Bob Odenkirk, best known for playing a gutter lawyer Better call Saul, isn’t the first name that springs to mind to claim the offended Everyman action slot recently vacated by Liam Neeson. But from the opening shot — battered face with crosshatching, bound hands effortlessly opening a Zippo lighter — the question isn’t the cast, but why it’s taken Hollywood so long to weaponize Odenkirk’s indescribable cool.
He plays Hutch Mansell, a sad calculator in his father-in-law and husband’s factory who is aborted by his distant wife (Connie Nielsen). Biting edits offer a flip-book summary of the daily frustrations of Hutch’s life, and Russian director Ilya Naishuller combines a striking kinetic verve with a crackle of wry humor.
When thieves break into his home, Hutch chooses de-escalation rather than retaliation with baseball bats – the right thing – but he feels weakened in the eyes of his family. The event stirs something in him, but it’s the realization that the thieves have stolen his daughter’s Kitty Cat bracelet that unleashes a long dormant lust for justice (on the job with knives, guns, grenades, fire extinguishers and his pensioner- father who escaped from the retirement home and is armed to the teeth).
Hutch finds a worthy opponent in “affiliated, funded sociopath” Yulian (Aleksey Serebryakov), a Russian in a shiny suit who looks like he’s skinned a live shark. And if that all sounds a little John Wick-a-like, that’s perhaps to be expected — the films share a writer in Derek Kolstad, Hollywood’s go-to for insanely violent, hyper-adrenaline-pumping popcorn thrills. It’s a great time.