• Audrey Walter

The Old Guard: Big Pharma Is Always the Villain

Updated: Sep 25, 2020

Make it a series, PLEASE

Finally, a good movie poster!

Spoilers Ahead!

The Old Guard is a new Netflix action movie directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood. This film most notably stars a personal favorite, Charlize Theron, as Andy. A friend recommended this movie. I didn’t know what to expect before watching the film. All I knew is that it was an action movie and that Charlize Theron never disappoints with action.

And that statement still stands!

The Old Guard doesn’t give anything away with the title. I didn’t expect the movie to be about immortal mercenaries and big pharma. The title could’ve been a bit better. At least give me some idea of what I’m getting into! But I do like surprises and this movie was that.

And to my surprise, The Old Guard is based on a comic of the same name! Well, I guess I can’t complain now. Sticking to the source material isn’t a bad thing.

The theme of immortality isn’t the newest idea, but this film definitely made it work in their favor. It felt fresh even when immortality isn’t fresh itself. What made the characters in this movie special was the fact that their immortality could end at any time. Does this mean they aren’t actually immortal? Yes, but they still regenerate and won’t die. That is...until their time is up. That would be frustrating!

This group of mercenaries is being targeted by a pharmaceutical company. They want the secret of immortality in hopes to market it to patients that want to live longer. But if that did happen, wouldn’t it be extremely expensive? So then the only immortals are the rich?

Sounds like David Rockefeller, if you ask me.

All the immortals: Joe, Booker, Andy, Nicky, and Nile.

Anyway, these mercenaries know their immortality is a gift but also a curse. They don’t want to spread this to anyone. It seems like these immortal mercenaries are always warriors or army members. We never get to learn why or how immortals come to be, we just have to speculate. This kind of adds an interesting layer while watching the movie. I kind of enjoyed the unknown. And it is definitely hilarious how pharmaceutical companies can be villains in real life! Too real.

Netflix tends to cast actors that are either unknown, known to Netflix, or super famous. It’s usually a mix of those. In The Old Guard, Charlize Theron is the hard carry. But I didn’t mind the acting of everyone else either. In an action movie, sometimes the acting can fall flat when there’s too much reliance on fight scenes.

This movie found a pleasant balance.

Even though the acting was decent, I didn’t exactly enjoy the comedy. It felt forced sometimes or just too...Netflix-y. I definitely feel like this movie would’ve been way better as a series. They could show a whole backstory about Andy and her comrades. The groundwork could be easily laid out instead of condensed into a movie. And if the show premiered on Netflix, it would get the traction it needs to become successful.

Come on, Netflix. You dropped a great opportunity! I guess it was either Charlize Theron or a series.

A shot from the original comic book.

The pace felt great, the movie made its way to the ending as quickly as it should have. It was about two hours long but felt a lot shorter since it was so action-packed. The fight scenes were amazing, including the gun work. I loved Charlize in Atomic Blonde and I knew she wouldn’t hold back with this movie. She made a 1 vs. 10 fight look possible!

My boyfriend mentioned that he liked how Joe and Nicky, lovers from the Crusades, made sure to kill-shot their enemy every time. And there were swords, too! And a giant ancient axe! I could go on.

But I have one huge problem with this movie and most of Netflix’s movies: the music. My god, this movie had the weirdest, ill-fitting music I’ve ever heard. It’s not like the music itself was bad, but the choice to have it in the movie was...not a good one.

There would be strange girly pop music during an intense moment and a rap song during a simple stroll through a city. Why do Netflix movies need such commercial music? This movie had the most mismatched soundtrack ever. It completely ruined the mood, was distracting, and made me laugh.

Netflix, let me pick the songs next time.

The ending of the movie was pretty satisfying, but obviously it was alluding to a sequel. I won’t be mad about it if it’s about Quynh. According to the comic, Quynh is actually named Noriko. I don’t know the reason for the name change, but in the comic, she becomes the villain in the next series. Her being in a state of drowning for years made her very vengeful. I'm interested to see how it plays out in a sequel.

Learning that this film was originally a comic book just cements the idea of a series. A series could’ve helped build backstory and have way more action scenes. Gosh, I’m so sad they didn’t take that route!

The Old Guard is a great action film that touches on the subject of immortality--its positives and negatives. And although I so badly wanted it to be a series, I’m content with this movie. It was a fun movie to watch and I’d recommend it to any action movie lover. But...please make a sequel.

I give The Old Guard an 8/10.

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