More and more it is not unusual for big name actors to take part in films or series available on streaming services. It seems to be the trend right now. Streaming services have jumped into the Emmy and Oscar races with two feet. They have plenty of money to give to allow for high production values and the hiring of Grade-A talent. As such they are attracting big directors and stars to their films/series. One such example of this was Netflix’s film The Old Guard, which was released in 2020. It involves a big star in Charlize Theron, known entities in screenwriter Greg Rucka (Stumptown and Whiteout), director Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love & Basketball, The Secret Life of Bees) and actors Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave, Doctor Strange) and Matthias Schoenaerts (The Danish Girl, Rust and Bone) along with up and comer Kiki Layne (If Beale Street Could Talk, Coming 2 America). In other words, plenty of reasons to tune in.
Some films don’t add up when it comes to the talent involved. Meaning they have plenty and still the result is underwhelming. The Old Guard does not fall into that category. I went into it not having read the graphic novel series or even being aware of it and still was able to fully enjoy it. It did so well on Netflix that they were talking about a second one almost as soon as it came out.
Basically the story is about a secret group of mercenaries who have been fighting for centuries to keep the planet and humans safe. The group is led by Andy (Charlize Theron), who is the most ancient of these warriors. Oh, and they are immortal….basically.
Now, for us mortals being immortal might sound like heaven, but watching this group you realize the allure wears out eventually and it becomes lonely and even a burden. Andy is the most weary of it while Booker (Matthias Schoenaerts), Joe (Marwan Kenzari – Aladdin – 2019, Ben-Hur – 2016) and Nicky (Luca Marinelli – Martin Eden), being younger, have not reached her point yet. The discovery of another like them injects some energy into Andy and the rest of the group. Nile (Kiki Layne), is a teenager who they have come across and want her to join them.
This coincides with them taking on a new and dangerous mission. During the course of the mission the abilities they possess have been revealed leaving the group vulnerable to nefarious types who might want to use them for their own purposes. Soon they are being hunted by such a person.
Great choreography and fight scenes makes up for any of the flaws in the story. Storywise it is rather predictable, but not awful in any regard. There is also precious little time for character development which would have engaged the viewer on another level. But maybe if this becomes a series of films that would be more possible.