"The Old Guard" (2020) – Netflix Movie Review

What’s going on guys? I’m Tyler and I’m
here to let you know that “The Old Guard”
is NoPerfectMovie! “The Old Guard” is
about a group of immortal mercenaries
(led by Charlize Theron’s ‘Andy’) who are
on the run from a CIA operative
(Chiwetel Ejiofor) and a scientist
(Dudley Dursley from “Harry Potter”) who
wants to take their blood, DNA, bone
marrow-stuff like that and find some
life enhancing uses for it against their
own will and while they’re in the
process of hiding, they come across this
brand-new immortal-a Marine soldier
(KiKi Layne) who they take under
their wing and try to protect her at all
costs while also basically giving her
the hard truth about the strengths and
weaknesses of supposedly living forever.
And I really wanted to check this movie
out without even seeing a trailer-
without hearing about it until this week
because Charlize Theron in an action
movie-Chris Stuckmann said it in his video
but with “Mad Max: Fury Road” and parts of
“Atomic Blonde” and “Aeon Flux”,
Charlize Theron is badass to watch in an action
movie and she puts a great deal of hard
work and effort into the stunts! And when
I found out that the characters in this
movie were immortal mercenaries and that
it was

based off of a comic, I got so
many ideas in my head-again without
seeing a trailer, what the fight
choreography was going to look like, what
the kills were gonna look like, just so
many creative ways that you can bring
someone back to life… which is why I was
incredibly disappointed to find out that
the majority of the action scenes in
this movie basically rip off the “John
Wick” style of gun fu where you grab an
assault rifle, you go down a hall, ‘one-two
steps’ shoot, ‘one-two steps’ shoot and then
maybe a generic judo throw in
there, with camerawork that’s not awful
but it is very distracting handheld
with a lot of quick cuts during the
actual physical combat sequences that make
it really… not only really hard to follow
but really hard to feel the weight of
each punch and kick because every time
someone gets hit, it cuts to a brand new
camera angle for seemingly no reason and
sure, “John Wick” does have sequences where
it is mostly just headshots and a couple
judo throws, but that’s not all they use;
they use their fists,
they use their feet, they use belts, ropes,
horses, dogs, cars, swords, knives, axes…
a fucking pencil! They take their budgets
and they do absolutely everything they
can with it and for me personally,
whenever I see any actor just shooting
a gun on-screen and that’s it, I’m just
like “Any actor can pretend to do that,
not every actor can dedicate months of
their time hours a day learning so many
different varieties of martial arts in
order to make it look completely
effortless”! Charlize Theron can do that
with “Mad Max” and “Atomic Blonde” for sure,
with these other actors I’m not entirely
positive about how much work they put
into it. And when it comes down to them
being immortal and whenever they get
shot and come back to life, they don’t
really do that much with it either;
they just have their shot wounds and stab wounds heal up very
quickly, sometimes a bullet pops out like
Wolverine, there are so many creative
ways that you can bring someone immortal
back to life in a gory over-the-top way
like in “Baccano”-whenever someone loses a
limb and loses a great deal of blood,
the limb & the blood just flies right back
and I feel like you can do that in
a film if you have the budget… I don’t know
how big of a budget Netflix had to shoot
“The Old Guard” because they don’t reveal
budgets that they make for their
original movies, only for movies that
they pay to distribute like “Roma” so I’m
not entirely sure if they didn’t have
enough money or if they didn’t have
enough time but if that’s the case, why
would you take on a big superhero story
like this?! Even when there are purely
just fistfights-like the best scene in
the movie; this fight between Charlize
Theron and KiKi Layne where Theron is
basically trying to see if Layne really
does have the skills necessary to be a
mercenary, that fight was really cool but
the scenes that are purely fistfights
are either a few seconds or one minute
tops and I have absolutely no idea why!
I could just immediately go back to
budgetary reasons-they don’t have enough
money or time so they cut on every
single impact in order to save on
footage and and work hours, and not only
that just-again, film it with
a handheld camera so you don’t have to
waste so much time putting on a tripod
you don’t film it in wider, longer takes
like they did with “Atomic Blonde” or
“John Wick” because those are really the things
that-if you’re going to knock off
“John Wick”, knock off the camera work-
do not go gritty and handheld unless
you’re actually showing the action for
longer than five seconds, that is what
action fans desperately need! And yes,
this is a 1st time action movie for
this director-I can’t remember her name
right off the bat but she’s most famous
for directing “The Secret Life of Bees”
with Queen Latifah, so this is a director
who is good at giving out great
performances from actors-regardless of
whether the material is deeply complex
or a little too sappy, but in regards to
the filming action it’s clear as day
that this was a 1st try! But action
aside, how are the performances and the
characters? The weird thing is
I wouldn’t really describe this movie as
an action movie I would describe it as a
drama with action sequences because I
can’t even count how many fight
sequences there were because there
really were that few! The majority of the
movie is the characters in a secluded
area sitting in a circle, explaining the
rules of what it’s like to be immortal,
explaining each other’s backstories,
analyzing what they did wrong in the
past and what they could do better in
the future-which would be fine, some of
these characters do have clearly defined
backstories like Charlize Theron
especially; she’s the leader because
she’s lived the longest, she’s
experienced the most hardships so when
she takes KiKi Layne under her wing, we as
an audience really hope that the two of
them can come to grips with how shitty
of a situation they’re in and try
to focus more on the positives in life-
the people that they help and the
long-term consequences that come in a
good fashion. And KiKi Layne was
a legitimate surprise for me personally
because usually brand new members of
superhero teams tend to be clumsy
damsels in distress who serve comedic
purposes by getting captured,
dropping something or some stupid shit
like that … that was not the case here! She
was a Marine-her 1st scene is
showing off her backstory of what a
skilled Marine corporal she was and when
she’s executing certain missions as part
of the team,
she never drops her guard and I really
appreciated that! She never got too
emotionally sucked into what was going
on that she never got distracted which
is important for the military training
that she got! And out of all the
backstories, hers the most fleshed out-we see in
a few seconds once she discovers that she
is immortal, all her friends immediately
stop talking to her because ‘Something
incredibly weird just happened and
something weird can happen to us if we
stick around her’ and most of these
scenes are told without dialogue, we get
this one sequence where she’s packing
her bags she looks at this picture of a
man who we immediately assume as her
father and we can immediately understand
why she’s in the military, who she’s
doing this for, where she probably
learned these skills from, we get all
those clues without copious amounts of
exposition even though they do explain
her backstory towards the climax in full
detail and out of all the info dumped
expository monologues, hers felt the most
earned because she was the new member;
she feels like she has to express
herself amongst these new friends in
order to connect with them and in order
to find some common ground. So
Charlize Theron and KiKi Layne in particular were
really good… Dudley Dursley as the
villain does have a clear and concise
motivation, but he has such an
over-the-top personality-these facial
expressions and incredibly random, loud
line deliveries that serve absolutely no
purpose! You can’t take him seriously as
a villain even though they’re giving us
valid reasons to take him seriously but
he’s just a cartoon character, nothing
else! Almost the same with
Chiwetel Ejiofor because he’s given more of a
backstory as to why he would try and
force people against their will to make
a sacrifice for the greater good, but all
he does is explain his past-we never see
it for ourselves, the most we get
is a picture of a dead loved one and
that’s really about it. And that’s the
big problem with the character
development in this movie-even though
the majority of the sequences are
characters shooting the shit with each
other, learning stuff, finding common
ground which would be a fresh change of
pace for a superhero movie if the
character development was good,
it’s nothing but facts-we don’t really get
that many emotionally investing moments
when all you’re doing is explaining-not even your own past, you’re explaining the
past of someone else while they’re
sitting moping in the corner and that’s
really all you get-there’s one member of
the team who the most interesting thing
about him is that in one particular
scene he changes sides twice based on
conflicting emotions even though we
really know nothing about this guy and
then all of a sudden he becomes a major
focus in the very end and the focus of
the final scene that sets up a sequel
because… it’s a superhero movie based off
of a comic book-why wouldn’t it be? And
there’s there’s one subplot that really
pissed me off because of how out of the
blue it was and how it became the sole
focus of two characters who were really
just in the background and had a few
smartass quips here and there because that’s the only
common thing we know about this team of
immortal mercenaries; they have sarcastic
quips off of each other and that’s
really about it… but there were these two
guys in particular who get captured
halfway through and then when their
captors sarcastically say “What-is this
guy your boyfriend”?, the one captive goes
on a huge monologue about the stuff
they’ve been through and it’s just like
“It’s more than a boyfriend” and then they
make out and I’m just like… wait, where
did this come from?
And before anyone freaks out, let me make
this clear; I don’t have a problem with
gay characters… I do have a problem
however with their sexuality being the
most interesting thing-if not the only
interesting thing about them and sadly,
this movie did a clumsy job at making
these characters interesting-their
sexuality was the only thing you know
about them,
therefore the only interesting thing
about them and as a result, they just
feel like tropes-they feel like
archetypes, they don’t feel like
characters! And a part of me wants to say
that this movie is trying to force
diversity on the audience but in a weird way,
the movie’s message is kind of goes
against that because the villains
throughout the majority in the movie
look at these immortal mercenaries and
say “You’re not sacrificing your own
lives for the greater good by taking
part in these experiments that could
heal the sick, make people last for
longer than 80 years, how selfish of you”
and then the movie goes “That’s not your
choice to make, that’s not your right to
take away from us-we fight the
battles that we believe are necessary
and can help-maybe not the entire world
but can help a small group of people who
will be eternally grateful for that” and
I thought that was an excellent message
because we live in a period of time
where everyone decides “If you’re not
making a difference the way we are, then
you’re not making any difference at all”
and this movie says fuck that! You can
make a difference in the world
by your way, your choice and yours only
and I thought that was fantastic-that’s
a message that seems risky nowadays but
with the fact that there are two
characters in this movie who…
their only backstories that they’ve been gay lovers
for hundreds of years which does sound a
little bit intriguing-it doesn’t really
change the fact that they’re they’re not
really interesting other than they’re
gay and that’s really about it! And there
are so many other comic-book movie
tropes I can go on and on about like how
this is an origin story even though at
the beginning of the movie, this team is
like “We’ve risked so much, we’re out in
the open, we don’t think we’re making
that big of a difference in the world,
we’re out” and then all of a sudden this
new girl suddenly makes some of them
change their minds and of course it does
set up for a sequel which… seeing
how the Netflix budget for this movie
affected the action sequences, I don’t
really know how that’s going to work out.
There’s so many other things I could
complain about other than the fact like
the 1st half of the movie is them
taking this brand-new
immortal under their wing and showing
her the ropes and then all of a sudden
it becomes a moral dilemma story about
the sacrifices that we make whether we
do them because we want to or other
people just based on their own
pre-determined beliefs, this movie had a
lot going for it and they had absolutely
no idea how to do it and for all those
reasons, all those very messy and
convoluted reasons, I have no idea how
this video is gonna turn out-I feel like
I’ve gone off base so many times so I’m
gonna leave it here, I’m gonna give
“The Old Guard” 2/5. Guys, thanks as
always for watching! If you have seen
“The Old Guard”, let me know in the comments
below what you thought of it…
feel free to disagree, it’s
completely your right. Be sure to stay
tuned for the rest of my Studio Ghibli
series and be sure to LIKE and subscribe!
Take care!

%d bloggers like this: