The Old Guard delivers an intriguing take on immortality, and is full of kickass heroines. But the story goes downhill once it enters “god mode.”
The Old Guard Synopsis
Andromache “Andy” is an ageless, self-healing immortal who leads a small band of similar mercenaries to do good around the world. After a botched mission in Sudan, they learn of U.S. Marine Nile Freeman, who has gained similar recuperative powers in Afghanistan. As the team retrieves and recruits Freeman, pharma head Steven Merrick is told of their abilities and immediately dispatches henchmen to capture them. Merrick’s intention is to harness the genetic code of the immortals to produce vastly profitable medicine. His unscrupulous methods quickly land the immortals in their worst crisis in centuries.
In some of my older movie reviews, I’m sure I gave the impression I’m into kickass women.
Yeah … Strong-willed, lethal heroines who can down you before you finish smirking. Actually, I’d even go to the extent of saying this is a huge magnet for me. Regardless of mixed or negative reviews, I head straight to action flicks featuring such ladies. For me, the sleek kicks and chops, and headshots, more than compensates for lame story.
As far as this … fetish of mine is concerned, The Old Guard i.e. Charlize Theron delivers the goods. It delivers them EXCEPTIONALLY well, IMO. In addition, I also enjoyed how the movie never hides the fact that “Andy” is enlivened by her bloodier side, jaded as she might be.
For me, that adds a lot of juicy depth and contradictions to her character. Here’s a warrior who wants to save the world, who never flinches at a gory kill too. And yet, she is disappointed by the futility of it all, even as she stoically slaughters a whole SWAT squadron.
Coming to the actual premise, the whole pain-of-immortality business is intriguing and at parts, poignantly presented, although it is a stretch to say it offers any fresh insight. Like I highlighted above in my visual summary, the action also dwindles to the mundane during the final chapter when the immortals enter god-mode. By that gaming phrase, I mean they simply trash everything and anything with naught a care, because they have no worries about game-overs. Everything became a boring case of working the motions.
Oh, one other thing, and I say this with some reservation. There is a decisively liberal flavour to the story and characters of The Old Guard, with certain themes, to me, seemingly inserted into the story just to pronounce that flavour. (It’s also, probably, the reason for a R21 rating in Singapore).
Now, as a practicing decadent liberal, I wouldn’t say I dislike this. However, given the way the world currently is, it seems a shade insensible. I don’t see why the story couldn’t just be straight-forward fantasy action.