‘Nobody’ lands on familiar ground

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Movie theaters are slowly reopening again — including Rome Cinemas 8 on Erie Boulevard West — and one of the first new movies they get to show is the by-the-numbers, knock-off “Nobody” starring Bob Odenkirk.

Did you enjoy Kenau Reeves in “John Wick”? Or Liam Neeson in “Taken”? Well “Nobody” is exactly like those movies, but not as good. It’s not as well written. It’s not as much fun. But if all you want to see are bloody fistfights and endless gunfights, then “Nobody” will suffice. Honestly, I’m a little taken aback that “Nobody” isn’t a parody of those other films.

“Nobody” is currently playing at the Rome theater, which is taking various safety precautions due to the pandemic. Watch at your own risk.

Odenkirk plays a seemingly average Joe named Hutch who is emasculated one night when a couple of burglars break into his home and he doesn’t fight back. Everybody from his wife to his boss to the cops seem to think less of him for not defending his home with violence.

Then it turns out Hutch is a former government assassin, so he decides to dip back into that life to get revenge.

This escalates into a full-on war with the local Russian mafia, during which Hutch shoots and kills a lot of generic bad guys.

The problem with “Nobody” is that it is underwritten. The movie knows what it wants to be.

It desperately wants to be a new “John Wick” or “Taken” franchise. In fact, the script was written by the same guy who wrote the first three “John Wick” movies.

But gunfire alone does not make a movie. Bloody fights alone do not make a movie. “Nobody” has an almost insultingly basic plot. Some studio executive realized that Russian mobsters are the only bad guys you can use anymore without offending anybody, so they went with the most basic of Russian mobster stereotypes.

There’s no great incident that kicks everything off. No great mission for Odenkirk’s character to accomplish. No neat backstory to reveal. He’s just a government killer who goes on a supposedly justified killing spree of Russian bad guys.

Normally, Bob Odenkirk can be counted on to be hilarious. He’s a comedian with some real charm. But none of that is on display in “Nobody”.

He plays the typical gruff, low key, straight forward anti-hero. He does a fine job in the role, because he’s that good, but a little personality would have been nice.

“Nobody” is a waste of talent for everyone involved. It provides the most basic of big screen thrills in service of a severely underwritten script.

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