A bunch of immortal warrior-types, who’ve lived for centuries, are hunted down by an evil pharmaceutical company owner and a man in a cardigan in Netflix’s latest adventure.
Andy, Charlize Theron (“Bombshell”, “Tully”), is the leader of the group, by virtue of being the oldest and the most badass. Then we have: Booker, Matthias Schoenaerts (“Red Sparrow”, “The Danish Girl”), Joe, Marwan Kenzari (“Murder On The Orient Express”, “The Mummy”), and Nicky, Luca Marinelli (“Trust (TV)”, “Let Yourself Go”).
They are sought out by Copley, Chiwetel Ejiofor (“Doctor Strange”, “The Martian”), a former CIA agent who wants their help with a kidnapping of some children. Despite Andy’s reluctance to get involved, they do, mostly as Booker pushes her into it.
Inevitably it’s a trap, and the foursome are gunned down. Except, they can’t die, so they come back to life and kick-ass, which is caught on camera by Ejiofor who passes it on to his boss Merrick, Harry Melling (better known as Dudley Dursley from the Harry Potter films).
Merrick is the youngest CEO of a big pharmaceutical company and wants to take the foursome’s DNA, or whatever it is that’s keeping them alive, and turn it into a drug he can sell and make his fortune from.
Whilst this is going on, we are introduced to young marine Nile, KiKi Layne (“Captive State”, “Native Son”), who has her throat slit whilst attempting to keep a person of interest alive. Her colleague does what she can but believes she’s watched her die. But Nile doesn’t die, she becomes part of The Old Guard.
From his London base, using his own personal army, Merrick captures Joe and Nicky and begins doing what he can. Naturally, the others won’t do nothing so they launch an attack to get their friend back. They’re helped, eventually, by both Copley, who has realised the error of his ways, of course, and Nile, who doesn’t think she wants to be part of this small army but joins anyway.
The Old Guard is based on the graphic novel by Greg Rucka (“Stumptown (TV)”, “Young Justice (TV)”) and Leandro Fernandez, the former also writes the screenplay with Gina Prince-Bythewood (“Cloak & Dagger (TV)”, “Beyond The Lights”) behind the camera.
The film is slightly over two-hours and you’ll feel it. It’s long but doesn’t feel apologetic about it at all. The reason you feel every minute of the two-hours run-time is because The Old Guard is anything but new, the immortals bit should have given us something new, but it doesn’t.
Whilst the film is predictable, it is funny, at times, and has some reasonably good action sequences. Though what you’ve got is a group of people who can kill others with ease, because that’s what they’ve been doing for centuries, so everything’s over quickly.
Theron and co are all good and Ejiofor performs well, though it’s an obvious character, as his is path. Melling, however, is the one who sticks out like a sore-thumb and, sadly, not in a good way.
He’s meant to be a young CEO, but I’m not sure “fresh out of school” is quite what they where going for. He’s one of the least menacing bad guys to ever grace the screen.
We’ll get more of The Old Guard, we’re set-up for a sequel, in fact the whole film is a set-up for a whole bunch of films, at least, that’ll be what Netflix are hoping for.
10th July 2020
THE QUICK SELL
A covert team of immortal mercenaries are suddenly exposed and must now fight to keep their identity a secret just as an unexpected new member is discovered.