Starring Bob Odenkirk, Connie Nielsen, Aleksei Serebryakov, RZA, Michael Ironside, Colin Salmon
Directed by Ilya Naishuller
Rating: ** ½
Most reviewers have come down on this actioner with a ton of bricks condemning its ostensibly gratuitous violence in almost abusive tones. So ask them if they care ? They are too busy laughing all the way to the bank . Nobody is a top grosser at movie theatres in spite of the pandemic.
Something about this furious fable of a Common Man rising to take on the Russian mafia has clicked with audiences. It isn’t hard to understand why.Sitting locked away at home you do wish you could take control of the chaos , fix the scummy situation.
That’s what Hutch(played with kinetic spontaneity by Bob Odenkirk) does.He opens up that festering wound inside us, cleans up the mess, and stitches it up again nice and antiseptic. I must confess I quite liked the film’s seething first-half when Hutch , alienated from his family who don’t think much of him(wasn’t that true of even Albert Einstein?) goes through his daily routine of taking the garbage out(wait till you saw the garbage that he takes out at the end of the film), punching in to work, commuting back to his disadainful family etc.
The director hammers in the monotony to a hysterical proportion . We know Hutch will erupt, and he does.Half an hour into this pulverized picture show there is a violent outburst in a bus, the kind that Charles Bronson fans would recognize from Death Wish or nearer in time Keanu Reeves fans in John Wick.
But I believe Odenkirk has done something here that his predecessors would admire him for. The fight in the bus is not just a fight to save a girl from being attacked by a bunch of rowdies. It is Hutch’s payback time an enough-is-enough signal, unleashing a feast of fury that sends tingle up the audience’s supine over-rested spine.
The rest of the fights that follow just don’t match up to the sheer velocity and impact of the fight in the bus. The Russian mafia chipping in with a torrent of violence left me cold. There is a shootout in Hutch’s home where he locks his family into the basement and takes care of the mess, with bodies lying on sofas tables and every empty space, which seems too cold and calculated to appear as a spontenous gesture of violence.
More liberating in its impact is the role of Hutch’s father a retired FBI agent,played by veteran Christopher Lloyd, whose mob-hatred gets re-ignited when his son is under attack. The fury that is plastered across every frame is palpable. But that sense of justice which the common man is expected to feel after he erupts, is missing. You see, we were deceived.Hutch is not a common man. He is a hellraiser . He deserved a better screenplay.