Bob Odenkirk hangs up his briefcase and mighty pen for the law offices of Saul Goodman and turns it all in for guns, knives, explosives, and hand-to-hand combat in Nobody, which is a less serious sibling to the John Wick universe. It's a fun ride, even though a lot of the elements have been seen very recently before on the big screen, but the cast led by Odenkirk is top-notch and delivers fantastic performances along with an impressive climactic fight scene that guarantees audible cheers. Nobody is a good start into another fun action franchise, despite some small issues.
Nobody is helmed by Ilya Naishuller (Hardcore Henry), who is no stranger to action films, and written by Derek Kolstad, who wrote all three John Wick films, which is blatantly evident in almost every sequence in this movie, although there is no mention of Wick or that specific universe here. Nobody centers on Hutch Hansell (Odenkirk), an average-joe family man, who is quiet, does his repetitive job at his wife Becca's (Connie Nielsen) family's company, and comes home and is almost non-existent to the point where he is too timid to speak to his kids or even have a fruitful relationship with his beautiful wife. He even misses trash day consistently every week and will do anything to avoid confrontation and conflict with anyone.
One night, a group of masked thugs breaks into his house to rob it and end up getting in a scuffle with his teenage son Blake. Hutch has an angle on these robbers where he can easily take them out with a weapon, but he chooses not to do anything, which results in his wife and son being extremely disappointed in him where their relationship deteriorates fast, as he becomes a metaphorical punching bag and the laughing stock of the family - even more so than he was. Hutch then transforms into his true self, a former hardcore killing machine assassin, trained by an elite force of the government, who has kept his real identity hidden from his family as he tracks the thugs that broke into his house and stole some heirlooms.
By chance on a bus, he gets in a huge fight with a Russian gang and completely obliterates all of them, but he gets more than he bargained for when they are connected to a giant Russian mafia. This sets in motion all the henchmen coming after this seemingly gentle and dorky middle-aged man to meet their extremely violent end. Of course, he has help on his side with two phenomenal and exciting performances by Christopher Lloyd and RZA.
As Nobody plays out, it's very easy to see and count the many similarities to John Wick, from the backstory to character arcs, to even a small pet friend the main character takes a liking to. This all being said, it's different enough to keep its core alive and entertaining from start to finish, even if the film has a relatively slow start in setting up characters that are so familiar. But once the action hits the ground floor, it keeps blasting at full speed and doesn't really stop, culminating in an applause-worthy action-packed finale full of bloody carnage and gun-fu, made famous by John Wick, but with an added Home Alone element of a place being rigged with deadly traps.
Naishuller knows explicitly how to shoot an action sequence, but never uses his full ability into the final act, making for some interesting and odd edits up until the climax, by using quick cuts and never allowing the entire sequence to play out in full and see the full damage - that is until the end, which again is something special. Odenkirk plays it straight and narrow here but turns on the violent rage when he needs to and it's completely believable. None of this slimy charm from Saul Goodman is evident or on display in Nobody. RZA is a fantastic addition to this universe and film and Christopher Lloyd out of nowhere deserves his own film because he definitely steals the show.
Nobody walks the same line as John Wick does, but doesn't really live up to that franchise, at least with this first film in telling small bits of this elite assassin universe or even with its action until the final battle scene. That being said, there is still much to explore with these characters and setting, which may or may not tie into a John Wick world at some point in time. Nobody is a perfectly fun and lively action film that brings some hard-hitting punches that will knock anyone's teeth out.