- Emma Simmonds
- 9 June 2021
Bob Odenkirk makes for an amusingly unlikely badass in this fun geriaction movie
It's a slightly odd phenomenon but younger, presumably fitter stars have long been kept out of the mainstream actioner game by men old enough to be their fathers, and often grandfathers. Joining the ranks of these 'geriaction' heroes is the particularly unlikely figure of Better Call Saul's Bob Odenkirk, in this OTT offering from the Russian director of Hardcore Henry, Ilya Naishuller, that smothers itself in lashings of enjoyably ludicrous middle-aged male fantasy.
Naishuller is working from a script by Derek Kolstad, the writer behind the John Wick trilogy – a franchise which his latest shamelessly seeks to evoke. Odenkirk plays Hutch Mansell, a pretty humdrum kinda guy with two kids and a beautiful wife (Connie Nielsen's Becca) who seems slightly indifferent to him, while his spirit-sapping routine includes a job at a metal fabrication company owned by his father-in-law Eddie (Michael Ironside).
But there's more to Hutch than meets the eye: there are allusions to a former career as a military 'auditor' and, although he shows great restraint when faced with intruders in his home (in a way that's deemed to be unmanly and humiliating), he's clearly holding back, and it's not long before we see the true breadth of his physical capabilities. Leviathan's Aleksey Serebryakov plays the film's 'big bad', Yulian, a well-funded Russian sociopath who is the babysitter of the Obshack – mountains and mountains of ever-moving currency. Hutch falls foul of Yulian when he hospitalises his brother following an incident on a bus.
Nobody feels a bit conceptually thin, leaning hard on the contrast between Hutch's unassuming appearance and outrageously badass skills. Despite the film's lack of narrative ingenuity, or sense, Naishuller shows enough directorial flair to keep things exciting and Odenkirk is a good fit for the character, though fans of Breaking Bad / Better Call Saul know what he's capable of given better material. This doesn't have the comic chops and dramatic nuance of those shows and, if appearances from Christopher Lloyd as Hutch's dad, Wu-Tang Clan's RZA and Colin Salmon add value, then the least said about Nielsen's pathetically side-lined role the better.
But there's something refreshingly knowing and unapologetic about the whole affair, with its cartoony approach to violent showdowns and Naishuller's eye-popping visuals resulting in some satisfying, properly bone-crunching entertainment. It's a slick and peppily-helmed operation and fans of hyper-stylised carnage will get more than their money's worth.
Available to watch in cinemas from Wed 9 Jun.