Friday, July 17, 2020

The Old Guard (2020)

Streaming Services: Netflix
Movie Name/Year: The Old Guard (2020)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Length: 125 minutes
Rating: R
Production/Distribution: Denver and Delilah Productions, Dune Films, Image Comics, Marc Evans Productions, Marc Platt Productions, Netflix, Skydance Media
Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Writer: Greg Rucka, Leandro Fernandez
Actors: Charlize Theron, KiKi Layne, Matthias Schoenaerts, Marwan Kenzari, Luca Marinelli, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Harry Melling, Van Veronica Ngo, Natacha Karam, Mette Towley, Anamaria Marinca, Michael Ward, Shala Nyx, Majid Essaidi, Joey Ansah, Andrei Zayats, Olivia Ross

Blurb from IMDb: 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.

Selina’s Point of View:
I’ve liked a lot of Netflix films in the past, but this one is different. Not only did I enjoy it, but I would have happily paid $20 to see it in theaters. I don’t just mean now, while we’re all starving for real world comforts, I mean even before the coronavirus locked everything down. This would have been amazing on a big screen.

I have to tell you, between this and Extraction (2020), I’m going to start expecting a lot more from Netflix – and that means judging their films more on the level of theater-releases than I currently do.

Moving on.

As epic as the trailer looked, I was still a little skeptical. It was a straight-to-streaming movie and it seemed to have some very recipe-qualities to it. I figured it would be a good time, but it probably wouldn’t give me anything all that new.

What it actually gave me was a film that could very well be the start of a top tier series. Something I could watch with the same fervor and loyalty that I have for something like the Marvel movies.

I could discuss why for about six-thousand words, but most people wouldn’t read that, so I’ll condense.

Most importantly, the action was on point. The fight coordinator for The Old Guard, Daniel Hernandez (Avengers: Endgame, Logan, John Wick: Chapter 2), is a genius. Every single fight was so well done that it was like art work. Yeah, you have to appreciate the stunt doubles in that case – but the choreographer (or, in this case, the fight coordinator) is the design master. He’s worked on a ton of amazing films, but this was the first project that gave me the desire to look him up and memorize his name. From now on, when I see him involved in something, I’m going to want to be all over it.

Now, keep in mind, I’m not a bullet counter. I have no idea how many bullets are in a clip for any given gun. So, if you do, and the count’s off, maybe you’ll have a different perspective. For me, though? Every fight was choreographed to perfection and performed with the precision of a ballet.

Now that I’m done praising the stunt team; the actors were outstanding as well. Charlize Theron (Prometheus, Mad Max: Fury Road, Tully) was perfectly believable as an immortal warrior. She had a presence about her that was been impossible to ignore. KiKi Layne (Chicago Med, Native Son, Captive State) felt like her character, a younger fighter just learning how to utilize her abilities to her benefit. Meanwhile, Matthias Schoenaerts (The Laundromat, The Mustang, The Danish Girl), Marwan Kenzari (Ben-Hur, The Mummy, Aladdin), and Luca Marinelli (Slam, Let Yourself Go, Martin Eden) were incredibly in sync and made the idea that they were a millennium-old team believable.

Kenzari and Marinelli also made their love story feel like it belonged – it didn’t seem shoehorned in like it sometimes can. It felt right.

Then there was the plot. I adored the way everything thing was subtly foreshadowed and laid out for the audience. Every character had their own intensely deep story and connections, while still managing to make perfect sense when put all together. Exhibiting Big Pharma as the enemy worked on so many levels.

I think The Old Guard was exceptional. It was left open for a sequel, and I will definitely be watch when that comes out.

Cat’s Point of View:
I was so excited for The Old Guard to hit Netflix. I generally love narratives involving immortals. This flavor of immortal lore seems to put a bit of a spin on Highlander (1986) type immortality… except there’s no battle to be “the only one” or quickening or anything like that.

Needless to say, right off the bat I was down with the general premise of a band of immortal mercenaries fighting for the side of good across the ages. I think the movie did well in reflecting on the upsides and downsides of that premise.

I also really enjoyed that we get to see how these beings tick as far as bringing fledgling immortals into the fold. The concepts there were really interesting and well-executed.

Charlize Theron’s involvement with the movie is what initially caught my attention before I even learned of the plot. She has played one badass female character after another. This film was no exception. I was on a rollercoaster of emotions with her character’s jaded outlook and the weight of multiple-lifetimes-worth of experiences. She wasn’t the only exceptional member of the cast, however.

I absolutely adored the dynamic between the two characters played by Luca Marinelli and Marwan Kenzari. They brought some really solid chemistry, pathos, and even humor to the table. Every moment of their screen-time was believable and well-executed.

KiKi Layne was also a great choice for the ‘newbie’ to the immortal band of brothers-in-arms.

This film was adapted from a series of graphic novels. Of course, that means it’s something else to add to my ever-growing to-read list.  Apparently, a sequel is in the works and that has me rather giddy. 

I’d have to say this is one of the best things that Netflix has put out recently, and I’d recommend it in a heartbeat.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 81%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 73%
Metascore – 7.0/100
Metacritic User Score – 5.9/10
IMDB Score – 6.7/10
CinemaScore – None

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating4/5

P.S.: There's some articles and images during the credits that show the way the immortals have altered history through the years.

Movie Trailer:

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