Back From The Past
The Old Guard
Stars: Charlize Theron, Kiki Layne, Marwan Kenzari, Luca Marinelli, Harry Melling, Van Veronica Ngo, Matthias Schoenaerts and Chiwetel Eliofor
Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Scriptwriter: Greg Rucka based on “The Old Guard” by Greg Rucka and Leandro Fernandez
Composer: Volker Bertelmann and Dustin O’Halloran
Cinematography: Tami Reiker and Barry Ackroyd
Skydance Media and Netflix
Rating: R for violence and themed material
Running Length: 125 Minutes
“The Old Guard” is just that, a protection group from the past that is still protecting humans today. How long ago? Try a few thousand years. In this sometimes-tongue-in-cheek film directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, we have Charlize Theron as Andy (short for Andromache), the leader of a group of people who just can’t die. Immortals, and oh how present-day scientists/entrepreneurs are after them for the secret of eternal life. Such is the tale of this group.
The film begins with people dying after having been shot. Fingers twitch and the people slowly come back to life. Then we see what happened before, leading to this point. Introduced to the group of four, there is Booker (Matthias Schoenaerts from “Mustang”), Joe (Marwan Kenzari) and Nicky (Luca Marinelli.) Their leader is Andy and they have been set up by a former CIA, Copley (Chiwetel Ejiofor), who has been their contact. They have accepted a protection job in the Sudan and were ambushed. Surprising the bad guys by coming back to life, and using an axe as a weapon, Andy leads the group toward the bad guys. Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, there are a group of Marines under fire and one of them, Nile (Kiki Layne) is supposedly killed, only to come back to life. The Four can sense this and realize there is another person out there like them. How to reach her? Meanwhile, Merrick from a drug pharmacutional (Harry Melling), is trying to gather information about The Four for “scientific research,” and we know what that means. So, The Four have to live undercover all the time, while trying to reach Nile and trying to stay away from the grip of Melling and his group. There are betrayals, new truths (who is Quynh?) and plenty of action, all with a bit of humor and side comments, “Good or bad depends on the century.” My favorite, “An army of four? Let’s start a band.”
The acting in “The Old Guard” centers on Charlize Theron as the world-weary Andy, keeping the group intact while realizing that death eventually comes to everyone, even after thousands of years. She does action and dry wit very well. Kiki Layne from (“Beale Street”) is her counterpart, realizing that she is “different” and everything that comes with immortality including secrecy. The rest of the actors Matthias Schoenaerts, Marwan Kenzan and Luca Marinelli), work as a team that has been together for centuries and fought in many wars during that time. They have individual personalities that clash or blend. Soundtrack by Volker Bertelmann and Dustin O’Halloran is well-placed and cinematography by Tami Reiker and Barry Ackroyd, very good.
“The Old Guard” is surprising in many ways. The group doesn’t have uniforms to proclaim their existence, they have dry humor and sometimes prefer unconventional weapons (“Thor” uses a hammer and Andy has an axe), The group is getting tired of it all, but what to do since you can’t die? Unfortunately, in each century, there are disputes and wars, so the fight continues, and you wonder, are there more out there like them?
“The Old Guard”
Copyright 2020 Marie Asner