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  Nobody Dad Gets Mad
Year: 2021
Director: Ilya Naishuller
Stars: Bob Odenkirk, Aleksey Serebryakov, Connie Nielsen, Christopher Lloyd, Michael Ironside, Colin Salmon, RZA, Billy MacLellan, Araya Mengesha, Gage Munroe, Paisley Cadorath, Aleksandr Pal, Humberly Gonzalez, Edsson Morales, J.P. Manoux, Adrian McLean
Genre: Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: Hutch Mansell (Bob Odenkirk) is a middle-aged man taken for granted. His family simply accept him, at work as an accountant for his father-in-law (Michael Ironside) he gets no respect, but no real disdain either, he may go jogging to keep in shape but the garbage men make a habit of missing out his house, and every weekday, at least, is more or less the same as another. But one night, something happens that changes all that. Two people break into his house to rob him, and though he approaches with a golf club raised, he cannot bring himself to attack, not even when his teenage son (Gage Munroe) tackles them and is punched for his trouble...

What a loser, right? That's what everyone is thinking, his son is barely speaking to him for good reason, the cop who attended the crime scene joking with him about his lack of gumption, and his brother-in-law (Billy MacLellan) offers him a handgun to defend himself since he obviously has nothing in that vein for looking after his family. Only Hutch's little daughter (Paisley Cadorath) sees nothing wrong with him, but he can tell his wife (Connie Nielsen) regards that as misplaced, and besides, they have grown apart in their marriage over the last year or so. There then follows a visual representation of our stolid, square hero getting his mojo back, big time.

Nobody was penned by Derek Kolstad, author of action sleeper blockbuster John Wick which seemed to annoy some audiences given how it was a variation on the theme. Here for Hutch the final straw is that in the paltry takings from the robbery, the little girl's favourite kitty cat bracelet was also taken, and he tips over the edge from suburban "nobody" to the sort of person you really don’t want to know, so just call him "nobody" and leave it at that. After exacting a little revenge on the burglars, he climbs on the bus home, remaining frustrated, and shortly after a group of thugs get on too, menacing the passengers and smugly threatening anyone who might stand up to them.

Then what happens is the kind of hand-to-hand combat that John Wick would be proud of, only with a few more knocks for Hutch since he's a little rusty. Rusty from where? The film does not go into too much detail, but if you've seen the eighties action flicks this gleefully built upon, you can use your imagination to plug the gaps as this was as much tribute as it was in the tradition of those favourites. And of course, if you actually watched those movies in the eighties, you would be slap bang in the target audience for this, as it was an ideal representation of a middle aged male fantasy where they can pretend they still have what it took to take care of themselves, or if they never really did, then they can recall how empowering it was to see those hero rescue premises play out when they were younger.

Eighties action had transformed into a cult genre in itself, and there had been a number of twenty-first century tributes to it, but rarely did they hit the target with quite the satisfying thwump as Nobody did. Naturally this idea of one guy maramalising an entire room of goons could be a toxic imagining, a power trip that would have horrendous consequences in real life, but when Hutch attracts the attention of Russian mobsters it gives the film the excuse to line up the baddies to be toppled by its protagonist's fighting prowess. That was because this was assuredly a movie movie, and any cold light of day had no place in its adventures. If you wanted pure escapism, this would fit the bill with ease, the choreography was crunchy but believable, Odenkirk, playing out his own empowerment musings by positing what if in every scene, was on excellent form, even getting in a few of his accustomed laughs, and it was very well cast. Any anti-Russian sentiment was defused by the director Ilya Naishuller being Russian himself (and knowing what he was depicting), and if anything, its sheer enthusiasm engendered a goodwill that would make any classic action fan's heart sing. Music by David Buckley.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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