The Old Guard (2020) Movie Review
The Old Guard (2020) Movie Review The film is an adaptation of the comic The Old Guard, written by Greg Rucka and illustrated by Leandro Fernandez. The film has Charlize Theron playing the 2000-year-old leader of a bunch of immortal mercenaries, who have vowed to fight crime and evil and have sort of been pulled towards causes that need their unique skill set. Like Wolverine or Deadpool, they regenerate faster than the bullets that hit them, coming back from the brink of death and sending their enemies to hell.
The Old Guard (2020) Movie Review:
Doing it over and over across centuries is sure to make anyone jaded and that’s what has happened with Andromache of Scythia (Charlize Theron) Andy to her friends. She doesn’t want to be the world savior anymore. She’s more than willing to hang up her awesome battle-ax and retire from the superhero business. The awakening of another immortal Nile Freeman (KiKI Layne), a US Marine who comes back from certain death, gives her a renewed sense of purpose. Immortal warriors get ‘born’ only once in a couple of centuries and hence she wants to help the new girl survive the harsh new reality she has been thrown in. Along the way, Andy and her motley bunch have to deal with a megalomaniac pharma baron Merrick (Harry Melling), who wants to decode the DNA of the immortals to make a killing selling a super drug.
The film opens with a bright promise of showing us an A-Team which can’t die but ruins it later by showcasing Big Pharma as the enemy. Why bring realism into a fantasy? It teases us with glimpses of the four soldiers during various times in history but doesn’t actually take us into the past. There are hints of a bigger picture here — we’re shown an immortal — a former team member, who actually died. But it’s a blink and you miss it scenario. The plot point is strangely left unexplored. Then, we come to know of another immortal who was thrown in the sea wearing a metal coffin 500 years ago. She can’t die and can’t escape either. Andy promised to look for her all her life but the film doesn’t explore that possibility either. Maybe it’s because the film is supposed to be setting up the table for a franchise.
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Director Gina Prince-Bythewood has either been extremely lucky or extremely astute in casting Charlize Theron as the cynical and brooding head of the immortals. There is an air of tragedy hanging around her neck which lends gravitas to her character. She’s an almost reluctant warrior who has seen so much tragedy in her life that she doesn’t have any qualms about calling it quits. Charlize has proved with Atomic Blonde (2017) that she can excel at action and here to her kicks, blows and Gun fu skills are second to none. Her compatriots too look like world-weary soldiers. Though to spice up the narrative a bit, Nicki (Luca Marinelli and Joe (Marwan Kenzari) are shown to be gay lovers who met hundreds of years ago during the crusades and have been inseparable ever since. Joe’s declaration of love for Nicki when they’re tied up by the enemy soldiers has a Shakespearian ring to it. Kudos to the director for showing a gay love story in a mainstream Hollywood film.
The Old Guard is a potpourri of fantasy, mythology, romance, tragedy, and kick-ass action — one can say it has something for everybody. As said earlier, it feels like an origin story and hence has an unfinished feel to it. Let’s wait and watch for the sequels for its true potential to unfold.