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  • Writer's pictureS.J.

'The Old Guard' Review: One Lifetime Isn't Enough For Charlize Theron's Quest For Revenge

Charlize Theron, Luca Marinelli and Matthias Schoenaerts pointing guns

The Old Guard isn’t hiding its true colours for too long as it is very clear that it’s the movie that will hopefully give Netflix a big superhero franchise located in their own house. Featuring names such as Charlize Theron and Marwan Kenzari, splashy action, big VFX budgets and veteran producers behind the scenes, it's all there to make something happen out of pre-existing IP. How could it not work during the golden age of comic book stories? Well as much as director Gina Prince-Bythewood's blockbuster differentiates itself from the colleagues by being unashamedly original when it comes to themes, this first movie’s story and choices aren’t quite able to reach that level.

Further back you go in the production timeline, more strengths can be found regarding the technical side. The Old Guard definitely isn’t afraid to change scenery which couldn’t have been the most pleasant thing for the production designer Paul Kirby to work out. His work on keeping the locations interesting clearly kept up with Prince-Bythewood’s vision where the characters aren’t one-dimensional. Similarly casting department deserves credit for finding interesting actors for the roles: Chiwetel Ejiowor (Copley), Veronica Ngo (Quynh) and Harry Melling (Merrick) fit perfectly alongside the main cast, which also includes Matthias Schoenaerts (as Booker), KiKi Layne (Nile) and Luca Marinelli (Nicky). From that main cast, Schoenaerts is particularly heartbreaking and devious.

Then it seems as more time went on, questionable choices started to appear that dug a hole under the film’s potential. About halfway through, the movie being about immortality and finding individuals alike began to slowly fade away. It gets replaced by trying to take down a run-of-the-mill egoistic dude who runs an evil company and that’s just so much less interesting and disappointingly it’s not the only thing that drives it into mediocrity. Some of the fight scenes are well done but there are also weaker ones such as the first one where it’s shot so poorly that you start to worry for the rest. The better ones seem worse because of the astoundingly bad music selections and editing, the tracks’ vocals clash hard with the dialogue and sound effects making the overall sound incomprehensible.

Smileys: Production design, casting, Matthias Schoenaerts

Frowneys: Soundtrack, story

That one romantic outpour from Kenzari’s character though: wow. You know it if you’ve watched the film.


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