The cast of The Old Guard. Photo credit: Aimee Spinks/Netflix
Directed by: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Written by: Greg Rucka, Leandro Fernandez
Starring: Charlize Theron, KiKi Layne, Matthias Schoenaerts, Marwan Kenzari, Luca Marinelli, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Harry Melling, Van Veronica Ngo, Natacha Karam, Mette Towley, Anamaria Marina, Michael Ward, Shala Nyx, Majid Essaidi, Joey Ansah, Andrei Zayats, Olivia Ross
Mild spoilers ahead
Hello again! Life is still pretty messed up, but I’m still trying to thrive. How is everyone else, though?
Today’s review is about The Old Guard, telling the story a group immortal mercenaries led by Andromache of Scythia (Charlize Theron), who has spent centuries helping people throughout time and history. Fate has it that the group discovers another immortal, a black female US Marine soldier named Nile (KiKi Layne), who is trying to re-discover who she is and what her place is in this world now that she knows she can’t die.
While figuring out how to cope with their immortality, the group also has to deal with Copley (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a former CIA agent, betrays the group to Merrick (Harry Melling, aka Dudley from Harry Potter), a pharmaceutical CEO who wants immortal blood to cure aging and disease.
The plot itself feels very generic. In specific ways, it reminded me of pieces of Logan and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 when it comes to characters who want mutant bodies to heal humanity. However, Theron can’t help but entertain an audience with her performance and combat skills.
Layne did a great job, too, as the newbie learning about her immortality throughout her journey in the film. You do feel a sense of desperation, confusion, and anger on her part regarding her immortality and how only other immortal people surround her. Don’t forget Marwan Kenzari and Luca Marinelli, who make up the most adorable same-sex couple seen yet on-screen. Seeing them embrace their longevity was great to watch.
Ejiofor and Melling both serve their purpose, although Ejiofor’s character does not stay evil long and becomes a Nick Fury archetype to these immortal soldiers. Lastly, Matthias Schoenaerts, who played Booker, a former soldier for Napoleon now living as part of Andromache’s band of mercenaries, excelled in the film and deftly played his character’s redemption arc.
All in all, The Old Guard is a very somber, bleak, yet fascinating movie about the lives of people who cannot live an average lifespan, but still find a reason to fight for a better day. The film is enjoyable to watch. Since Gina Prince-Bythewood, one of the few Black female directors in mainstream Hollywood, directed the film, it’s also breaking down directorial barriers.
* I would like to advocate for everyone to go to Black Lives Matter.com and sign the petition to defund the police. It is time for a definitive change. I hope the petition and other activist efforts will stop the police from recklessly killing Black Americans and help them work with the community as human beings who have equal protection under the law. Black Lives Matter.
*If you want to do your part to help the worldwide effort to stop COVID-19, go to https://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/ and donate towards the Salvation Army in their relief efforts. As always, wash your hands, observe social distancing practices, stay indoors, stay healthy, and stay safe.
Julian Jones is a sociology student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. When he’s not studying or watching films, he’s practicing for his next performance with the UAB Chamber Singers. Let him know what you thought of his review by leaving him a comment below!