By the first weekend of August I am usually sated on action movies I’ve gone to see at the theater. It is part of summertime. The very definition of popcorn movies. Find an air-conditioned dark room to watch larger than life thrills and chills. Except 2020 is not a normal summer. Black Widow, James Bond, and The Fast and Furious crew are all delayed. What am I supposed to eat my popcorn with? Netflix to the rescue with one of the best action movies I’ve seen in a while; “The Old Guard”.
As it seems almost everything is these days “The Old Guard” is based on the comic book of the same name by Greg Rucka. This is one of the rare occurrences where the movie was better than the book. The big reason for that is the director and the star. It is not that there are significant differences in the plot since Mr. Rucka wrote the screenplay. It is that Charlize Theron who plays the lead character Andy adds so much to the nuance of the character. Plus director Gina Prince-Bythewood makes the action pop.
The premise of the movie is there are a team of assassins led by Andy who are immortal, kind of. You send them on a mission they get killed only to rise and take down those who killed them before. Andy is short for Andromache of Scythia and she has been doing this for centuries. When a new immortal comes into being, they dream of him or her and are compelled to seek them out. At the beginning of the movie a new immortal arises from the fighting in Afghanistan. Having a new member allows for all the audience’s questions to be asked by the newbie. The villain is a maniacal preening pharmaceutical executive who wants the immortals’ genetic secrets to make a profit.
As I watched this, I realize how reliable an action star Ms. Theron has become. Her physical ability to lay down the stunts is impressive. She spends most of the movie with the new immortal Nile played by KiKi Layne. Ms. Layne also successfully transitions to action star.
The Old Guard has a little more on its mind than the typical action movie. There is a twist which is not in the comic book which provides a greater meaning for the lives of these immortals. It really appealed to me making a good plot better.
By the end we are left with a potential lead-in to a sequel. I really hope to see these characters again. Maybe next time in a future summer at the theater.