'Nobody' is the Perfect Action Movie Mold

Ever wonder what John Wick with a 401(k) might look like?

From the producers of John Wick comes Nobody, an action movie cut from the same cloth and very possibly made of the same exact material. Bob Odenkirk plays the resident badass who unsuspectingly is, well, a badass. But instead of some rich assassin recluse, Odenkirk’s character is a regular guy, a family man who gave up his violent life to start a family and, as he says in the trailer “might have overcorrected.”

The trailer itself is about as distilled as an action movie trailer can be. After establishing Odenkirk’s character as a seemingly normal guy (if weirdly pensive about burglars breaking into his home), we get a cut scene of him punching a brick wall and delivering the trailer’s second-best line of dialogue—”there’s a long-dormant piece of me that so very badly wants out.” He utters the trailer’s (and likely the movie’s) best line just moments later: “I’m gonna fuck you up.”

John Wick somewhat redefined the pure action movie genre. Its popularity was striking but fairly easy to explain: people love a righteous badass who lays beatings on people that have it coming to them. A through line that pure doesn’t need any additives or fancy frills—just some cool shots, a little basic dialogue to move the story along, and (of course) epic fight scenes. When all you’re doing is watching someone kick ass and take names for 90 minutes, everything outside of that becomes background noise.

Nobody appears to take the no-frills action movie a step further. It strengthens the main character’s anonymity, even providing a backstory that explains it away. It’s got some the same trappings of John Wick, including a kitty bracelet replacing a murdered puppy as one of the main character’s motivations. Odenkirk himself isn’t a physically imposing guy or they type of actor you’d typecast as an action hero. But while Wick might’ve lived in a mansion purchased with the absurd earnings from a life of lucrative contract killing, Odenkirk’s character is just a regular everyday guy chilling with his family in a split-level suburban home. In fact, the trailer makes a point of heightening his regularness at every turn—people in his life wonder why he didn’t do more to the burglars at the beginning of the trailer, and his own son seems clearly pissed at him for it.

That general resentment is exactly why Nobody is destined to succeed whether it’s ever released in theaters or not (thanks, COVID!). We like watching badasses beat up bad guys because we all identify with the badass. Secretly we think there’s a badass like that inside all of us. Making the main character even more of a regular schmo before revealing he’s an indestructible, stone cold killer will inevitably make some people cringe. But it’s also is a guarantee to entertain.