Back in 2014 the super assassin named John Wick stole our hearts with the ultimate revenge tour a man can go on. Two more films later with a 4th on the way and a spin-off in development, the success of that franchise can now be looked upon to be replicated. Nobody, at first glance, appears to be a replication but is in fact an entirely different vision. However, it is clear that creator of the John Wick franchise Derek Kolstad, who also wrote Nobody wrote it so that Nobody is a complete standalone project with some of the same flair from John Wick. Fingers crossed these two may team up in the future.
That’s what makes up Nobody’s DNA. It’s too difficult to not compare the two given the similarities but thankfully the structure and tone is vastly different between the two properties. Thank you, Derek, for not setting off Hutch Mansell (Bob Odenkirk) the way you set off John Wick – the entire world thanks you for not breaking our hearts again. Hutch appears to be a normal guy with a normal life, which the opening montage blatantly suggests. Monday through Friday it’s the same thing over and over like life is an infinite time loop of doom. He misses the garbage truck every Tuesday – you think he’d learn his lesson and wake up earlier or bring the can to the curb the night before.
As the film digs deeper, there is a realization that Hutch is in a loveless marriage to his wife Becca (Connie Neilson) with two kids Blake (Gage Munroe) and Sammy (Paisley Cadorath) one of which gives Hutch zero respect and affection. There’s the dead-end job which yields zero satisfaction, and the countless times Hutch is either jogging, doing pull ups or swiping his MetroCard to and from work. He’s living the American dream.
“There’s a long dormant piece of me that so very badly wants out.”
Nobody takes what made John Wick successful and adds a tone that you wouldn’t think would work but it does – comedy. Nobody isn’t as dark and that’s where Bob Odenkirk comes in handy. Since he’s focused more of his career as a comedian (though most probably know him as Saul Goodman from Breaking Bad & Better Call Saul) the question raised is – how well can Bob fare in an action movie? The answer is, he holds his own and is actually believable in his leading role. He’s an actual badass compared to Keanu who we all already knew he was badass.
Just like with John Wick, Nobody has some of the best action sequences and stunt work in recent memory. Each action sequence is handled with care and the choreography elevates each scene at hand. This is where the comparisons to John Wick are plain as day anything Keanu can do; Bob can do too and its incredible to watch these two excel at the highest level of stunt work and action sequences. There’s a sense of elegance and poetry when Hutch catches the champagne bottle and smashes into a thugs head or when he’s moving silently from room to room taking out soldiers one by one.
Nobody’s story is pretty simple – we don’t go to these types of movies for the story just the absolute carnage that ensues. Nobody is a slow burn. The engine takes its time to rev up before Nobody even thinks of stepping on the gas. In fact, the anticipation for the action makes you want to watch more, it gets you invested in Hutch’s character and how this moment in his life came to be. A lot of time is spent building these character relationships with one another and we learn a lot about this family in the short time we are with them on this journey.
“They stole my kitty-cat bracelet.”
When the break in occurs the pace picks up, its action time, finally. But again, this first action sequence is made to further develop Hutch and his fractured relationship with his family and simultaneously introduce us to his father David (Christopher Lloyd) and his half-brother Harry (RZA) who both kick so much ass. I never once thought Christopher Lloyd would be this badass wielding 5 guns at once and switching between them like a navy seal. Obviously, Hutch could have stopped the two burglars but didn’t. We find out why later on but what sets Hutch off is his daughters kitty cat bracelet was taken in the theft of a few dollar bills by some desperate people.
Nobody’s main storybeats pick up after Hutch has a run in with a Russian drug lord Yulian’s (Aleksei Serebryakov) brother Teddy (Aleksander Pal) and beats him half to death. With these films, the story isn’t usually the focal point of the movie but what draws us in the most is the world building that comes out of the story. As things move along, bits and pieces of Hutch’s previous life is sprinkled throughout giving some sort of exposition. Derek Kolstad gives just enough information to satisfy our need to understand Hutch, but I want more. I’m now invested in this universe the way I was invested in John Wick. Kolstad could easily make a sequel that dives deeper into the lore and mythology that’s set up – fingers crossed.
Nobody though taking inspiration from John Wick doesn’t try to imitate that franchise. Writer Derek Kolstad allows Nobody to stand on its own two feet and be its own thing. Bob Odenkirk proves his range as a performer as a high-powered killer, same can be said about Christopher Lloyd. Action sequences and stunt work prove to be in Derek Kolstad skill set with how he creates his universes and characters. 4 out of 5.
So, tell me, have you seen Nobody and if so, what do you think about it? Do you agree or disagree with me? Comment below or send me an email and let me know what you think.
Nobody is written by Derek Kolstad, directed by Ilya Naishuller, is Rated R and has an 80% on Rotten Tomatoes. Nobody was released on March 26, 2021 and has a runtime of 1 hour and 32 minutes. Nobody is currently in theaters.