Netflix's "The Old Guard" feature film brings the heat and the action
The immortal warriors are back together after a year long break from fighting against the evils overtaking the world. Andromache the Scythian, Booker, Nicky, and Joe give former CIA operative James Copley a chance to talk them into handling a child hostage situation in South Sudan. According to Andromache, aka Andy, this shouldn't even be an idea as one of the pillars of their rules is to not assist someone more than once. Still, she appeals to the puppy dog eyes of Booker, Nicky, and Joe, and is willing to at least hear Copley out.
As the boss, Andromache makes the bad decision to go against her gut instinct and take on the assignment, which turns out to be a ruse meant to capture proof of their existence. Enraged by this betrayal, self-loathing in going against her instincts, Andromache feels the warriors' work has become futile as evil flourishes all across the globe.
Along their way home, the warriors dream of Nile Freeman, a young black woman in combat as a Marine in Afghanistan. They dream about Nile's death which can only mean one thing, after over 200 years a new immortal exists. Andromache sends the others to search for Copley so they can get answers for his betrayal while she heads for Nile to bring her into the band of the Old Guard.
So far, the entirety of the film's story is straight from the pages of author Greg Rucka's The Old Guard Vol. 1: Opening Fire, the first five issues in The Old Guard series. Rucka brings his graphic novel to life on the screen by supplying the screenplay for director Gina Prince-Bythewood's fairy tale of blood and bullets. A bit of advice, if you haven't read the series yet, wait to read it after you watch the film. To tell the truth, Rucka seems to luxuriate in too much story within the film, which Prince-Bythewood is respectful of as he is the creator of the story the movie stems from. This respect is only mildly costly for the director, but she makes up for this problem in her fantastic ability to direct fast-paced and intensely detailed action sequences. They truly suck you into the story and make you wonder "how did they do that" aloud.
As for Prince Bythewood's casting, Charlize Theron's appearance is far from the Andromache of the graphic novel. The long locks of the raven haired Scythian don't flow off of Theron's shoulders here. In fact, no one really looks like their comic counterpart. It's a strategic choice to get your mind out of the comic to avoid such comparisons. Here, you're meant to focus on the characters for who they are and not what they look like. Plus, who says no to Charlize Theron? You need a big, profitable name/face to really sell a film and get that sequel. Theron also serves as a producer here, which is likely part of her contract, the sign of an intelligent businesswoman who knows how to maintain her bankability.
The Old Guard is a great watch for any night of the week. It is a great action drama with an exceptional cast. This is no basic Netflix movie. If you have read the graphic novel, don't fret as there are definitely very interesting changes in the movie's story that will leave you quite intrigued for how the story will continue in the sequel, and truthfully, you will be demanding a sequel. Be sure to pick up the current comic run The Old Guard: Force Multiplied to see on the latest from the immortal warriors.
The Old Guard is available to watch now on Netflix.
The Old Guard Vol. 1: Opening Fire is written and created by Greg Rucka, published by Image Comics and is available now. The Old Guard Vol. 2: Force Multiplied will be available on September 16, 2020 with single issues available now.