Review: The Old Guard

Title: The Old Guard
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Starring: Charlize Theron, KiKi Layne, Matthias Schoenaerts
Runtime: 2 hr 5 mins

What It Is: A team of immortal mercenaries made up of Booker (Schoenaerts), Nicky (Luca Marinelli), Joe (Marwan Kenzari), and led by Andy (Theron) have saved people and defended the world for centuries. Once again hired for a job, the crew heads out to South Sudan only to find out that the only reason for their mission was so that the man who hired them could get proof of their immortality. While also dealing with the discovery of a new immortal for the first time in over a century, the group must evade the operatives team of pharmaceutical CEO, Merrick (Harry Melling), who wants the four immortals captured in order to use their DNA to make a profit.

What We Think: Going into this movie I was expecting an action story that felt like it had been done a hundred times before. More or less, that’s what I got. The characters were hard to care about at all, which I attribute more to the writing than the acting (though both were subpar). The soundtrack didn’t fit the tone of the story and while the post-production team clearly wanted to spice up the fight scenes with hip, electronic music, those songs were just distractions for the viewer. Perhaps the largest issue of this film was the unfathomable amount of cringe. From the over-the-top dramatics to the very forced attempts at humor, I found myself letting out plenty of sighs in annoyance. All that said, the latter half of this movie made me warm up to it a little bit. There were a few much-appreciated surprises and Kiki Layne made it her mission to not let all the acting performances underwhelm you. But at a certain point, it felt like every character had made a decision and then immediately regretted it and I can’t help but wonder if that’s how the majority of the people involved in this movie felt as well.

Our Grade: D+, If the action wasn’t so in-your-face and repetitive then this film would’ve been a lot better. But many things could’ve been even worse so it’s clear that this movie isn’t a total abomination. The portrayal of immortality was indeed an interesting one and while the whole thing felt a little bit cliché, I do appreciate the darker narrative of what many people would consider an amazing gift. If you’re a fan of Theron or want to feel like you hit shuffle on a really basic Spotify playlist, then maybe watch this movie. The ending did set up a potential sequel and all I can hope is that a sequel never sees the light of day.

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Cal Gessner Written by: