April 9, 2021 – The only reason I went to see this movie was because of the good reviews it was getting. I'm glad I saw it, despite all that ultraviolence. It is a fun movie to watch if you don't take it seriously.
There have been many movies and TV shows with similar themes like this, including the “Death Wish” series and the “Kung Fu” and “Equalizer” TV series and recent “Taken,” “John Wick” and “Equalizer” movies.
These productions all share similar kinds of stories, you have what appears to be an ordinary man, or woman, who is so well trained, talented and smart that no matter how many bullets the bad guys shoot at him or her, they do very little damage. Meanwhile, the hero efficiently kills or disables all the bad guys, singlehanded, no matter the odds.
Into this well-worn genre steps one Hutch Mansell (played by Bob Odenkirk of “Little Women”) who kills dozens of people in this movie, and has fun doing it, at least some of the time. A former government assassin, he has retired to a quiet life, working for a small manufacturing operation. Everything is quiet, but Hutch is bored with his life, until ...
Two small time crooks break into Hutch's home at night. Hutch gets the drop on the woman holding a gun on his son, who has the other crook in a choke hold. Hutch suddenly changes his mind about attacking the woman with a golf club and orders his son to let the other crook go. The reason is explained later.
Everybody but Hutch's wife, Becca Mansell (Connie Nielson of the “Wonder Woman” movies) who evidently knows the truth about his secret former life, thinks Hutch is a coward because of this decision. He begins to second-guess his response to this situation, and this eats at him.
This feeling eventually leads him to get into a big fight on a bus, which, in turn, makes Hutch an enemy of a dangerous organized crime boss, Yulian Kuznetsov (Aleksey Serebryakov). The crime boss sends his minions after Hutch at his home, endangering Hutch's family, and this leads to an all out war between Hutch and Kuznetsov.
The body count in this movie is very high, but the deaths are not presented in a serious, or overly graphic way. One character who adds a lot to the entertainment value of the film, besides Hutch, is David Mansell, Hutch's father.
David is played with gusto by veteran actor Christopher Lloyd, best known for his mad scientist role in the tremendously popular “Back to the Future” movie series. Lloyd's character, David, is priceless in this film. A mysterious character, Harry Mansell (played by RZA of “The Man With the Iron Fists”) is heard, but not seen, until very late in the movie.
This is a very polished, well-crafted movie, with a lot of slick comic touches. The fight scenes are expertly staged by action director Ilya Naishuller (“Hardcore Henry”). The camera work by Pawel Pogorzelski (“Midsommar”) and editing are impressive. The arc of Derek Kolstad's screenplay (Kolstad also wrote the screenplay for the first three “John Wick” movies) is compelling.
This genre film is quite violent and unbelievable, but it is so witty, so unserious and so well crafted that it is fun to watch. This film rates a B.
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