Nobody ★★★½

Absolutely nobody will be surprised to hear this, but this is a huge amount of fun. Saul Goodman getting all bitter and gnarly and taking a load of Russian thugs to the cleaners? Yes please.

When you’re contending with a project that was written by the guy who devised the John Wick franchise; produced by the man who directed Atomic Blonde; and directed by a musician who is best known for creating Hardcore Henry... you know pretty much what to expect—i.e. a film that is going to be both wince-inducingly violent, and ceaselessly entertaining from start to finish. Nobody fits that bill perfectly.

The mechanics of the plot? Not really important, but essentially Odenkirk’s protagonist, Hutch, is a depressive, downtrodden family man, working a menial job and living a dreary suburban existence, who just so happens to be hiding a violent past as a former CIA assassin. He’s been trying to lead an ordinary life just like everyone else, but when he and his family are suddenly targeted by the Russian mafia, Hutch has no choice but to let loose. Naturally, things get nasty real quick. 

Every revenge flick has a triggering event that pushes its hero over the edge. For John Wick it was the death of his pup. For Hutch it is the invasion of his home and the theft of his daughter’s “kitty cat bracelet”.

It’s enough to drive anyone mad, but we sense that Hutch just wants to let off some steam after long years trapped in a life that he takes little pleasure in. Everyone around him thinks he’s a coward (including his highly objectionable son) but now he’s presented with the perfect opportunity to demonstrate his “worth” and prove the doubters wrong. All of a sudden, he is jumping at the chance to pick a fight and pound his adversaries into the dirt.

Sometimes, this is precisely the sort of brainless nonsense that I am looking for; but it’s especially rewarding when said nonsense is more than aware of its own stupidity. Moments of visceral, bodily carnage abound here, but they are countered with the most delightfully preposterous narrative developments, which keep the tone disarmingly breezy. There’s a brawl on a bus that is so punishingly physical, it will make you feel like you’ve been through the wringer yourself; but then an 80-year-old shotgun-wielding Christopher Lloyd will enter the scene and start pumping goons full of lead. There’s even a bizarre cameo from RZA, who turns up with barely any introduction—but somehow within the film’s context it seems entirely natural; and, more importantly, completely necessary.

This is big, dumb, popcorn cinema, done extremely well. Quite frankly, I’d be amazed if anyone isn’t thoroughly entertained by it.

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