Netflix’s The Old Guard is a 2020 American superhero film directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood and written by Greg Rucka, based on his comic book of the same name. The film stars Charlize Theron, KiKi Layne, Matthias Schoenaerts, Marwan Kenzari, Luca Marinelli, Harry Melling, Van Veronica Ngo and Chiwetel Ejiofor, and follows a team of immortal mercenaries on a revenge mission.
The concept is pretty interesting and the film has a bonafide with Theron. So why does it miss the mark so badly? Well for one, it’s hard to care for the characters who aren’t really ever put in real peril. Because they are immortal they do die and feel pain but then after a few moments their injuries heal and they are back on their feet like nothing happened. This movie reminded me a lot of Christian Bale’s The Matrix rip-off, Equilibrium, that also featured some amazing action sequences but featured a main protagonist who never seemed to get hurt or be put in any real danger.
When this happens in action movies there is a severe disconnect. Yes it’s a movie and we are supposed to suspend our disbelief, however, if we know the main characters won’t ever really die, why should we care?
Andromache “Andy” of Scythia, Booker, Joe, and Nicky are centuries old warriors with regenerative healing abilities who use their vast experience to help people. Former CIAoperative Copley hires them to rescue a group of kidnapped children in South Sudan. However, they are ambushed by a squad of soldiers. After healing their wounds and killing their attackers, they realize that Copley set them up.
Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, U.S. Marine Nile Freeman has her throat slit while taking down a military target, only to recover without a scratch. Soon after, she shares a disturbing dream with the other immortals, who are then alerted to her existence. Andy tracks down and rescues Freeman before military personnel can abduct her for testing.
Nile becomes our point of view character as she slowly discovers she has regeneration powers. She is also the only character in the movie that shows any real emotion. I understand the other characters have been around for centuries but damn, do they have to be so one note and uninteresting?
From here we get the tired plot of a “shadow” organization wanting to kidnap the team and use their regeneration powers for the good of mankind, blah blah blah.
As mentioned earlier, we are treated to some fantastic action sequences but they are undercut by some truly horrible music. When I see people’s heads getting blown off I don’t really want to hear some slow pop song playing in the background. The music cues throughout this film is really odd. It’s as if somebody left the temp music in by accident and forgot to pay the composer.
In conclusion, The Old Guard is a missed opportunity for a new action franchise. It’s characters fall flat, the action is great but the main protagonists are never in any real danger, and the long drawn out exposition is so boring at times, I was left looking at my phone to stay awake.
The HipsterZOMBIEJoint Experience does not recommend The Old Guard. Unless you are just a die hard Theron fan.