The Old Guard
By James Davidson
“The Old Guard” is a new movie released by Netflix on July 10th of this year. It is based on a graphic novel of the same name written by Greg Rucka, who also adapted the comic into a screenplay. It follows a group of immortal warriors led by Andy (played by Charlize Theron). The group is suddenly exposed and being hunted down by a “big pharma” company who wants to harness their immortality and release its secret to the world, for a price of course. The group must fight to keep from being captured and experimented on as well as teach a newly found immortal, Nile, (Kiki Layne) how to deal with her new found immortality.
I had very high hopes for this film as soon as I saw the previews for it. I loved the idea for the movie and with the original writer of the comic being very involved with the writing process, as well as a powerhouse actor like Charlize Theron starring, I was very excited. I was hoping the film would have a lot of action and a compelling story. For the most part, I think this film delivered on my expectations, although it did feel a little lacking in some aspects.
While the plot itself isn’t entirely original, a group of immortals fighting to keep themselves secret is something that we’ve seen before, I think that this was a fresh telling of a classic concept. While the plot was somewhat predictable and simple, it was well written and engaging enough to keep my attention and keep me invested throughout the entire movie. I do think that the writer tried to fit a bit too much into one movie however. I would have liked to see more focus on a few characters and a bit less on others. I think that the film tried to focus on all of the characters too much, and as a result some of their backstories became a little watered down. I was hoping for a much more complex story.
The action scenes were fantastic and exciting, I just wish there were more of them. I was very impressed with all of the fight scenes, especially the way gun battles were portrayed. While the warriors sometimes used hand to hand weapons such as swords and axes, as an homage to their ancient warrior roots, they have adapted to the times and used guns most of the time. However, instead of people standing away from each other shooting at one another, maybe hiding behind something, the gun battles were up close and personal. The gun fights almost had a Kung-Fu like quality to them and made them much more enjoyable. My only issue is that I was left wanting more action scenes. There was a lot of dialogue in the film, which slowed the story down a lot. Another side-effect of the filmmaker trying to fit too much into one movie. I’ve noticed that this can be a problem with a lot of movies that have been adapted from comics, since comics use a lot of the art to tell the story.
While I was expecting Charlize Theron to steal the show with her acting performance, and it was fantastic, the other actors surprised me by delivering compelling performances of their own. Kiki Layne as Nile particularly impressed me. I haven’t seen her act in anything before and was quite impressed with her performance. I think it was right on par with Theron’s and I’m interested to see if she gets bigger roles in the future.
This film is rated R for sequences of graphic violence, and language. As with most action films, this movie has quite a bit of gore and strong language and wouldn’t be appropriate for children to watch. It is a fun action flick and a great movie to watch with friends or older family members, especially if you’re a fan of the action genre.
“The Old Guard” is an exciting action movie with fantastic fight scenes. While it doesn’t reinvent the wheel with the plot, it manages to tell a simple story in a compelling way, even if it can get a bit slow at times. It has some incredible acting, and interesting characters. I really enjoyed this movie and will definitely be watching it again. I recommend anyone looking for a great action flick to check this movie out. It earns 3.5 out of 5 stars.