This week I watched The Old Guard – the new action-packed film starring Charlize Theron, based on a comic book I had not heard of. It makes sense that it was based on a comic, since I got X-Men vibes from it.
This movie was exclusively released on Netflix, but I have a feeling this film was meant to have a wider release. Before, you know, COVID-19. Honestly though, if it were released in theaters, I don’t feel like it would have had as big of a box office return as the studio would’ve liked. It’s not a terrible film, it just doesn’t have a lot of originality to it.
Basically, a group of immortal Wolverine-like “mutants” with expert fighting skills have been around for hundreds of years. Whenever they’re hit by projectiles, the bullets pop out of their skin and their wounds heal up – just like Wolverine. A young CEO wants to capture them so he can try to utilize their immortality to fight dementia and other ailments and become rich, blah blah blah.
I have to be honest, I didn’t necessarily find myself invested in this film. It had me at the beginning with the characters and the premise. The “Old Guard” had a camaraderie that lasted for hundreds of years. I thought that the concept of being alive for all that time throughout the trials and tribulations of history was really interesting, and I wanted to see more of it explored.
One character that partially caught my interest was a female who finds out she is immortal and is recruited by the team. I liked the way they introduced her character. I was expecting the rest of the film to be about them teaching her the ins and outs of being immortal and part of their team.
Sadly, that’s not what happens. Every interesting concept is shoved aside to be replaced by a rescue mission plot where they have to save two of the members that get captured. This was at the point in the film that I started to lose interest. The movie became a typical action film with a bunch of Wolverines running around.
Charlize owned her role as the leader of the group, Andy. I was afraid that she was going to be cartoonishly serious and BA. But she was grounded in her role no matter how BA she got, and I’m glad for it. She was likable and fun, unlike similar characters in other movies who are too cool for school.
The other characters and their actors were decent, but nothing to write home about. I was interested in Nile, played by KiKi Layne, but I felt like they didn’t explore her character arc as much as they should’ve. The villain was played by Harry Melling (Dudley Dursley in the Harry Potter films), and I’ve seen him do well in other films like The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs. But his character in this movie was unfortunately cartoonish, making it hard to see him as a legitimate threat.
The action in the film was watchable. My favorite scene was a fight between Andy and the new recruit, Nile. They utilized the fact that neither one could kill the other, and it was fun to watch. Unfortunately, the other scenes are uninteresting. The way they were filmed didn’t engage me, especially since I stopped caring about the characters.
The cinematography was serviceable for the most part, but there were many moments in the film, especially during action scenes, where they tried to use shaky-cam but it made it difficult to follow what was happening. Those moments took me out of the movie.
The soundtrack was easily the worst part of the film and the most noticeable disappointment for me. The actual score is your every day, lame, run-of-the-mill action music. But it got worse when certain scenes played lame pop songs to tell the audience how to feel. Many times it felt like the film was going to turn into a music video.
Would I recommend this film to anyone? Eh. You might get some enjoyment out of it. Plenty of action and shooting. Personally, I felt like it was a wasted opportunity to delve into the heart of the story. The end of the film did tease a sequel, so maybe they will expound upon the more captivating ideas from this film in the next one – if there is a next one. I just don’t care enough to see myself returning to this franchise any time in the future.
Episode 011 | Say Goodnight Kevin Podcast
Tyler Smith, film critic, podcast host, and director of the film “Reel Redemption”, joins Kevin for an exciting conversation about the history of Christian film and the state it is in today.