type of film and try something innovative and different, similar to zombie-films, ultra-action films are in serious danger of overloading the market and disappearing up their own fundamentals. Shame really, there could be something there for good filmmakers to get a grip of.

Nobody will be watched by a lot of people and forgotten fairly soon, which is disappointing there is a lot of talent on show and that is not just my writing about it.

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