Thursday, April 15, 2021


Bob Odenkirk, who headlines this movie, is best known for his roles in "Breaking Bad" and (I think) its spinoff series, "Better Call Saul" – neither of which I've ever seen. Connie Nielsen, who plays his wife, was in Gladiator and Wonder Woman. Other cast members include hip hop artist RZA, Christopher Lloyd of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Back to the Future fame, Michael Ironside of, well, you know, and Colin Salmon, who played Oliver Queen's stepfather in the first season of Arrow – along with a bunch of Russian actors and some talent I'm just not familiar with. You could call it an ensemble flick, in the sense that it has a lot of characters who spend their time on screen mostly trying to kill each other. It's a super violent flick. It made me laugh out loud. It was the first movie I've seen in the theater since, I believe, Onward more than a year ago. I had the time of my life.

Odenkirk plays a guy named Hutch who used to be an assassin for the USA's "three-letter agencies," but who retired to settle down with a wife and kids. Now, he admits in a therapeutic chat with a group of bad guys he is about to incinerate, it seems he may have overcorrected. His life has become a blur of meaningless routines: disrespected by his teenage son, married to a woman who no longer lets him touch her, holding down a boring job at a company that his father-in-law (Ironside) refuses to sell to him, and basically led by the nose by a cute little daughter. One night, he lets a couple of home-invasion burglars get away unscathed even though it's in his power to mess them up. But then the little girl's kitty-cat bracelet goes missing, and he goes looking for it, and on the way home from an unsuccessful attempt to shake down the burglars for it, he relieves his feelings by messing up a bunch of low-level Russian gangsters who are threatening a young woman on a city bus. This is just the start of where the feces impinges upon the air circulation device.

Lloyd plays Odenkirk's dad, who lives in a nursing home but still has some fight in him, too. Based on the credits, RZA seems to be Odenkirk's brother, though within the movie he seemed more like an asset that Odenkirk had helped to disappear. They join him for a climactic battle that is just the tip-top part of an action fest accompanied by perfectly selected and (at crucial moments) synced tracks of music. You may think Odenkirk messed with the wrong people, but actually he proves to be the wrong people to mess with. By the way, stay for a mid-credits Easter egg scene.

Three Scenes That Made It For Me: (1) The framing scene in which Odenkirk, handcuffed to a table in an interrogation room, pulls out a cigarette and a lighter, lights up; then pulls out a can of tuna and a can opener, and opens it; then pulls out a kitten and starts stroking it while it eats the tuna. One of the interregators says, "Who are you?" He says, "Me? I'm ... " Well, you don't need me to draw a picture. The first time this scene played, it made me feel like laughing. The bit where I laughed out loud was at the end of the movie, however, where the look on the cops' faces wordlessly conveys the information that they've just been ordered to let him go and forget they ever saw him. (2) Odenkirk goes out to his car, after having baited the boss bad guy in his own nightclub, and sits at the wheel with his fingers crossed, praying that the goons will come out and start chasing him. The ensuing shoot-em-up chase scene incorporates the song "Heartbreaker" in the chief example of what I meant before about perfectly chosen and synced music. (3) The brother-in-law gets a punch in the gut. Obviously, he's going to have to re-think his relationship with Hutch.

EDIT: I'm indebted to movie blogger Matthew Liedke for alerting me to the existence of this movie. His review, which I was typesetting yesterday to reprint in my newspaper, got me interested and I found out that it was playing, last night and tonight only, before it leaves the screen of the theater three towns down the road from me. I'm glad I caught it!

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