The Old Guard – Interesting Idea, but Mild Success

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By: Corey Lack

the old guard

The Old Guard is a Netflix movie starring Charlize Theron, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Kiki Layne. The plot of the movie focuses on a group of near-immortals who have lived for centuries fighting for whatever they believe to be right. In the modern times, they are betrayed by a former CIA agent while, at the same time, a new immortal is “born.” As result, they have to track down the traitor who wants to lock them away for scientific research while also taking in the new immortal and teaching her the ropes.

 

The plot had a really good premise. The idea of a group of immortal mercenaries fighting for what they believe to be right certainly has  a lot of potential to being a very exciting movie. I certainly enjoyed the idea of them moving in the background of history and I would have liked to have seen a lot more of it. The only problem is that they appear only as mentions or as brief flashbacks. The plot mostly focuses on having the new immortal, Nile, get used to the idea of being an immortal and having to leave her life behind. Even the pursuit of vengeance against the traitor takes more of a backseat to the plot of Nile’s acceptance of her new life.

 

The characters also had a lot of potential provided they were developed enough, which they weren’t. Theron’s character, Andy, is tired of constantly fighting and not making enough of an impact as a result. There is a lot of talking about this, but I didn’t feel this was really shown. There’s also Andy’s fear of being captured and being locked in a cell for all time, like what happened to a previous immortal. This fear is one of the best parts about the Andy character as it is completely understandable and this is shown really well near the end of the movie. Also, her training and experience is shown through when she gets into her fights and still outthinks a lot of her opponents. The ultimate villain, an immoral and profit focused CEO of a pharmaceutical company, is easy to hate from the first introduction of him. He has no problem torturing, or “experimenting” as he puts it, on the immortals for years, hoping to unlock the secret of their immortality. He also has no issue with inflicting needless and brutal violence on them when they are captured. However, the two characters I felt brought the least to the movie were the characters Nicky and Joe. They were the two immortal characters who seemed to just be window-dressing for most of the movie. The most development they received was the brief mention of who they met each other (opposing sides in the Crusades) and that they’re gay. In fact, their homosexuality is what the movie focuses on the most in regards to these two, which I felt detracted from them. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with it being in the movie, but being the core focus of two of the characters just seemed like Netflix trying to proclaim that they were accepting of it rather than using it to create interesting characters.

 

Finally, let’s discuss the action sequences. It’s clear that the actors and actress went through enough training to be believable. When the group is using guns, their actions are quick, sharp, and precise. When they use close range weapons, they’re agile, swift, and brutal. Basically, everything a soldier trained in hundreds of years of combat would be. The sequences were definitely the best parts of the movie and it was always fun to watch them.

 

In short, the movie was a decent one with good action and okay characters. I wouldn’t expect it to win any awards, but it is one I’d still recommend giving a shot. I’d give it seven and a half sunken iron maidens out of ten.

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