Austin Burke’s review published on Letterboxd:
A bystander who intervenes to help a woman being harassed by a group of men becomes the target of a vengeful drug lord.
This movie is an absolute blast from top to bottom, and my criticisms don’t even bother my enjoyment as much as they normally would. We have clearly seen this story before, but it all comes down to the execution here. The obvious comparison is John Wick, and that is even more obvious when you realize that the film is purposefully using similar tropes, but how many 80’s Action films have we seen that feel like other 80’s Action films? It feels like we are being thrown back to that time, and I am here for it. I don’t have a game-changing point here, but I had absolutely no issue with this feeling similar. The difference here is stripping his weapon from him and focusing on the hand to hand fights that pack a punch. The choreography here is excellent.
You take Bob Odenkirk and give him the motivation needed to kick some ass, and I am immediately on board with the concept. The star of the show, other than the man himself of course, are the brutal fight scenes. They feel as gritty as you need them to, but there is never a moment that comes across as overcooked or cheap, even when the film injects a perfect sense of humor into almost every scene. It is also nice that they simplified the way to throw him into this madness. Nothing feels poorly written because of this simplicity, but there may be a lot to be desired from the story itself. We get a brief glimpse into how he can do what he does, but the film absolutely leaves you wanting a bit more from his backstory.
Nothing is given to us on the level of the hotel in John Wick (in terms of lore), but there is enough to get fans pumped for more from this universe. The nicest surprise here is the inclusion of Christoper Lloyd as his father. We get some moments between the two in the third act that are genuinely sweet and heartfelt (if you know, you know). Each scene involving a fight drops everything and focuses on that fight. Ilya Naishuller has this eye for action that we don’t often see in a movie like this. The camera is not too shaky, the cinematography is not flat, and whoever is involved in that scene gets an opportunity to shine. The limited dialogue also helps, as it feels like the ultimate throwback trope. Nobody is one heck of a time in the theater (or at home in my case), and this is one I will absolutely be watching again soon.