Sunday, July 12, 2020

The Old Guard

Movie Name: The Old Guard
Year of Release: 2020
Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Starring: Charlize Theron, Kiki Layne, Matthias Schoenaerts, Marwan Kenzari, Luca Marinelli, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Harry Melling, Van Veronica Ngo, Anamaria Marinca, Natacha Karam, Mette Towley, Joey Ansah
Genre: Action, Fantasy
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6 

Synopsis and Review:
Another month, another feature making its debut on Netflix. This one comes from director Gina Prince-Bythewood, who previously directed the well received drama, "Beyond the Lights", before more recently tackling some TV shows. The film is based on a graphic novel, and follows the story of a group of immortal beings, led by the charismatic Andy. This group tackles situations of high danger, trying in the process to make a difference in the world. Andy is the eldest of the group, who has 3 additional members, who in turn have become immortal in different time frames. As they follow a client's lead for a new assignment, they realize there was a sinister behind it, but as they start to uncover what has happened, they collectively realize a new member has joined their ranks, a young marine who has gained the power of immortality. As Andy goes to recruit her, the group suddenly sees themselves as a target of big Pharmaceutical organization, who has dark motives of their own towards them all.
"The Old Guard" is another graphic novel adaptation, however unlike Edgar Wright's "Scott Pilgrim vs the World", it lacks a stronger point of view in order to make it more distinguishable and ultimately, memorable. The film provides enough background and dimension to the lead characters, while not so much to the main antagonist, but lacks a stylistic approach to make it more distinguishable from so many other generic action films. David Leitch's "Atomic Blonde", also shepherded by Charlize Theron, managed to overcome the anonymity of action films, by infusing the narrative with a style that captured not only the scenario of Berlin in the late 80s, therefore successfully building a far more engaging context and backdrop for these characters to live in. "The Old Guard" aside from the well choreographed action scenes, is devoid of much of context building, lacking grittiness or anything that gives it an extra dimension to make it truly memorable. The cast ends up being the most interesting thing about the feature, with the always fantastic Charlize Theron creating a weary and resourceful leader, with ample support from the equally great Matthias Schoenaerts, the  fantastic Chiwetel Ejiofor, all rounded out by Kiki Layne, Marwan Kenzari and Lica Marinelli. It's an entertaining endeavor, but really needed a more distinctive and stylistic point of view at its helm.