FILM UNFILTERED – ‘The Old Guard’ is not Theron’s best work

FILM UNFILTERED – ‘The Old Guard’ is not Theron’s best work

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The last time I saw and wrote a review starring Charlize Theron, it was 2017’s “Atomic Blonde” and that was one heck of a movie.

Her new film “The Old Guard” has been playing on Netflix a couple of weeks and while it’s not nearly as fantastic as “Atomic Blonde” or her awesome performance in 2015’s “Fury Road,” it’s an acceptable way to throw away two hours.

The film tells the tale of Theron’s Andy, an immortal woman who leads a team of four with similar powers. They are mercenaries for hire but only for jobs they deem acceptable to their cause. It’s not completely clear if they’re like the “A-Team” or the “Equalizer” but they’ve got a moral code for the work they do.

A former CIA operative and business associate, Copley (Chiwetel Ejiofor), requests them to rescue some kidnapped students but double-crosses them and sets into motion a long and drawn-out eventual showdown against his boss.

While Andy and her team are on the run, they must also contend with integrating a new immortal into their ranks. Nile (KiKi Layne) is a Marine serving in Afghanistan who gets her throat slit but then amazingly wakes up in the med tent to realize she doesn’t even have a scar.

Andy tracks her down and implores her to come with her for her own safety. Nile is resistant at first and she and Andy take a few lethal hits at each other with Andy ultimately gaining the upper hand and proving her skill at fighting is immensely greater than Niles’.

There are some interesting ideas at play here during this movie and yet there are some other things that just stumble and fall flat. The idea of immortality is a fascinating premise that has been done better by films like “Highlander” or even “Interview with the Vampire.”

Andy and her team are a compelling group but I just felt they never got fleshed out enough and that their past lives just got brushed over too quickly. Booker (Matthias Schoenaerts), Joe (Marwan Kenzari) and Nicky (Luca Marinelli) have been bouncing around for a couple hundred years but besides a few quick mentions or quick glimpse at a photograph on a bulletin board, not much is told of their exploits.

The bad guy here, Merrick, is a CEO of a pharmaceutical company who basically wants to harvest the blood and DNA of these immortals for monetary gain. He’s played by Harry Melling and comes off as a sniveling, weaselly character who is surrounded by thugs on his payroll.

I was fairly disappointed by this film and I think it just goes off the rails halfway through. The finale was the best part but the preceding 100 minutes were mediocre at best.

The film is rated R.

Charlize Theron stars as an immortal mercenary in “The Old Guard” now playing on Netflix.