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Ilya Naishuller
Bob Odenkirk, Christopher Lloyd, Connie Nielsen
Writing Credits:
Derek Kolstad

A bystander who intervenes to help a woman being harassed by a group of men becomes the target of a vengeful drug lord.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English Dolby Atmos
English DVS
Spanish Dolby 7.1
French Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 91 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 6/22/2021

• Audio Commentary with Director Ilya Naishuller
• Audio Commentary with Director Ilya Naishuller and Actor Bob Odenkirk
• Deleted Scenes
• “Hutch Hits Hard” Featurettte
• “Breaking Down the Action” Featurette
• “Just a Nobody” Featurette
• DVD Copy


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Nobody [Blu-Ray] (2021)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 20, 2021)

Back in the 1990s, Bob Odenkirk earned his initial fame as half of the duo at the core of the sketch comedy series Mr. Show. Though he moved into more dramatic fare and headed the Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul for years, I think he remains viewed as an actor most affiliated with comedy.

Now 58 years old, Odenkirk never seemed like someone who would get a role as an action hero, but 2021’s Nobody lands him in that improbable spot. Hey, we all thought Bruce Willis seemed like a strange choice for Die Hard in 1988 as well, so minds should remain open!

Middle-aged Hutch Mansell (Odenkirk) leads what seems like a painfully routine and blah life. His relationship to wife Becca (Connie Nielsen) appears strained – they maintain a literal barrier between their sides of the bed – and his teen son Blake (Gage Munroe) routinely disrespects him.

Hutch also finds himself stuck in a job where he works for Becca’s father Eddie (Michael Ironsides), a place where he often gets hassled by brother-in-law Charlie (Billy MacLellan). Only Hutch’s young daughter Abby (Paisley Cadorath) shows him any affection.

As it happens, Hutch hides a secret that links to his prior life, and when he sees drunken louts hassle a young woman on a bus, he reconnects with his past – and reconnects violently. Hutch displays stunning talents as a fighter, and this brawl eventually leads to the death of Teddy Kuznetkov (Aleksandr Pal), one of the inebriated jerks.

This creates a problem, as Teddy’s older brother Yulian (Alexey Serebryakov) acts as an “enforcer” for the Russian mob. Though Yulian loathed Teddy, he feels a responsibility to get vengeance for the family, and this leads him on a collision course with Hutch.

If I want to find a negative side to Nobody, I’d cite a certain lack of originality. Fans of the John Wick franchise will recall that a similar conflict related to the death of a Russian mobster’s relative prompted a lot of plot points as well.

The allusions and influences don’t end there, though. We find a lot of Red here as well as some Death Wish and other action flicks. Heck, we even find a dash of Home Alone for good measure!

Given how many obvious connections Nobody shares with these projects, it should come across as a half-baked retread that flops. However, despite all those precursors, it manages to feel like its own movie – and a pretty thrilling one at that.

This seems even more remarkable given that Nobody barely attempts a plot. We just get a sad sack who becomes rejuvenated after he re-embraces his true calling. Sure, the Yulian side offers some drama, but to call this a “story” would seem to overestimate the clarity of the narrative.

None of this matters, though, as Nobody gets it right where it counts: with the action. As I write this, I just saw Godzilla vs. Kong, a movie that goes in the opposite direction.

GvK wastes too much time with useless character and plot moments, and its action suffers. By contrast, Nobody builds these elements only as much as it needs to set up the fights, and it lets the latter explode.

Literally and figuratively, of course, as Nobody comes with plenty of violent fireworks. It doesn’t rely on sheer firepower, though, as it creates action scenes the pop off the screen.

Odenkirk proves shockingly credible as our hero. As noted, he feels like an odd choice, but damn if he doesn’t make us believe Hutch as an ultimate badass.

Again, we get clear comparisons to John Wick, as both movies come with characters who left behind their violent pasts for human connections. Odenkirk satisfies more than Keanu Reeves because he pulls off both the dramatic needs of the role as well as the physical side, whereas Reeves only can handle the latter.

I do like that Nobody doesn’t treat Hutch’s journey in a simplistic manner. When we see him go from beaten-down schlub to virile alpha, I feared that the movie would leave the impression that the only “real man” is one who engages in violence.

As much as I love the original Die Hard, I always disliked the bit at the end where Sgt. Powell needs to shoot a character to “prove his masculinity”. This seems to be the path Hutch takes.

However, Nobody doesn’t leave matters in that simplistic tone, as instead, it paints Hutch’s violent tendencies as more of a curse than a blessing. Does he only feel alive when he lashes out? Yes, but we see that he still aspires to be get away from that – he simply finds it hard to resist the dark desires at his core.

I appreciate that complexity, especially given the beat-em-up elements that dominate Nobody. As mentioned, the movie doesn’t wear us down with character moments, so this little bit of insight goes a long way.

Much of Nobody seems ludicrous, far-fetched and over the top – and God love the filmmakers for that. Consistently vibrant and exciting, this becomes a pretty terrific little action flick.

Footnote: a tag scene appears early in the end credits.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B+/ Bonus B

Nobody appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The picture looked fine most of the time.

Sharpness was generally good but not exceptional. A few shots showed some softness, but those were fairly minor instances, and they largely reflected the movie’s stylistic choices.

I noticed no jaggies or moiré effects, and edge haloes never manifested itself. In addition, the film failed to display any print defects.

Like most modern action flicks, this one opted for stylized hues, with an emphasis on the standard amber and teal, though it threw in bold reds and purples at times as well. Within those constraints, the colors seemed fine, as they showed appropriate range.

Blacks were dark and full, and shadows showed good range. Outside of some softness, this became a satisfying presentation.

Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the Dolby Atmos soundtrack of Nobody also worked well. Various action elements offered the most active use of the spectrum. This was especially true during pieces with weapons fire and fights, and a few other sequences used the various channels in a satisfying way.

The action scenes didn’t emerge on a relentless basis, but when they appeared, they utilized the soundscape in an engrossing manner. In addition, we got some localized speech and music made active use of the different channels.

Audio quality pleased. Speech was concise and natural, without edginess or other issues.

Music showed good range and vivacity, while effects worked nicely. Those elements came across as accurate and full, with solid low-end response and positive definition. All of this added up to a “B+”.

When we move to extras, we find two separate audio commentaries, the first of which comes from director Ilya Naishuller and actor Bob Odenkirk. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/characters, cast and performances, action and stunts, and related domains.

At times, we get decent insights, such as when Odenkirk discusses how his real-life experiences with break-ins influenced his work. However, too much of the track just features Odenkirk as he laughs and/or narrates the film, with Naishuller as a semi-infrequent participant. We don’t learn a lot in this disappointing discussion.

For the second commentary, we get director Ilya Naishuller all on his own. He provides a running, screen-specific take on story/character areas and deleted scenes, sets and locations, budgetary restrictions and influences, cast and performances, music, stunts/action, cinematography and connected subjects.

Whereas Naishuller took a backseat in the first commentary, he proves very chatty here. Because he seemed semi-quiet when paired with Odenkirk, I feared he'd leave lots of dead air here, but that doesn't occur.

Instead, Naishuller gives us a lot of content here and moves along the discussion at a good pace. Whereas the first chat disappoints, this one works very well.

Three Deleted Scenes span a total of four minutes, 58 seconds. All of these look at efforts for various parties to dig into Hutch’s past, though here it’s Hutch’s father-in-law who asks. These offer an intriguing alternate plot line, though not one the movie needed.

Three featurettes follow, and Hutch Hits Hard goes for three minutes, 52 seconds. It involves Odenkirk, Naishuller, stunt coordinator/2nd unit director Greg Rementer, producers Kelly McCormick and David Leitch, fight coordinator/cast trainer Daniel Bernhardt, fight coordinator/stunt performer Kirk A. Jenkins and actor RZA.

“Hard” examines Odenkirk’s training and the movie’s stunts/actions. Some decent notes emerge and I like the behind the scenes footage, but a lot of “Hard” just praises Odenkirk.

Breaking Down the Action splits into four subdomains, with a full running time of 19 minutes, seven seconds. Across these, we hear from Odenkirk, Leitch, Naishuller, Rementer, Jenkins, Bernhardt, RZA, special effects fabricator Shayne Elliott, stunt performer Brayden Jones, and actor Christopher Lloyd.

As expected, we get details about the movie’s various fight sequences. Despite some of the usual happy talk, these clips usually provide some good insights.

Finally, Just a Nobody lasts 12 minutes, 53 seconds and features Odenkirk, Neishuller, Leitch, McCormick, RZA, producers Braden Aftergood and Marc Provissiero, and actors Connie Nielsen and Alexey Serebryakov.

“Just” covers story/characters, action scenes, cast and performances, and a few other areas. It becomes a serviceable overview, though it can repeat info from elsewhere.

The disc opens with ads for Promising Young Woman and The Marksman. No trailer for Nobody appears here.

As a story of an aging badass who tries to get out but finds himself pulled back in, Nobody never becomes especially original. However, the movie pulls off its action and thrills with such style and aplomb that I don’t care. The Blu-ray brings good picture and audio along with a fairly nice array of bonus materials. Nobody turns into a wry and exciting flick.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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