This is a silly, gory and superbly paced shoot ‘em up starring the wonderful Bob Odenkirk (so memorably scuzzy as Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad). It’s fair to say that the 58 year-old actor isn’t your typical action hero. Can he compare with genre legends such as Keanu Reeves or Liam Neeson? Nah, he’s like the love child of Bruce Willis and a pair of tatty old socks. Still, if you’re looking for rumpled charm, he’s your guy.
Hutch (Odenkirk) is a nice, average joe with a long-dormant secret identity. Patronised by his careerist wife (Connie Nielsen; not at all stretched), he’s viewed as beneath contempt by various wannabe-alpha males. Hutch’s wild side, however, is unleashed after a home invasion. Suddenly, he’s cruising for a bruising, and a flesh-slicing altercation with some Russian yobs leads, inevitably, to an almighty showdown with a sadistic drug lord, Yulian (Aleksei Serebryakov) who happens to be obsessed by happy-shiny dance music. As a big fan of The Roop’s Discoteque, I couldn’t get enough of Yulian.
The cinematography and the script (by John Wick’s Derek Kolstad) push toxically old-school values. Cigarettes are sexy. A woman’s place is in a bunker. But Odenkirk’s line readings, by suggesting there’s a homoerotic subtext to all ultraviolence, prove subversive. Upon spotting a bunch of goons, Hutch purrs, “I’m gonna f*** you.” There’s definitely a pause before he adds the word “up”.
Basically, the film’s ebullience is irresistible, and Christopher Lloyd, as Hutch’s retired FBI agent dad, is a laconic joy. The whole thing apparently cost $16m to make. Many a tough-guy movie has been made on the cheap. But Nobody does it better.
92mins, cert 18.In cinemas