Gone are the days when a film can get away with senseless violence without there being some kind of ‘art’ to it. I don’t say that because of cancel culture or anything to do with morals or something like that. I say that because of what audiences expect from films these days. I can remember a time when audiences would happily sit through, and enjoy, films that were pretty much just an action hero blowing away bad guys for 90 minutes – story was optional.
But due to television shows like The Walking Dead and a range of young filmmakers who found a way to mix art with action audiences expect something special from action flicks these days. Of course the franchises that are held in the highest regard are The Raid and John Wick and now those two have another brother-in-arms – Nobody.
Of course for those of us who like creative action films we had a little bit of an inkling that Nobody could be something special. Throw in a producer from John Wick and the director responsible for the incredibly under-rated Hardcore Henry and you had the right kind of cocktail to be creative and explosive.
The ‘nobody’ that the film centres around is Hutch Mansell (Bob Odenkirk – Better Call Saul). Mansell lives a nothing life, he is pushed around by his father-in-law and brother-in-law at work, he is bored with his job and it is easy to see that his wife (Connie Nielsen – Wonder Woman) and son (Gage Munroe – Brotherhood) have no respect for him at all. In their eyes he is simply a ‘loser.’
In fact the only person that seems to look up to him is his daughter (newcomer Paisley Cadorath) and even her respect level seems to drop after the family endures a violent home invasion and Hutch does nothing to protect them.
That seems to tip him over the edge though and as a secret side of Hutch is once again woken up he finds himself going after those that disrespected his family but in doing so sparks the anger of Russian mobster Yulian Kuznetsov (Aleksey Serebryakov – Leviathan) who wants bloody revenge of his own, and nothing will stand his way.
Just like with Hardcore Henry what makes director Ilya Naishuller’s work stand out here is just how creative he is when it comes to action and violence. Just like Gareth Evans did with the sensational The Raid Naishuller turns every action sequence and fight scene here like it is a piece of clay that needs to be moulded into a work of art. Like Evans’ bathroom stall scene Naishuller’s bus fight sequence here is something special – something that will be savoured by action fans right around the world and talked about for years to come.
Having said that though there are times though when it feels like screenwriter Derek Kolstad (John Wick) was trying to parody the franchise that he helped create rather than emulate it. Some of the lines here are just a little too cheesy to be accidental, especially the ‘give me the damn kitty cat bracelet’ scene and even the sequences around David (Christopher Lloyd – Back To The Future), while cool, feels like it was written tongue-in-cheek.
Having said that though Lloyd is fantastic here and seems to embrace the opportunity to handle big guns while shooting bad guys to smithereens – a role we have rarely seen him play during his career. Likewise the tough guy character is very different to what we have seen Odenkirk play in the past but he does it delightfully well and announces himself as a modern day unexpected action hero alongside the likes of Keanu Reeves and Robert Downey Jnr.
Nobody is a world of fun to watch and the impressive fight scenes are more than enough to over-shadow the weak storyline. Just be warned though if you did get squeamish during John Wick then you might want to give this one a miss but Nobody cranks up the blood and gore to a whole new level. Yes, this is a film for those that like their action with blood splatter.