The acting powerhouse that is Charlize Theron leads an otherwise passable-to-decent cast of immortal soldiers in Netflix’s comic book adaptation, The Old Guard. Even though I could predict the majority of the film’s biggest events pretty quickly, it’s still a worthwhile action adventure in my book.
The film follows a group of ageless warriors as they induct a new member into their team and try to avoid being captured and experimented on by a less-than-idealistic pharmaceutical mogul. If you know anything about the X-Men’s carnage-creating Canadian Wolverine, then you’re probably familiar with the themes that The Old Guard takes on in regards to being able to outlive everything and everyone else. Likewise, the bad guys are essentially the same as any comic book villain trying to figure out what makes a metahuman tick. You can also see the majority of the movie’s twists and turns far ahead of when should be able to.
The plot isn’t what sold me on The Old Guard, however. I went in hoping to see Charlize Theron and her crew kicking ass with guns, blades, and their fists, which I would say was definitely delivered here. The action is great, with lots of varied fights thanks to the number of combatants and types of battlefields. The titular anti-heroes have thousands of years of combined battle experience, and it shows in the speed and style that they can clear a room of mortal gunmen. Even though some of the battles are one-sided and without stakes, they’re still incredibly entertaining and fun to watch. And while there’s plenty of fighting overall, I still would’ve liked it to outweigh the paint-by-numbers story even more.
Thank goodness most of that story rests on an extremely talented actor’s shoulders. In addition to being the most efficient killer in the movie, Charlize Theron’s Andromache of Scythia, or Andy, is easily the most compelling character in The Old Guard. Andy gives off old man Logan vibes as another world-weary warrior who has grown disillusioned with the rest of humanity after witnessing all sorts of atrocities through her extended lifetime. Although I could predict most of Andy’s arc within the first thirty to forty minutes of the movie, Theron’s dedicated performance kept it interesting and engaging for the most part.
The rest of the cast isn’t as awesome as Charlize Theron, but they’re good enough for an action flick of this caliber. KiKi Layne does an admiral job as Nile, the new recruit, who is an absolute badass. Matthias Schoenaerts’ Booker is another tragic character like Andy that I wish had been fleshed out just a little more. The bond between Luca Marinelli and Marwan Kenzari’s Nick and Joe is the most believable in the entire movie. Of the cardboard cutout villains, Chiwetel Ejiofor is the standout as Copley, even if his role, similarly to Andy’s, becomes predictable quite early on.
The Old Guard isn’t anything new or particularly noteworthy, but is still worth a watch thanks to its terrific action sequences, and killer lead actor. If you have the time and are the slightest but curious about it, I’d say give it a shot.