Netflix & Chill #84: The Old Guard
Directed By: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Starring: Charlize Theron, Kiki Layne, Marwan Kenzari, Luca Marinelli, Harry Melling, Veronica Ngo, Matthias Schoenaerts, Chiwetel Ejiofor
Rotten Tomatoes: 81% Tomatometer, 71% Audience Score
The Old Guard opens with Andromache of Scythia (Charlize Theron) or Andy as she goes by in these modern times, meeting back up with her friends, Booker (Matthias Schoenaerts), Joe (Marwan Kenzari) and Nicky (Luca Marinelli) for a job. A former CIA operative named Copley (Chiwetel Ejiofor) has hired them to go rescue a group of kidnapped children in South Sudan. Andy initially is resistant to the proposal, but agrees to the job and the team heads to South Sudan. Once inside the bunker, they don't find children- but they do find a team of highly trained mercenaries who ambush them and riddle them with bullets, seemingly killing all over them.
Surprisingly, they recover from their wounds and realize that Copley has set them up- and they set out to find the reason why.
Meanwhile in Afghanistan, US Marine Nile Freeman (Kiki Layne) gets her throat slit while taking down a military target, only to recover without a scratch. She dreams of Andy and her team and they dream about her- which is how these immortals find each other whenever a new one emerges, as has happened several times over the centuries. Andy heads out to Afghanistan and gets Mile out of there before military personnel can ship her to Germany to find out what's up with the whole 'recovering from a slit throat thing.'
In London, Copley shows a video of the ambush to pharma execituve Steven Merrick (Harry Melling) who is obsessed with finding a cure for aging or gaining immortality. Merrick orders Copley to send a team to France to capture the Immortals. Meanwhile, Andy brings Nile bac to France and she meets the rest of the team. She learns about Quynh (Veronica Ngo), the first of Andy's comrades who was captured and cast into the sea in an iron maiden and has been continually drowning ever since. They also reveal to Nile that eventually, their ability to heal stops- which happened to another former comrade of theirs, Lykon.
Merrick's forces arrive and ambush them- Joe and Nicky get captured and a badly wounded Book is left behind. Nile, Andy and Booker prepare to go and get Joe and Nicky- but at the last second, Nile decides to leave and go and spend some years with her family- as she's young enough to have some time before her immortality becomes obvious to people. Andy lets her go and she and Booker head out to confront Copley.
When Nile dumps the car, she realizes that the gun Andy handed her is empty and that Booker is going to sell out the team. Sure enough, that's what happens but then Booker realizes that Andy's wounds are no longer healing and her immortality is starting to fade. She and Booker are taken by Merrick's men and Nile arrives too late to confront Copley, who reveals the truth. Every person the team has saved over the centuries has gone onto save even more people in their time- so the amount of good they actually have done without realizing it, has been immense. Nile and Copley (who has had a change of heart, upon realizing that Merrick is willing to torture the immortals for as long as it takes to get the answer he was looking for.) Nile rescues pretty much everyone and they shoot their way out of the place, killing Merrick in the process. Copley agrees to help them and scrub their presence off of the internet- as it's getting harder and harder for them to hide. Booker is exiled from the group for 100 years. Six months later, however, he drunkenly stumbles back into his apartment and is greeted by a not entirely unexpected by still interesting guest.
Overall, this was a pretty good movie. Not a lot to complain about here. I love the concept-- immortal warriors work as mercenaries in the contemporary world. I love the way they play with immortality (it's not exactly a good time, as everyone you know and love eventually gets old and died) and I don't know whether Charlize Theron is making a concious career choice to do more action movies, but I gotta say: I love her in action movies. She's bad ass and whether they make another sequel or not (it's pretty obvious that they want too), I hope I get to see her in more action movies. My Grade: *** out of ****. I'd call this a good-but almost-great movie. It's worth a watch, but it won't blow your mind or rock your world or anything. It will, however, entertain you- and in these days, you can't beat that.