One of the best action franchises out there right now is Lionsgate’s John Wick (2014- ), and its writer, Derek Kolstad is a big part of that as he is the current king of writing action—his episodes of Marvel and Disney’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (2021) are just further proof of this. One of the best actors right now (particularly on the small screen) is the phenomenal Bob Odenkirk, whose Emmy award performance as sleazy lawyer, Saul Goodman, in Breaking Bad (2009-2013) and Better Call Saul (2015- ) throttled him into the spotlight. Put these two incredible talents on a project, and you have got yourself an incredibly put together action ride that doesn’t disappoint.
Nobody (2021) follows a man, Hutch Mansell (played by Odenkirk), whose life is safe, monotonous, and filled with family discourse. After a house robbery shatters the family’s everyday routine, Hutch seeks out those who stole something of his daughter’s (played by Paisley Cadorath), but instead of finding what he was searching for, Hutch finds a woman being harassed on a bus. Bringing out remnants of his buried past to protect her, Hutch accidently finds himself in the sights of Russian crime-lord Yulian Kuznetsov (played by Aleksey Serebryakov).
This movie is an incredible thrill ride. In typical action movie fashion, the beginning is introduction of Hutch’s familial bonds and relations between his wife (played by Connie Nielsen), his daughter and son (played by Gage Munroe), and his father (played by Christopher Lloyd), but unlike a lot of action films, this setup was actually really well done and very enjoyable to watch. Once this set-up ends, this movie is non-stop glorious action with fantastically acted character moments sprinkled in. This well-balanced mix is just further proof of Kolstad’s incredible track record of writing and properly pacing an action story. That said, despite Kolstad’s impeccable writing, it is very clear that this film is missing something from not being a Chad Stahelski (director of all three John Wick films) project. The action shots, while very well done, did not carry the same level of weight, fluidity, and fantastical verisimilitude that I went in expecting from the film as it actively marketed as “From David Leitch, the producer of John Wick.” However, director Ilya Naishuller still did a more than exceptional job with this film (particularly the fast paced editing and great camera shots) despite reservations I had due to his Hardcore Henry (2015) movie which was a gimmicky, mediocre film.
Another great aspect to this film, that many other action films skip over, is the heart and fun that all of the fantastic performances bring out. The obvious star of this film is the lead himself—Odenkirk’s performance is fantastic. Odenkirk’s portrayal of restraint is both extremely tense and fun to watch, and when he let the restraint go, his rage is like a bombastic set piece in and of itself. I think a huge factor of Odenkirk’s performance is his chemistry with both Connie Nielsen and Christopher Lloyd—Nielsen’s performance was very subtle and fantastic and Lloyd’s was very crazy and fun. These two performances next to Odenkirk’s represent the two tones of the film and Odenkirk’s character flawlessly fitting into that tonal dichotomy.
The reopening theater season has kicked off with a bang between Godzilla v. Kong (2021) and now Nobody (2021) as these are both films to go back to the cinemas for. Nobody is fantastic R-rated action to stuff your face to popcorn to, and as per usual, is best seen on a massive theater screen. If you’re feeling comfortable with the safety precautions or are vaccinated, I highly recommend getting out and seeing this film.
Nobody (2021) is rated R for strong violence, bloody images, language throughout, and brief drug use.