The Old Guard
Disclaimer: If you are not interested in spoilers, please exit the building!
The Old Guard was the entertainment needed for a month of bizarre reactions and behaviors from celebrities and social media. It’s a good thing I detoxed myself from my social media account months ago but even then, you can’t help but catch up via the media so there’s that…
But back to the subject.
The Old Guard was released on Netflix July 10th and we all pounced on it like no man’s business. I left feeling refreshed and grumpy on some stereotypical quacks. I will be sharing a quick story summary and my thoughts on it.
The Old Guard is centered around 4 immortals, Andy, Booker, Joe, and Nicky. These 4 immortals have lived and fought several wars over several centuries. Although they are tired of the never ending journey, they continue to find ways to do what’s right as needed.
The story starts in Morocco. Andy reunites with Booker, Joe, and Nicky. They inform Andy of an assignment in Sudan, of which Andy is hesitant because the rule is to never do a repeat, indicating they may have had a prior mission once upon a time in Sudan. After successfully convincing Andy, they set off to meet with an FBI agent.
We are introduced to an FBI Agent called Agent Copley. Agent Copley provides them an assignment that involves rescuing kidnapped kids in Sudan. However, it turns out to be a setup in order to capture their death and resurrection on camera as proof to a private company called Merrick; who are bent on creating the immortal vaccine or medicine for the human race. Once all 4 immortals discover they were set up, the new mission was to get rid of the problem which is Copley and then go back in hiding.
In Afghanistan, a marine named Nile Freeman is on a mission with her fellow marines to find a man/terrorist. They find him and he is fatally wounded by Nile but also fatally stabs Nile in the neck before dying. Nile bleeds to death in the arms of her best friend/colleague. She has strange dreams and visions of the other 4 immortals and finds herself awake, wound disappeared, she’s now immortal. This freaks the other marines out and they intend on sending her to Germany for more tests. At the same time, the supposed best buddies also managed to distance themselves, making her fully aware of her being a freak of nature.
The four (my nickname for them), while on a train to their mission, also have visions of Nile. Andy sets out to rescue her and plans to meet up with the other 3 in France. Andy successfully rescues Nile but not without a stubborn fight from Nile. Andy constantly tries to explain and literally shows Nile her new immortal powers by breaking her bones in combat and they both watch it heal….it was pretty cool.
Eventually they meet up in France, Nile has another vision of a trapped lady in the ocean which turns out to be the original 2nd immortal called Quynh, who fought and won several combats with Andy. Quynh and Andy promised to look out for each other and always saved each other no matter what but the promise got broken in a century when they both were found guilty of being witches. Quynh was locked in an iron cage and cast away by being dumped in the bottom of the ocean...apparently, she’s been lost in the ocean for over 500 years and Andy searched endlessly for her but eventually gave up and she’s been carrying the guilt with her ever since.
Later that night, Nile and Andy are conversing outside when they get raided by Agent Copley, as an attempt to capture them for experimentation at Merrick’s lab . Joe and Nicky are captured and Booker badly wounded. Andy sets out to battle all the soldiers and does so successfully. Booker heals up and heads to the vehicle, along with Nile to escape with Andy.
Things go south as Andy realizes she no longer heals and she’s now mortal, Booker betrays Andy, and Nile initially refuses to be a part of this new world as she believes she still has time to spend with family before things get suspicious but later changes her mind and joins the defeat of Merrick. Booker is eventually banished for 100 years for his betrayal, The new 4 (Andy, Joe, Nicky, and Nile) makes a deal with Copley to basically be the new eraser of their evidence, to erase their connection to Merrick, and perhaps, provide clean battles for them. 6 months later, Booker stumbles drunkenly into his apartment, living his banished life, as he encounters Quynh waiting inside for him, a beautiful grin on her face with eyes full of fire, as she expresses her curiosity about him.
I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and don’t think the trailer did enough justice to it. Quite frankly, I didn’t have a lot of expectations walking in but walked out with a big grin and a friendly reminder that I needed to get my workout game back on tracks.
Charlize Theron didn’t disappoint, from acting to fighting, she was phenomenal and her body looked like she definitely put in the work to achieve such confident moves as she took down every bad guy that came her way. I LOVED the diverse cast and sexual orientation. This was a solid 2 hour and 5 minutes watch that I don’t regret.
Now, let’s talk about my little issues with the movie.
Nicky and Joe. Oh man, these two were refreshing and their love was extraordinary. In terms of action, they were introduced as true soldiers; swift, focused, and ready for action at any time. Their moves came naturally and their strength extraordinary. When the first death occurred due to the ambush, they rose with the others with even more energy than when they went down. I loved it and looked forward to the rest of the battle, so you can imagine my disappointment when they managed to do the stereotypical bullshit they tend to do with gay characters in movies. What am I talking about?
Well, all that descriptions mentioned was before both characters displayed affections to the new character Nile. Whether it was intentionally or unintentionally done by the director, after they fully established they were lovers, they magically became the weak characters in the movie. They were both successfully captured in their hiding spot in France while Booker was left behind wounded. When in the truck to Merrick, they were able to beat up the army but then magically let themselves get recaptured and tied down to become lab rats. Even while being tested, Nicky informs the doctor that this has been done or rather heard many times before so this isn’t a first but just a first to be easily captured?
When Nile shows up and everyone gets rescued, It becomes a “are you alright?” in the middle of battle situation as compared to the two characters that were so swift and focused in battle, in the beginning of the movie. But the most annoying and comical part was when an explosion happened in the middle of battle. Booker, a very injured/mortal Andy, and Nile run off telling both Nicky and Joe to follow up. The two are shown struggling to get up, a mortal soldier then walks in to attack and I am not kidding, they both take turns in trying to standup by attempting to struggle craw their way up with the support of the soldier pants?! The soldier kicks Nicky and he falls back, too weak to stand. Joe does the same thing and gets his beating, and then the soldier goes to Nicky and Nicky disoriented, keeps swinging his hands lazily as a failed struggle in the air, as the soldier beats him again and blows his brain out. Booker screams Noooo or something and gets his ass beat and the soldier leaves…
Really?! Are you kidding me?!!! The once swift, powerful, immortal soldiers that fought and lived through centuries are both taken down so magically easy by a mere soldier while the others are just so powerful to resist the weakness from the bomb….really? If this was intentional, then that was just sad and generic, if it wasn’t intentional then it is still sad and generic and I am disappointed. I don’t know if it was the same in the comic but I would believe the story if after the explosion, while they tried to run, a bunch of soldiers overpowered them by releasing several bullets into their being and as they struggled for air, the soldier kicked them hardcore and then, blew Nicky’s brain out….that would have been more believable than the eyesore delivered.
My second issue was with Nile’s character. I wish they did more with her in terms of expression. She was going through a lot of changes so swiftly with no time to process it all. I wished they took the time to make her express herself via feelings and reactions as compared to generic “I am angry” physical expressions via movement. Seriously, stop it. I know what you attempted to do, the stereotype is getting old, stop it.
I was able to feel what every character felt except Nile. She physically showed how she felt but never fully allowed herself to make us feel what she felt. When she spoke about not being able to see her family again, I saw her anger via physical reaction, I didn’t feel her anger or sadness. When Charlize and the others expressed themselves on losses and love, I felt it, along with them. They were vulnerable, strong, sad, hopeful, heartbroken, and angry about the injustice of it all. I felt it and wished the actor, KiKi worked on her emotions from an inner perspective, to enable projection for us the audience to feel as well. I am not a fan of stereotypical characters and unfortunately, there were a lot of stereotypical rhythms with the character Nile Freeman.
Finally, the issue with Copley’s mission. This movie was 2 hours and 5 minutes, yet I felt like they made the reveal and connection only 2 minutes thereby making it incredibly rushed to make no pure sense to me. And if I missed it, it’s because my brain was too fried trying to process what exactly he was trying to reveal. He had a wall of connection and tracing of Andy which showed that she was doing something for the greater good as every individual saved, led to a future generation that provided something good back to society...sooooo? Are you saying this was the motivation to bring them to Merrick to be experimented on, for a permanent cure to illness of sorts? If yes, why no civil conversation earlier like he did towards the ending? Why go so extreme for your proof to Merrick? Also, now that it is all over, you showed Andy the wall of evidence and commend her for the goods done, so your new mission is to be responsible for erasing their trace and that’s it? Really? I don’t get it. Why aren’t we preaching on the good anymore for healing? Is this because he believes it is no longer worth it due to the brutal treatment from Merrick? Won’t that make him also one, considering his brutal treatment for evidence? Perhaps he recognized that humans can’t be fully trusted, don’t appreciate the idea of someone else being better than, or perhaps the whole idea of wants being unlimited and just said screw it, live your life and I will watch your back? I just don’t feel like it was a good way to wrap up the movie with all the battle and pain endured to get there.
With this bugging me, I scramped the web for other brains of thoughts and found a good explanation via Looper, which explained that Copley showed them their greater good which he discovered while researching them. During his research, he observed that every individual rescued, somehow was left with a magical after effect of which their descendants end up doing something great for the world. This was proven through all the centuries they saved people so it wasn’t a rare coincidence. This in return, made Andy believe once again, that she still had something to live for… okay.
All rant aside, everyone did a fantastic job and I hope there will be a sequel with Quynh forming her own arming against The Old Guard.
Hope you enjoyed this opinionated review, thank you so much for reading and if you will like to listen to the audio version which is slightly different, please enjoy it via my youtube channel. Yes, this is a shameless plug!