Movie Review – The Old Guard (2020)
The Old Guard – 2020

Director Gina Prince-Bythewood
Screenplay Greg Rucka based on the comic by Greg Rucka, Leandro Fernández
Starring Charlize Theron, KiKi Layne, Marwan Kenzari, Luca Marinelli, Harry Melling, Van Veronica Ngo, Matthias Schoenaerts, Chiwetel Ejiofor

Charlize Theron is Andy, the leader of a team of mercenaries who are hired to rescue a bunch of kids. When the rescue turns into an ambush, Andy and her team realize that they have been exposed.

Andromache of Scythia, as she is known historically, has been alive for centuries. So has her team. This makes them subject to a squibbly CEO (Melling) of a pharmaceutical company who wants to make money off of their genetic code.

The ex-CIA operative in charge of rounding them up is Copley (Ejiofor), who lost his wife to ALS. He is hoping the genes of the team will cure people from having to undergo the same fate.

Only Andy and her team are not immortal. They recover from injury for years until all of the sudden, they don’t. Having discovered Nile Freeman (Layne) in Afghanistan after she recovered from a “fatal” wound, she is hoping to connect her past to the future. Only Nile barely understands the concept of what is happening and she still wants time with her family.

There is a scene in a pharmacy in France where Andy is looking for help recovering from a wound. She is searching for compassion. She finds it in the person working the counter. As she is stitching up, the pharmacist explains that her kindness in helping will be repeated by Andy somewhere down the line. If she only knew how much has been prepaid on that ledger.

Two of the team are captured. Andy, tortured by loss in her past, vows to get them back. Complications arise.

Theron has mastered the stoic hero look by now. She’s also mastered the art of looking like your are genuinely kicking a lot of ass. There is no question she is the leader of this group. Her range is somewhere between eternal remorse and a sly smile.

The team is somewhat bland. There are two lovers (Kenzari and Marinelli) and lonely Booker (Schoenaerts) who lost his family and his faith. Layne takes some time to get acclimated to her new situation, but once she does, she invigorates the team. There are some nice moments for each though, and they wisely save some good fights for others besides the leader.

The problem with the film is that it feels very obviously like a part one. Ejiofor is a microcosm for this, concept. His role is almost as a placeholder for future events. For being over two hours, it feels like barely anything happens.

Part of this is because the bad guy is just a turd in a suit who basically sits in a tower. We know no matter how high the tower or how many guards, he will be reached. He doesn’t say or do anything particularly memorable, and he can’t fight.

There is one bad guy to put up a fight, and he is saved for the right person. You’ll know it when you see it. And you should see it. If for no other reason than to get ready for part two, which should be pretty good.

(***1/2 out of *****)

1 Comment »

  1. I wanted to like this one, but it just landed in a place of utter mediocrity for me (like a lot of Netflix features, I’m finding). Visually uninspiring–director seemed to be going for a Nolan kind of aesthetic, a lot of natural light, steel and glass, but it lacked any visual wit and was no fun to look at. The story was flat, seemed to just be a constant return to expository discussion of its own premise. And the premise is kiiiinda cool but also like a podcast over-analysis given feature length (“What would happen if an immortal drowned?” etc.)

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