By Seth Lukas Hynes
The Old Guard
Starring Charlize Theron, Matthias Schoenaerts and KiKi Layne
Based on the comic book series by Greg Rucka, The Old Guard follows a team of invincible warriors as a ruthless pharmaceutical corporation seeks to steal their regenerative ability, and has fantastic character depth driving its action thrills.
The fast-paced, streamlined plot explores themes of loss, regret and brotherhood. Charlize Theron is a compelling lead as Andy, the team’s stoic millennia-old leader and an immortal tired of life. The performances feel very natural, and the film has morally-grey villains and intriguing dashes of lore.
Nile (KiKi Layne), the team’s latest recruit, undergoes a fascinating character arc, as she adapts to her immortality and her fear and suspicion evolve into intense loyalty to her new friends. Luca Marinelli and Marwan Kenzari provide some touching levity as a couple who met on opposing sides during the Crusades but are now passionately in love.
The gruesome action scenes are quick-cut and frenetic but well-shot and easy to follow. While the warriors can shrug off fatal injuries, the film maintains strong suspense through their internal struggles and the cruel, efficient organisation hunting them, and the revelation that their invincibility eventually wears out adds a further layer of risk to the battles.
The Old Guard is a remarkably polished supernatural thriller full of heart, and is available for streaming on Netflix.