The Old Guard makes immortal heroes of Charlize Theron and Kiki Layne

THE OLD GUARD (2020) - (L to R) Marwan Kenzari as Joe, Matthias Schoenaerts as Booker, Charlize Theron as Andy, Luca Marinelli as Nicky, Kiki Layne as Nile.Photo Credit: AIMEE SPINKS/NETFLIX ©2020
THE OLD GUARD (2020) - (L to R) Marwan Kenzari as Joe, Matthias Schoenaerts as Booker, Charlize Theron as Andy, Luca Marinelli as Nicky, Kiki Layne as Nile.Photo Credit: AIMEE SPINKS/NETFLIX ©2020 /

Charlize Theron and Kiki Layne lead a cast of immortal do-gooders as they attempt to keep their centuries-old secret in Netflix’s The Old Guard.

While by now summer blockbuster season would be in full swing, obvious extenuating circumstances have resulted in a noticeable drought when it comes to big, action-based flicks this year. As such, when it finally came time for Netflix to release The Old Guard, we were nervously excited to get our first — and possibly only — taste of a genuine summer blockbuster, in the most traditional sense of the term.

Although The Old Guard may not have gotten a theatrical release, it more than lived up to our expectations in terms of filling the massive action-movie-shaped hole in our hearts, giving us a solid two hours of quipping, ass-kicking, and Charlize Theron brooding.

Directed by Gina Prince-Blythewood (Love & Basketball, The Secret Life of Bees) The Old Guard is based on a comic-book series of the same name, which follows the lives of four immortal warriors (Charlize Theron, Matthias Schoenaerts, Marwan Kenzari, and Luca Marinelli) who have devoted their lives to saving others and helping to better humanity. However, when their existence is threatened by a wealthy CEO seeking to use their powers for profit, the group teams up with their newest addition, an American marine (Kiki Layne) to save themselves.

At the center of it all is Charlize Theron’s Andy, the oldest of the group (though, just how old she repeatedly declines to say), who has spent centuries tortured by the guilt of losing those closest to her: another immortal woman named Quynh, who was doomed to an eternity of torture after being captured during the witch trials. As a result, Andy is the strong and silent type: fiercely protective of the three (later four) living immortals under her care, and willing to stop at nothing to keep them safe and maintain order.

However, a wrench is thrown into Andy’s plans of laying low when the group discovers that another immortal has recently joined their ranks: an American marine, Nile Freeman, who was killed while serving in Afghanistan. Between Theron’s Andy and Layne’s Nile, there are more than enough juicy character moments to fill the runtime. Both women are struggling with guilt and denial, albeit for different reasons. While Andy represents the kind of pain that comes from years and years of suffering, Nile is experiencing these wounds fresh for the first time, and as a result, we get a taste of what Andy may have been like as a young woman.

It’s an incredibly interesting (and at times very nuanced) concept to tackle for an action flick, but The Old Guard has no trouble whatsoever when it comes to juggling themes and balancing tone. Although there are some noticeably out-of-place needle drops that consist of pop hits which will undoubtedly date this film in a few years, The Old Guard flows very organically and makes great use of its two-hour-and five-minute runtime.

In terms of fight scenes, The Old Guard certainly isn’t lacking. While there isn’t a punch being thrown every other second like other recent Netflix releases (cough, Extraction), when the action is there, it’s solid stuff.

The fight choreography is impressive, and although the film is somewhat limited by a smaller-feeling budget, there’s enough interesting combat to keep us engaged. If anything, we wish they would’ve gotten more creative with the fight scenes; every now and again, Andy would pull out her battle axe, but for the most part, the combat was either hand to hand or gunfire, which was slightly disappointing when your heroes are a team of immortals who have experience with basically every weapon known to man.

Speaking of our heroes, it wasn’t just Theron and Layne who pulled their weight. The rest of the cast, filled out by Nicky and Joe, a pair of immortals who’ve been in love since the crusades, Booker a treacherous and guilt-stricken immortal from the Napoleonic wars, and Copley, an ex CIA agent hunting the immortals, are all strong characters that bring quite a bit to the table. Our particular favorites were Nicky and Joe, the star-crossed lovers who have more than enough history together to warrant an entire movie of their own. Spin-off, anyone?

Chiwetel Ejiofor is also strong in his relatively minor role. He makes the most of it, and we’re not at all surprised. After all, when was the last time he was anything less than stellar?

The Old Guard may not be anything particularly new or groundbreaking, and it may have a few questionable aesthetic choices (the uninspired costumes, flavorless cinematography, and bizarre music choices to name a few) that keep it from being great, but the chemistry of the cast and the strong storytelling make it well worth the watch, and more than enough to keep us crossing our fingers for a sequel.

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Have you seen The Old Guard? What’s your favorite Netflix original movie? Sound off in the comments below.