Welcome to this week’s edition of the Nerd Review! Every week the Nerds give you their take on a different classic from the Nerdosphere. This week the DPP, Dave and Patrick review Netflix action film The Old Guard
The Flick: The Old Guard
What’s it About: Andy leads a secret team of mercenaries unlike any other, they are immortal. When they are sent on a mission under false pretenses, Andy and her team must try to discover who is after them, and why. This is troubling enough, but Andy and her team also learn about another of their kind. Andy decides to retrieve this newcomer and protect their secrecy at all cost.
Metacritic Score: 70
The Nerds’ Take on The Old Guard:
DPP: Andy (Charlize Theron) leads a group of ancient mercenaries with an incredible healing power. Much like Wolverine’s regenerative powers, the team has powers of immortality, as their bodies can heal from any injuries. Meanwhile, a pharmaceutical company called Merrick is hunting them down to experiment on their DNA. At the same time, a young army woman is discovered to have these same powers, and Andy tracks her down to join the team. We don’t know how these people obtained this power, but as the movie progresses it does a good job of slowly expanding the narrative of each of the elder four mercenaries’ backstories. We learn of others that have existed, and that the immortality may not be quite true. The story is built quite well. While I understand this comes from a graphic novel story, they play on very standard movie clichés. Regenerative powers. Betrayal from one of your own, who later regrets his decision. The man who set you up changes his tune at the end. These pieces are so formulaic and tiresome in movies. The first fight scene showing off the teams skills just doesn’t work for me when the enemies are just waiting for their turn to die. The action scenes did get more enjoyable as the movie went on. I enjoyed seeing the tactical nature of the team working together to take down their foes. Charlize Theron is great as always, and the supporting cast is amazing. I’m excited to see where the story goes from here, as they clearly have more to tell. I just really hope we have passed the cliché story pieces.
DP’s Rating: 3.0/5
Dave: After taking a chance a week ago on a newer Netflix movie, Project Power, and being somewhat disappointed, I confess to being a bit nervous with this week’s assignment, The Old Guard. As it turns out, my fears were misplaced as The Old Guard is an excellent movie and, quite possibly, a very promising franchise for the future.
Perhaps it is because of the source material on which it is based, but the cinematic adaptation of Image Comics excellent series has just about everything a nerd could want. You want action and intrigue? Check. You want some supernatural elements mixed in with suspense, intrigue, and a bit of betrayal? Check that box too. You want a bit of a cliffhanger that opens up possibilities for a sequel? Well, The Old Guard has you covered there too.
In general, The Old Guard is a movie about a quartet of immortals who have stood up for what they consider to be right and just for millennia. The primary character, Andromache of Scythia, or Andy for short, is played by Charlize Thereon, who is just as bad ass as you can get in this movie. In the opening moments of the movie, we see the twist to the immortal’s abilities in that they can be wounded and die…. albeit temporarily. Their wounds heal as though they were all Wolverine clones and they come back to life moments later. But their immortality seems to have a finite limit upon it and none of them knows exactly when their time might be up. As it turns out, Andy’s time is up and her immortality disappears. The sense of Andy’s vulnerability creates some palpable tension coming down the stretch of the movie. In between all of this, the group finds a new immortal, Nile, a young marine who struggles to come to terms with her powers and all that immortality entails. Meanwhile, an ambitious pharmaceutical executive, Merrick, wants to gather all of the immortals so he can conduct testing upon them, unlock the secrets to their immortality, and use these secrets to obliterate disease and aging, all the while lining his pockets and positioning his company at the top of the mountain.
We never really find out the genesis of these immortals’ abilities and Andy’s actual age is a running query for much of the movie. But we definitely learn that there is a price to be paid for being immortal, namely having to watch those that you love grow old, fall victim to disease, and perish. At the same time, all the immortals have had a profound impact on history, even if they do not fully realize it. It is all done in a way that the not knowing of specifics is not really a hindrance to the overall movie.
I found this movie highly enjoyable and filled with characters with whom I cared about. The action is top notch but not really overdone. Unlike Project Power, which I felt played it too safe with the powers and abilities of the individuals involved, The Old Guard takes the concept of immortality and gives it a very subtle, but effective, twist. It has Image Comic’s fingerprints all over it. In the end, we get a post-credit scene that opens up the possibility for a sequel and we are left wondering if Andy’s time has really run out…. or maybe there is hope for her to regain her immortality ability? It’s questions like that—and actually caring about the answers—that made The Old Guard so enjoyable. It is not perfect but as far as a really good new movie to watch among the dearth of new titles since COVID began, this one is highly recommended.
Dave’s Rating: 4.0 /5
Patrick: A soldier named Andy leads a team of mercenaries who carry a secret. Their wounds from battle always heal, even those that should kill them. When they take a job from a man named Copely, Andy’s team learns they have been set up. Copely knows their secret and sets out to find him. At the same time, the group shares a dream of a young marine named Nile whose throat was slashed by a terrorist in Afghanistan. Andy retrieves Nile to the team before the military can send her away to be experimented upon. Once united the team discuss how to find Copely only to discover he’s trying to bring all of them in for a darker purpose.
Unlike last week’s Netflix Original movie, The Old Guard delivers on a promising premise. The concept of Immortals living secretly among us isn’t exactly new, but the film pulls out some themes that are thought provoking and action packed. The Old Guard explores the idea of finding one’s purpose in the face of immortality and feelings of futility. The film also tackles the greed of humanity with a pharmaceutical CEO played by Harry Melling who hunts the immortals with the intent of experimenting on them like lab rats just so he can profit on the cures their DNA could provide.
The action pieces are solid, but there is nothing particularly earth shattering to see. The cast though works really well together. Charlize Theron is front and center as Andy, playing the leader of her small band. She balances being a tough, bad ass type well with being a caring mother figure to the youngest and newest member of the team Nile, played by KiKi Layne. Layne is terrific as the wide eyed newcomer to the team, trying to wrap her head around her radically changed world. Rounding out the cast is the always amazing Chiwetel Ojiofore. Ojiofore plays misguided Copely who has been obsessing over the Immortals since his wife’s passing, and acts as antagonist to the group for much of the movie. At the end of the day, The Old Guard is two hours of solid entertainment with strong action sequences and a story to hold its own.
Patrick’s Rating: 3.25/5