'The Old Guard review': A superhero film that manages to be profound too

Netflix’s new action entry, The Old Guard, establishes Charlize Theron, who plays the amaranthine Andromeda aka Andy as a bonafide action star.

Published: 19th July 2020 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th July 2020 03:11 PM   |  A+A-

A still from 'The Old Guard'

A still from 'The Old Guard'

Netflix’s new action entry, The Old Guard, establishes Charlize Theron, who plays the amaranthine Andromeda aka Andy as a bonafide action star.

She’s female Ethan Hunt who turns into a John Wick whenever the situation demands. Leading a four-member team of immortal crime fighters who’ve been watching over the world and combating evil, her new assignment is to find a gang of child kidnappers.

The mission goes awry when a bereaved ex-CIA officer betrays them.

His plan is to save mankind pain using their deathless DNA; their bodies have regenerative properties which have kept them alive for centuries.

The snoop is on the payroll of a greedy pharma billionaire—shades of Planet of the Apes?—who eventually gets his just desserts.

The characters don’t feel fresh if you’re familiar with X-Men and Deadpool. But then the trend of turning superhero comics and graphic novels started with Marvel and DC.

The Old Guard is an effective action-entertainer that manages to find space for philosophical musings.

The characters, whose names sound straight out of Game of Thrones, have adapted well to our times.

What begins as a routine rescue mission snowballs into something far more perilous when Andy and gang learn, through dream-sharing, of the existence of another immortal warrior—the  clueless young Marine, Nile (Kiki Layne).

After two of their companions are captured, Andy and gang go berserk and leave a trail of dead bodies. Theron is terrific in the action sequences, just like she was in Atomic Blonde and Mad Max: Fury Road. In pursuit of breathless action choreography, most films leave you a bit confounded over who’s punching who, but The Old Guard has no such problems.

It’s careful not to let the  pyrotechnics overshadow its humanity by raising profound questions about immortality, relationships, and the nature of life itself. Friendship and courage are the  motifs that bind this racy film.

Andy is ridden by guilt that an old comrade of hers was captured centuries ago and doomed to a living hell.

As the film hurtled towards its end, I wondered whether catching it in a multiplex would’ve been better, considering the calibrated action choreography and larger-than-life sequences.

Given that the final scene hints at a sequel, will Andy recover her fading immortality?    

The Old Guard
Genre: Action/Fantasy 
Platform: Netflix
Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood


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