In The Old Guard, Andy (Charlize Theron) and her group of mercenaries work to right the wrongs in the world and help others who cannot help themselves. On a mission to save kidnapped children brought to them by Mr. Copley (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Andy, Booker (Matthias Schoenaerts), Joe (Marwan Kenzari), and Nicky (Luca Marinelli) find themselves ambushed by a group of militants looking to capture them for an unknown entity. Grossly underestimating them and their immortality, the group can take out their attempted captors and escape but not before realizing they are being hunted and watched. As they try to hide themselves away as they have done for many many years, they are alerted to the awakening of a new immortal, Nile (KiKi Layne) who they must find and keep safe. While the group does their best to stay anonymous, someone has discovered their secret and will stop at nothing to capture them and harness it for their use and profit.
Charlize Theron once again proves her wildly incredible range and skill as an actress. She effortless transitions from role to role with a comedic role followed up by a non-stop kickass action performance. She never ceases to amaze me in what she can do and how she continues to top every performance. Andy is a spitfire and a force with which to be reckoned. The layers of her character are what draw us in to learn more. She is rough and ruthlessly violent, but as we learn, with a purpose and a drive that involves protecting the ones she loves and making a difference in the world. The message that her character sends is one that resonates with the audience: you don’t have to be weak or meek to be caring and stand up for what’s right. When Nile, played by KiKi Layne joins the group, Andy is further confronted with what it is to be human, to have a family, and to know what you do matters; something that she may have lost along the way. KiKi Layne brings such a freshness and authenticity to her role and making her experience relatable.
The way writer Greg Rucka is able to develop each character in the film allows the audience to fully embrace each of them. Joe and Nicky, played by Kenzari and Marinelli, are electric together. They have such a simplistic love and dedication to each other and the group. On the other hand, we have Booker played by Schoenaerts who is much more jaded and tortured than the two lovers. The balance that the characters strike is one that lends itself to a relatable and genuine group that the audience can wholly embrace.
The choreography in The Old Guard is top-notch and leaves your heart pounding out of your chest. Each scene has such seamlessness to it with stunning visuals. The special effects team creates something so hauntingly terrifying and magical when the group is first attacked. Director Gina Prince-Bythewood’s seemingly effortless weaving of each component of this film leaves us with action that is on par with some of the best of the genre, but with the heart and emotional weight of a heavy-hitting drama. The Old Guard vibrates with an intensity and a freshness that brings action films out of the margins and front and center for the praise they deserve.
The lasting message of The Old Guard is the resounding strength of the human spirit and the need to be grounded and empathic of the human experience. It is often easier to look outward and see the things we need, without regard to the impact it has on others. In a truly divisive time, The Old Guard reminds us of the impact we have, not only on others but on the world and the future.