Sunday, September 12, 2021

Retirement Plan

Films: Nobody
Format: DVD from Sycamore Public Library on rockin’ flatscreen.

Before I talk about Nobody in detail, I want to talk in general about action movies as a genre. We live in a world that has a huge number of problems, many of which seem completely unsolvable. But whatever our problems, we have solved the issue of making action movies. Over the last number of years, movies that would qualify as close as we’re likely to get to perfection. John Wick, the Raid movies, Fury Road, Kingsmen, much of the MCU, and a few others are better than anything from the past other than what we’re going to remember based on nostalgia.

For good or ill, Nobody is going to join that company. Everything I have to say that is positive about this film is something that could equally be said in the negative. It is the same perfection of those films listed above, but that’s just it—it’s the same perfection. Aside from the details, there isn’t anything you haven’t seen before here. And that’s both good and a little disappointing.

To put it simply, Nobody is a combination of A History of Violence and John Wick. A completely average guy named Hutch Mansell (Bob Odenkirk) lives a life of quiet desperation with his wife Becca (Connie Nielsen), his son Blake (Gage Munroe), and daughter Abby (Paisley Cadorath). Hutch is detached from his family in a lot of ways. In fact, he seems more or less detached from everything.

One night, he wakes up to a home invasion. A couple have broken into the house looking for money. Hutch manages to get them out of the house, but not before Blake attempts to take them out and gets a faceful of fist for his troubles. After the incident, Hutch is essentially treated as a nothing by his neighbor, his brother-in-law (Billy MacLellan), and his father-in-law (Michael Ironside), for whom he works. But the incident has awakened something in him, because Hutch Mansell is not who everyone things he is.

We learn eventually that Hutch Mansell was what is called an auditor. When the three-letter agencies decided that a mess needed to be cleaned up, Hutch was the one sent in to make sure that nothing leaked to anywhere else. He was the cleaner of cleaners, in other words, but has lived as a family man for years, searching for something else in his life to motivate him.

Of course, what’s going to happen eventually is that Hutch will be put in the middle of an active crime situation and he’ll react violently, in the way he used to. Unfortunately for him, one of the people he takes down and puts into a vegetative state is the brother of Yulian Kuznetsov (Aleksei Serebryakov), a Russian mob boss whose current job is handling the money for a collection of Russian mobsters. Now Yulian wants payback, and if he can’t get Hutch’s immediate family, he’ll go after his father (Christopher Lloyd), or, if he could find him, Hutch’s legally dead brother Harry (RZA).

Once we have the basics of the story, the rest of the film is action set pieces, and they are as good as you want them to be. One thing this does really well is it doesn’t make Hutch some sort of unstoppable action machine. He takes a lot of hits and a lot of damage, but he gives out a lot more than he gets, as we’d expect. There are hand-to-hand battles and firefights, and a solid car chase. Again, this is exactly what you expect, and they are as good as you expect.

One thing that Nobody does extremely well, and that’s tell the story efficiently. Action movies have become longer and more bloated in recent years. It seems like a miracle to find one that isn’t almost two-and-a-half hours long. Nobody comes in at just under 92 minutes including the credits. It’s refreshing as all hell.

Look, you’re not going to learn anything watching Nobody. You’ll see some action scenes that are different in the specifics from ones you’ve seen in the past but that are not otherwise remarkably different from the ones you have seen and enjoyed over the last decade or so. But if you like action movies, you will love the hell out of this. It’s fun. It’s got funny moments. The action is tremendous. And it’s over quickly instead of drawing things out forever.

Honestly, I hope that becomes a trend.

Why to watch Nobody: All of the action, about 60% of the length.
Why not to watch: Aside from the details you have seen all of this before.


  1. I love Bob Odenkirk so I'll watch this for him with low expectations. it's in my Netflix queue somewhere.

    1. Oh, I think you can raise your expectations. Nobody is nothing new, but it's fun and fast and the action is really good. But it's not rewriting the genre.

  2. I do want to see this as I just love the idea of an ordinary guy just killing people.

    1. I think you'll like it. I think anyone who has any love at all for action films will like it.