Title – The Old Guard (2020)
Director – Gina Prince-Bythewood (The Secret Life of Bees)
Cast – Charlize Theron, KiKi Layne, Matthias Schoenaerts, Marwan Kenzari, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Harry Melling
Plot – A group of immortal mercenaries lead by the 100’s of year old Andy (Theron) take a new member under their wing Nile (Layne) while battling merciless millionaire Merrick (Melling) who is hellbent on using the group to conduct experiments.
“The world can burn for all I care”
Review by Eddie on 15/07/2020
If there’s one thing Netflix have a proven track record in, its in their unfortunate ability to turn projects that on paper seem destined for good things, into final products that are all types of disappointing.
Joining the likes of Mute, Fractured, Bright, In the Tall Grass, Velvet Buzzaw and a large collection of other mediocre/genuinely bad efforts, Netflix’s newest high profile effort, an adaptation of Greg Rucka and Leandro Fernandez’s cult graphic novel series The Old Guard, is their newest disappointment.
Helmed by long-serving director Gina Prince-Bythewood and backed by a significant cast, that is championed by the always game Charlize Theron (channeling her Aeon Flux/Atomic Blonde vibes) whose support by an international cast that includes up-comer Kiki Layne, Matthias Schoenaerts, Marwan Kenzari and a criminally underused Chiwetel Ejiofor, Old Guard seems like a sure-fire good time but this generic, lethargic and spectacle free affair is DOA.
The premise of a group of immortal soldiers/mercenaries that are lead by Theron’s seemingly 1000 year old Andy should make for a no doubt silly but care-free good time but the films po-faced delivery, lame plot line of Layne’s newly minted immortal Nile learning the ropes of her abilities and an even worse villain story arc in the form of Dudley Dursey’s (aka Harry Melling) millionaire pharmacist CEO Merrick trying to track down and capture Andy and her crew ensure that Old Guard never feels like its building to delivering anything of note.
Films of this ilk with such fanciful plots and larger than life characters (the immortals underutilized back stories in key moments of history would’ve made for far more interesting cinematic moments) are best when they embrace their DNA but Bythewood is unable to capture any of those moments in her weak direction that anchors down any chance Old Guard had of at least providing the bang visually in spite of its toothless plot.
When we are blessed as movie fans with the likes of John Wick, Mission Impossible and even to a lesser extent Netflix’s own Extraction, the action and spectacle we get in Old Guard feels like nothing short of a letdown and when the characters enacting in these shootouts and fisticuffs are so uninteresting, there’s no chance the film had of being an over the top good time.
It would also be remiss of me not to mention that films horrifically out of place soundtrack featuring the likes of Frank Ocean, Blithe and Khalid is also a major flaw in the film.
Aiming to be hip and perhaps moody? The over-used and cringe-worthy selection of songs constantly grate against what is being seen on screen, appearing to be a hack job added at the last minute for no apparent reason or rhyme.
Final Say –
Don’t believe what you’ve seen from a large collection of critics, The Old Guard is a tiresome and lifeless action affair that squanders its talented cast and potentially fun story on an effort that is not worth your two hours of investment.
1 poorly chosen song out of 5