The Old Guard‘s concept is pretty simple. A group of immortals walks the Earth as a pack of mercenaries and an evil corporation wants to find out what makes them tick and develop a new drug from their gift. A new immortal is discovered and dragged into their shadowy world. Based on the comic series by Greg Rucka, Leandro Fernández, Daniela Miwa, and Jodi Wynne, and published by Image Comics. The film stars Charlize Theron, KiKi Layne, and Chiwetel Ejiofor, and is written by Rucka and directed by Gina Prince-Bythwood.
There’s a lot of fantastic elements to The Old Guard. Most of those concepts get a little bit of depth but all feel like there could be so much more done with all of the elements. But, even with that, the film is beyond enjoyable with some fantastic action sequences (not enough of them really) and some solid character connections.
Lets go through bits of the film to discuss what does and doesn’t work:
The relationships – This is one of the best aspects of the film. The team is hundreds of years old and that’s a key aspect of so many members of the team. They have either formed bonds with each other or long for the loss of their friends and family of the past. Two team members are in a rather mature/different type of relationship having bonded over centuries. Team members have died (yes immortals can die) and then there’s the loss of family. It’s all on the table and the actors deliver the pain and love you’d expect in each situation.
The goal of the “evil” corporation – The evil corporation wants to use whatever genetic gift that keeps these individuals alive for medical purposes. Though they go about it in an evil way, and probably would do evil corporate things, the overall goal isn’t too out there. There’s something to debate about possibly being able to save the world but not doing so. There’s also moral debates about testing on these individuals since they can survive the testing in theory.
Choices weigh down on characters – The body count rises throughout the film and the idea of the blood on the hands of the immortals is a feature. There’s the concept of fighting their way through life. There’s the idea of living with family for as long as they can before their immortality is realized. It’s an interesting balance and discussion of choice of actions. The concept of killing one is difficult enough but also think about that body count rising over decades? Try to figure out what you’d do knowing you’ll see your friends and family die? Do you spend it with them? Or, do you run?
The theme of the film – The film ends in an interesting way. It’s not a spoiler to say the film is about leaving a footprint. Early in the film, there are moments that touch upon these individuals attempting to stay anonymous but the bigger question thing isn’t their anonymity but instead their impact for the better. That plays deeply into why the evil corporation wants them
There’s absolutely issues to the film. It foreshadows things a bit too much. You can predict what’s coming down the road with a bit too much easy. It doesn’t diminish the story at all and there’s reasons the foreshadowing happens, to explain the world and rules, but still, it feels a bit forced and a bit too obvious.
The Old Guard is an entertaining film that doesn’t use its twist in too many ways to make the concept not seem interesting. It also adds just enough reasons as to why it doesn’t. It’s the rare action film that has some moral questions underneath and themes to it that makes it a bit more than the fantastic action sequences. It would absolutely work better as an extended television series but from everything teased it looks like we’ll be getting more of the film series down the road. Here’s hoping as it’s an enjoyable two hours to kick back and relax to.
Overall Rating: 8.0