Here's thought maybe Hollywood should try… take a critically acclaimed, graphic novel and turn it into a major motion picture. Oh wait, they have done that already, time and time again. So, what makes Netflix think it would be a good idea to bring The Old Guard to their streaming service? Are they just hopping on the bandwagon? Did they find something different and compelling in the story that made them want to film it? While I doubt we will ever know, The Old Guard, starring Charlize Theron (Atomic Blonde), will debut on the streaming channel at the end of this week.
Andy (Theron) is immortal and has lived for centuries. At first, she was alone but over time she finds others like her and together they fight for justice and freedom. Seeing as how they can't die; they make the perfect soldiers. Well, that isn't entirely true. One day their immortality goes away, but they don't know when, how, or why. However, until that time, they live off the radar helping others when they can but mostly keeping to themselves so as to remain undiscovered. When they get set up by a former acquaintance, Copley (Chiwetel Ejiofor; 12 Years a Slave) they once again go underground.
As they travel to Paris, they are all awoken by a dream…but, not a dream. At the same time, Nile (Kiki Layne; If Beale Street Could Talk) a combat Marine dies after having her throat slit but somehow manages to survive and has the same "dream" as the immortals. Andy recognizes another immortal in Nile and seeks her out to help her all the while both women question why she has popped up now and why Nile. Meanwhile, Copley has teamed with a big pharma company to try and capture the immortals in order to use their DNA to create medicines to save humankind.
Theron is well cast as the leader of the immortals as she once again gets to use her fight training from Atomic Blonde during The Old Guard's battle scenes. The characters are rather similar, but Andy is definitely angrier than Lorraine. Layne holds her own against the veteran actress and the supporting cast members – Matthias Shoenaerts (Red Sparrow) as Booker, Marwan Kenzari (Aladdin) as Joe and Luca Marinelli (They Call Me Jeeg) as Nicky - have good chemistry as if they were all the old friends they portray in the film.
The visuals help to set the scenes well and director Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love & Basketball) has decent pacing. The beginning is somewhat slow, but it picks up by the second act. The fights scenes are well choreographed and seem a little reminiscent of the action in the John Wick films. The story, while based on a graphic novel, has a much different feel than the Marvel/DC Comics superhero fare we have been subject to in the last ten years. The production value is obviously excellent, but I have come to expect no less from Netflix.
The way in which the movie is written feels like a weekly, hour-long drama series rather than a two-hour feature film. Writer Greg Rucka (Stumptown) sets the plot and ending up for Theron's character to be gone and the new immortal, Nile, to take over. There are also many unanswered questions that could be delved into deeper. It would not surprise me at all if, The Old Guard the television series, premieres next year on Netflix with weekly adventures as they fight evil.
It will be interesting to see how audiences perceive the movie, which I'm sure will have a direct impact on the development of a series or at least a sequel. Oh, and there is a little surprise during the credits that I honestly didn't see coming.