[The Old Guard]
A critical review of Netflix’s summer blockbuster action ride, The Old Guard.
Action flicks from a comic adaptation have given us rise before, but whilst there’s a lackluster of ideas, there comes the adrenaline.
The Old Guard (2020), directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, is a saucy film ride filled with punches, fun dialogue, and enriching action set pieces that stir the soul. Leading the charge in this is none other than actress Charlize Theron, playing the ever-so enigmatic-yet stoic leader of the centuries-old group on the run from the government attempting to hunt them down for their secret to immortality.
It’s not what time steals, it’s what it leaves behind. Things you can’t forget. – Andy
Theron’s composure during the slow beats stands out and, per usual, tends to keep the energy afloat during her roles when she’s playing an all-out sympathetic fighter in a cruel world. Assisting her in this journey is KiKi Layne (known for If Beale Street Could Talk, Native Son, Captive State), we see a tenacity ring from her as she plays the newbie soldier now ostracized by her military peers and is thrust into a world she doesn’t know she can trust. Marwan Kenzari and Luca Marinelli take the brunt of the story by providing love and insight, but there’s an irresistible charm to the comrades-turned-lovers you can’t help but enjoy seeing. A shocker of a character to witness is Harry Melling’s villainous portrayal of Steven Merrick. Although, this isn’t new if one has seen his performances in the Harry Potter universe. Tying it all together, we have Chiwetel Ejiofor with his suave and cool tenacity that matches Theron’s au natural.
We don’t have all the answers but we do have purpose. – Andy
Within the nitty-gritty of its amped action scenes, visually provided by Tami Reiker and Dustin O’Halloran, we focus from the perspective of the fifth member, Nile. Her backstory doesn’t ring overtly to determine the rest of what’s to come but blends the characterization of Andromache of Scythia (Andy) and Nile’s journeys into the tension heightened third act. In some instances, the additional music felt touch and go for the plot and made some scene transitions a little ridiculous to power through. While that may be, there are solid foundations in the score, always ready to pump the adrenaline into the fights and action. We get enough out of the actions that we can perceive the world-building to be, while reduced and lacking in some departments of development, to boast intrigue for a possible sequel.
The Old Guard is now streaming on Netflix.