This is one comic book-based film that just takes your breath away. Writer Greg Rucka, who adapted the graphic novel he wrote with Leandro Fernandez, hits all the standard story beats of this genre. There’s the obvious exception to the immortality rule, an over-the top villain, the villain’s conflicted right hand man (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a very sad backstory of torment for Andy (Charlize Theron), a betrayal, a climactic rescue mission, and even a scene that sets up the sequel. But he and Prince-Bythewood always support these familiarities with their actors’ ability to depict how strongly bound together their characters are.
From the beginning, Andy leads a covert group of tight-knit mercenaries with a mysterious inability to die have fought to protect the mortal world for centuries. But when the team is recruited to take on an emergency mission and their extraordinary abilities are suddenly exposed, it’s up to Andy and Nile (Kiki Layne), the newest soldier to join their ranks, to help the group eliminate the threat of those who seek to replicate and monetize their power by any means necessary. Until Nile showed up, Booker was the Guard’s youngest member, joining in 1812.
The movie captures your attention in the first few minutes as the main team is brutally shot and killed. The suspence in that scene is striking and might cause you to pause and stop watching because of the thought that the protagonists are all bullet-ridded within the first 10 minutes of the movie; a little later, we see them rising up fully healed after this slaughter, spitting out the bullets that have penetrated their faces as they mow down their opponents.
“The Old Guard” has the benefit of not carrying the strict, fan-driven baggage of the Marvel and DC movies. As a result, it may not get the attention it deserves.
The ending makes you wish you start watching the sequel as soon as the credits start to roll.