REVIEW: “THE OLD GUARD” (2020) Netflix

Twenty-Five minutes in and I knew Director Gina Prince-Bythewood‘s “THE OLD GUARD” was most likely based on some type of book/comic series that was not known to me. Sticking with the film though was a decent pleasure and doing a touch of research after gave me the insight needed.

Turns out ‘The Old Guard‘ is based on the recent 5-part graphic novel of the same name from Image Comics, and stars Charlize Theron as “Andy”, along with Booker (Matthais Schoenaerts), Joe (Marwan Kenzari) and Nicky (Luca Marinelli) make up the tight knit group of four covert mercenaries who fight to keep peace.  With a seemingly almost immortal mysterious inability to die, a trait that once exposed on surveillance tapes by supposed ex-CIA agent Coply (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who had ‘hired’ them for a job to save a group of school children who had been supposedly kidnapped, gains unwanted attention from eccentric British pharmaceutical executive Steven Merrick (Harry Melling), who plans to experiment on the four for the good of mankind aka ‘profit’.

Greg Rucka, creator of the graphic novel series, writes the screenplay, and it’s a bit of a mixed bag. The fleshing out of the team’s backstory brings with it some emotional ties to the past, which work effectively as without knowing any background, you’re able to follow along. All too often though, the dialogue falls into cliched and stale traps – like when they are trying to look all undercover while meeting in a local street bazaar, they end up standing out so completely that you almost have to have a laugh at it. But it feels particularly clunky when the team come to explain their unusual abilities to newcomer Nile (KiKi Lane), a young U.S. marine who discovers she is just like them while on duty in Afghanistan.

KiKi Lane showcases Nile’s innocence and shock well, as she discovers she may not be quite like other marines in doing what they’ve clearly been doing for hundreds of years. Theron gives a plaintive performance, conveying the weight on Andy’s shoulders and the burdens carried through the years convincingly enough and at least they didn’t try to have her do too many of those floppy comic lines sometimes found in similar type features. Her fellow mercenaries though never really get as much of a chance to make their mark with the exception of what takes place between Booker and Andy. Theron really kicks ass in the well choreographed hand-to-hand combat scenes she does get as does Lane, and there are bouts of bloody action to enjoy, but these are over rather quickly, with the team never really feeling like they are in any kind of danger. In truth, it’s yet another Netflix release that falls into the usual category; not a classic by any stretch, but definitely a passable and watchable two hours.

Grade: C+

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13 thoughts on “REVIEW: “THE OLD GUARD” (2020) Netflix”

  1. Good write-up on this film. I just finished it today and I’d mostly concur with your take, except that I found it a more satisfying action film than other recent fare, like Triple Frontier. I’d agree the biggest flaw was the cliched dialogue at times. I’m assuming they are setting up for sequels or a series, so I would be interested to see more.

    1. Definitely seems as though they left it to be set up for more.. it’s a 5 part book – so yeah I expect we will be seeing more with the new character and all and with Theron’s characters death thing etc..

  2. Nice review 🙂 I thought Charlize Theron was her awesome self, it’s pretty hard to fault her which I think makes it more difficult for the supporting cast to shine. I think the topic of immortal heroes was covered better in The Highlander but that’s my personal slant on it 🙂

      1. My partner and I are actually going to watch it again this weekend because we’ve been talking about it for two hours lol 🙂

    1. I am not on Letterboxd!! I know I should be but it’s like OMG ANOTHER media site I have to remember to update..hahahahah glad we are following on twitter though.. we definitely gotta chat more!! 🙂

      1. Ah yeah, that’s okay 🙂 I have been a member there since 2013 and although I’ve had a lot of breaks from the site, it’s still one of the better ones for logging movies and reviews 🙂 And Yes! We definitely should 😀

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