4 out of 5 stars
“Nobody” is the perfect action-packed film that will give you a good Friday night adrenaline boost and a couple of laughs, although the plot is implausible, like most action films these days.
The film stars Bob Odenkirk as middle-aged family man Hutch Mansell who falls into a boring loop of life. Work, home, falling out-of-love with his wife, missing the trash man on Thursday and then doing it all over again every week.
When someone breaks into his home, Hutch makes a decision to let the intruders go instead of physically defending his family, leading to a great deal of ridicule and emasculation from his neighbors and co-workers who all claimed they wouldn’t have let the intruders go if they had been in the same situation.
When Hutch finally cannot take any more of his seemingly boring life, he awakens a part of himself that he thought he buried, wandering down a path of familiar violence that leads him to a Russian gang craving redemption, resulting in Hutch’s revived lust for vindictive justice.
Before you read further, I am quite adept at accidentally spilling some key plot points, so heed my warning. For those who are turning back now, I recommend seeing this movie, at least once, but it is incredibly fictitious, like something pulled out of a middle-aged man’s fantasy.
Welcome, those of you ready to discuss the good and the bad of “Nobody.”
First off, I love a good story about someone tired of their middle-class suburban lifestyle, wanting action and eventually mucking up their lives because they can’t help but fall victim to their past.
This story is exactly that and does a great job of building it up. Our main character Hutch used to be a secret agent for the U.S. government, although you wouldn’t know that by the way he refuses violence when two people enter his home, demanding money.
Hutch seems almost superhuman in his ability to face off against an entire caravan of ruffians and the Russian mafia. Looking at his résumé, which doesn’t exist because the government referred to his secret agent persona as “Nobody,” it all makes sense.
But this lovely characteristic does not present itself until his entire house goes into attack mode when he skillfully hides his family behind his high-tech locking basement door. It is postulated at one point in the film that the man known as “Nobody” is someone you don’t want barking up your tree, because if he does, he’ll burn the whole tree down with you in it.
What I think is great about this plot is that it really appeals to the double lifestyle that we all wished we lived. From Hannah Montana to Mr. and Mrs. Smith, there is nothing we want more than to be perceived one way on the outside but have a total badass life on the inside.
With all the exaggerated violence, guns, family history and so much more, there are a couple of things that I really have to critique.
First, what is the story behind Hutch’s brother and father? His brother, Harry, is played by RZA (Robert Fitzgerald Diggs) and his father (my favorite character) is played wonderfully by Christopher Lloyd. All three men are skilled mercenary spy types but are hiding in plain sight, like the father being perceived as a classic old man who everyone thinks is old and frail when, in reality, he can use a shotgun to kill with precision.
I would honestly love a follow up movie where it is just Christopher Lloyd and RZA running around America, taking down bad guys and fooling strangers into thinking they’re just innocent men going on vacation.
Also, ignoring this story inevitably left the film feeling like they just had to throw in a Black man as one of the main characters to be inclusive. I don’t like that. Not one bit. Make the character matter.
Second, where are all the women? I’ll be really honest on this one; the whole story just screams beer, mancaves and guns — all the typical male tropes. The only great female character was a skilled hacker, smart enough to pack up and quit working for the mafia the moment she found U.S. classified information on “Nobody.”
And of course, the mafia attackers were all men. Not a single woman in sight.
Third, why are Russians always portrayed to be the same old, money-thirsty, accented individuals who love vodka and Russian music?
The one thing I thought was interesting was the couple of comments made by the mafia leader’s right-hand man, a Russian Black man played by Araya Mengesha. Something that many “have not seen before.”
I suppose the importance of these comments made within the movie had some sort of significance related to the racial make-up of Russia, but it eluded me entirely if such meaning was present.
What would have made this particular point in the movie more relevant would have been if the mafia leader was played by Mangesha instead of the trope-ed up old, angry Russian man that every similar movie has been seen before. Plus, Mangesha was a far more talented actor, but his character was killed off in the first 30 minutes.
Overall, I give this film four stars out of five, purely based on the action and riveting violence.