Movies Reviews

Criticism | The Old Guard is more than crap and bomb!

It seems easy to maintain the balance between roles that demand great dramatic depth and characters in action-packed features. The South African actress Charlize Theron is one of the Hollywood actresses who has achieved this feat. Having already been awarded the Oscar and the Golden Globe for Best Actress for her breathtaking performance in Monster: Killer Desire and competed for these and other awards several other times, she always accepts the challenge of building iconic characters as in PrometheusMad Max: Fury Road and even in not-so-interesting features like  Snow White and the hunter and Fast and furiousThe Old Guard it's the stage for Charlize Theron once again to show her brilliance and this time… well accompanied.

Based on the comic book of the same name by Image Comics written by Greg Rucka (who previously worked on the Wonder Woman comics), the latest feature released by Netflix revolves around a group of people who possess the gift of immortality. They came together, as a special operations squad, to protect people who need help. Led by Andy (Theron), Booker (Matthias Schoenaerts), Joe (Marwan Kenzari) and Nicky (Luca Marinelli), they survive by taking care of these rescues and missions. The lull is gone when the team is pursued by a large pharmaceutical company in search of their bodies for scientific research. In addition, a new immortal appears, the Nile marine (KiKi Layne).

The Old Guard Comic Cover / Reproduction

Right from the start, we see the bodies of the four members killed after a frantic shootout and, as if by magic, the four get up as if nothing had happened and start the counterattack. The violence is wide open to the four corners of the screen. And the blood? The shooting? Remember Inglourious Basterds? Blood flows in the best style Tarantino and the shooting scenes too. The special effects are well done in wound recovery. The fight scenes are well choreographed and the stunt work is wonderful. On the other hand, Merrick (Harry Melling, Harry Potter franchise) is a pretty silly, bland villain who doesn't care how many people have to die for him and his company - he's the "early" mind representing Merrick Pharmaceuticals - to reach the profit goal. Not very different from our reality, is it?

Dangerous decision, however, more certain than 100 reais bills. It is Rucka himself who writes the script in his first work in this chair. In addition, the American comic book writer shows talent on the cinematic side as well, building an exciting story by adding elements that make the story even more round, lending function - but not explanation - to the "powers" of the five immortals and an episode in Andy's past. which graphically reveals how this gift can be a terrible curse and which also serves to create a cliffhanger (it is a script resource used in fiction, which is characterized by exposing the character to an extreme, precarious situation, such as a dilemma or the confrontation with a surprising revelation) which makes this potentially the start of a franchise.

Just like the newcomer to the group who is desperate for answers, so are we. But more important than that is the way the production is conducted. We have very good main characters with their own stories and even more interesting is the way each one is treated and built. If, on the one hand, we have women who go to fight, are determined and courageous, we have a gay couple that are not stereotypical and caricatured, but two characters who show their affection either through phrases or gestures and yet they are represented very naturally. However, the electro pop soundtrack is weak for the tone of the plot and some underdeveloped or poorly developed characters take the viewer's attention a little bit.

The team of protagonists are very good. The villain… The billionaire industrialist Merrick (Harry Melling) is nothing more than a walking salt-free caricature who only needed to dress in black and rub his hands, occasionally laughing hysterically or with an air of madness. The character Chiwetel Ejiofor  it is average and lifeless. Deserved more. However, even in this “jelly” way, his character Copley does better than the villain gang. Everything that Rucka inserted in Copley's variation, he took from Merrick and his henchmen, making the viewer want the tragic, cruel and slaying end of each one that belongs to the villain's team that has a breathtaking end. And what's that post-credit scene? It smells like a sequel, doesn't it, @Netflix?

But why should I watch?

It's an interesting plot and the story is different from what we're used to. If on the one hand, Andy (Theron) was afraid of being left behind and forgotten by the newcomer Nile and we see that doesn't happen. We see that betrayal is for something unimaginable and comes from where it is not expected. The most surprising thing is that we have a film in which the woman is not the ladder for the man to shine and goes beyond that… we have LGBTQ representation that is very rare to see in action films. The film is well constructed, has good sceneries and a wonderful cast.

Bet on two women as a highlight of strength and courage. The action is very well led by Gina Prince-Bythewood ( The Secret Life of Bees), who knows how to work with explosions and beatings without exaggerating too much and without bewildering the viewer. And another well-observed point is the dramatic tone used by Theron, which gives us a melancholic Andy that remains even in the happy moments that are few and in the midst of unbridled brawling.

In this way, the actress manages to give the character an extensive and heavy baggage of her immortality that gradually disappears. Although, they have little screen time, the other immortal companions are as good as Andy and Nile that works as our "entrance" in this terrifying and different world, sad and unsettling. It's a good movie and deserves a sequel.



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