Ilya Naishuller’s Nobody wants to be John Wick with an older character who is past his prime in the form of Bob Odenkirk. The film succeeds in delivering some dynamic action, but fails to deliver anything deeper and turns out to be fairly forgettable.
Odenkirk stars as Hutch Mansell, an ordinary guy who is shown stuck in a rut. He goes to the same job and goes through the same routine with his wife (Connie Nielsen) and kids every day. One night, two burglars break into the house and Hutch does nothing aggressive to stop them. Despite his son getting punched in the eye, Hutch allows the thieves to leave unharmed. In his words, he wanted to “limit the damage.”
His daughter, the only person who shows him unending affection, tells Hutch she can’t find her kitty cat bracelet. That sends Hutch over the edge and sends him in the direction of the thieves. He is assisted by his elderly father David (Christopher Lloyd) and eventually finds the two burglars. Despite his desire to dole out justice, his morality wins over and he leaves frustrated and unfulfilled.
Luckily for Hutch, the bus ride home is intercepted by a gang of thugs who begin harassing a young girl. Under the pretense of protection, Hutch brutally dispatches the group before finally heading home. Unfortunately, the thugs were connected to a brutal Russian drug lord (Aleksei Serebryakov) who targets Hutch in retribution.
Odenkirk commits fully to both sides of the role. On the passive side, no one ever questions Hutch’s banality and it seems to uniquely suit Odenkirk. On the other side of the action, the long-time comedic actor possesses all the necessary traits and moves to pose as a believable force of death. Kudos to Odenkirk and the filmmakers for not having Hutch be an expert fighter and marksman without taking his own share of punches, knife wounds and gunshots.
The fights themselves are well-choreographed with a real sense of spatial awareness. While the John Wick universe is based more in the real world, Nobody leans more into fantastical elements involving the physics behind cannons that shoot rebar, bulletproof shields and the use of claymore mines as a close-combat weapon. The violence is plentiful and stylized, but never devolves into carnage. Gunshots usually end with the person simply dying and a grenade dispatches a villain by sending them flying across the room.
When the filmmakers decided to make a film that boils down to “John Wick, but funny,” they forgot the elements that made John Wick great. The world built around Hutch and the film is never fleshed out to any sort of interesting level. Hutch’s wife and kids get small developments, but nothing that makes them anything beyond stock. Lloyd gets to do a little action himself, but he portrays nothing more than an old guy who loves shooting people. Serebryakov portrays the main villain with quirks instead of personality. He butchers people, but he also sings karaoke…isn’t that fun! Well, it isn’t all that fun and doesn’t explain anything about him.
It feels like the filmmakers had a nugget of an idea, got Bob Odenkirk onboard and focused on him and his characters, while neglecting every other aspect that would invest an audience. Nobody is more interesting as an idea than in execution. The actual execution doesn’t land any memorable ideas or sequences to make it stick. That being said, I didn’t have a bad time watching it and I hope to see it on cable TV rotations in the coming years.