sun 09/08/2020

The Old Guard review - serious silliness | reviews, news & interviews

The Old Guard review - serious silliness

The Old Guard review - serious silliness

Netflix immortality action flick is predictable but pleasurable, thanks to a winning cast

Fake blood and real comradeship: Charlize Theron (Andy) and KiKi Layne (Nile) give great warmth to a cold conceptAimee Spinks / Netflix

It’s hard to take The Old Guard seriously — it’s an action film about thousand-year-old immortal warriors. Pulpy flashbacks and fake blood abounds. But The Old Guard doesn’t need to be serious or even memorable: it’s a fun, feel-good film, a rare commodity these days.

Andy (Charlize Theron) leads a band of renegades who use their immortality to thwart crime. Their secret power makes them outcasts, so their existence is increasingly threatened by surveillance and modern technology. A new immortal, Nile (KiKi Layne), joins their ranks at the exact moment that their freedom is most threatened.

Chiwetel Ejiofor as Copley, the group's sometime antagonist

Gina Prince-Bythewood’s film feels like a blockbuster, with high stakes and high production values. Admittedly, the plot twists are predictable, and the film is a shade too self-serious and melodramatic. Still, the comic-book formula is given new life by a likeable cast and a distinctly modern sensibility. Supporting actors — including Chiwetel Ejiofor (pictured above) and Marwan Kenzari — are supremely charming, and the chilly supernatural atmosphere is warmed through by themes of companionship, familial love and mutual admiration. Meanwhile, the film’s sheer bloodlust keeps the tension high.

The result is easy and enjoyable, despite some dark themes. Think Twilight with a twist of Black Panther: often silly, sometimes soulful, always decent fun.

@j_c_masters

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