Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Writer(s): Greg Rucka
Cast: Charlize Theron, KiKi Layne, Matthias Schoenaerts
Synopsis: 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.
To be a superhero movie in 2020 you need to bring something new to the table, and immortality is not what you need. Both of these concepts have been played out and overdone to such a far extent. Palm Springs was able to bring a fresh take to one of these topics, but even then, the movie was almost an anomaly in a played-out “genre”.
Charlize Theron plays Andy, an old… guard who has been protecting herself and others for hundreds, maybe thousands, of years. When it comes to Charlize, she is excellent, as she is in almost everything she does. You can tell with her that acting isn’t just a means to an end, but something she really takes pride in. For the rest of the cast, however, there is a lifelessness and repeated feeling that they manage to display that fits the film, but doesn’t ever really manage to work.
The directing of this movie is a little bit more inspired than the rest. The action sequences are choreographed extremely well. Even though these action sequences aren’t as fresh as some other recent films, they are extremely solid in their own right. But, during the fighting, I couldn’t get over the fact that the music overlaying the scenes was extremely egregious. In one fight scene, an orchestra is playing. It is beautiful and cinematic. It doesn’t quite fit the scene, but on its own, it is a wonderful piece of music. Then the next fight sequences will include an EDM track that seems just as out of place in the complete opposite direction. This movie has an issue with trying to be “cool” enough to keep up with the John Wick‘s and the MCU movies of the world. Sadly, the concept and the film as a whole just has nothing worth latching onto like the previously mentioned movies.
One of the major issues The Old Guard has though is the attempt to overly explain the mythology behind the group of immortals. We are constantly being brought to moments of their past that have little to no bearing on their present. This over-explanation constantly clashes with the ambiguity that Andy is trying to relay. There is a push/pull story-wise that runs into itself to a point where it runs off the tracks. This movie tried to do, and be, more than it was, and for me, it just never worked out.
However, the biggest issue this movie has is the fact that there is just nothing new. Their depiction of immortality and not being able is the same thing we have seen in Deadpool but done much better there. I was wanting so bad to see something new from this movie, but I was constantly kept with the same action movie sequences I have always seen. Maybe the inevitable sequel will be better, but this one just didn’t do it for me.
Final: Theron’s badass presence isn’t enough to hold up this run of the mill story that we have seen countless times. The action scenes are inspired, but the constant change in pace musically gets in the way of ever really enjoying the fights. For a superhero movie in 2020, we need to see something more, and The Old Guard just doesn’t bring it.
Current Tomato Score: 81%
Current Metacritic: 70
Current IMDb: 6.7/10
Awards Prospects: None
Jacob is a film critic and co-founder of the Music City Drive-In. He is a member of the Music City Film Critics’ Association and specializes in the awards season. You can find him on Twitter @Tberry57.