Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE OLD GUARD (Netflix)

Why does every movie have to have a “new recruit” type story line? That’s where the universe is very much already established and they bring in a new character (someone casual moviegoers can relate to) to learn the ropes. Is it so that the story/screenplay writer can easily and without any kind of effort spoon feed all the information/rules to the audience in multiple uninteresting monologues? Is it so they don’t have to think hard of a new and unique approach where little things are hinted at here and there where movie goers would have to grow a brain and piece everything together on their own? The “new recruit” type story is EVERYWHERE. Men In Black, The Matrix, 6 Underground, Kingsman, Inception, is just a very small list of the thousands of movies out there that do it. However, those movies get past that cliched premise because they have other, much bigger elements that come into play that are interesting enough and overshadow that “same old, same old.” Inception is a HUGE example of that. Anyway, the thing that makes the new Netflix original film, THE OLD GUARD, just a one time half-way decent watch is that the bigger elements presented in this movie…is just more shit that has been done before, namely the “Immortality Old Warrior” type angle. Another problem with it would be that Charlize Theron and company just explain the rules to the “new recruit” in a bunch of uninteresting ways and have “standing close to each other for 5 to 10 minute” monologues. And yet another problem would be that I guessed everything that was going to happen way before they happened and even guessed what the mid credits scene would be only a half an hour into the 2 hour run time. The film only gets a barely passable slight recommendation from me because it has a action packed last 30 minutes, the movie looked good and was well shot, and of course…Charlize Theron is always fantastic in whatever project she takes on.

Still think I’m nuts? Look at the IMDB log line for this: “A covert team of immortal mercenaries are suddenly exposed and must now fight to keep their identity a secret just as an unexpected new member is discovered.” New member. I guarantee you that two word phrase is in the log line of thousand of films that you have seen before. Is there really no way that this movie, and the graphic novel its based on as well, could’ve just had this “Old Guard” be on their own to present a story that hinted at and then gradually revealed the rules while the movie progressed without having one character explain all of it to a new one in a mundane monologue? There had to have been a way, HAD to. I myself can even think of several ways the movie could’ve avoided all those trappings and had been a unique ride. Alas, it doesn’t, it takes the easy way out for you to quickly understand and relate to the story. I’m just tired of it is all. Also, for an action movie, there is not a lot of action, save for the last 30 minutes. It’s really just a bunch of characters getting all the history out of the way so that the sequel doesn’t have to explain everything and just be completely action packed. I’m sorry but you do not want your first movie in a franchise to be just a dialogue bridge film for better sequels. You are already setting yourself up for failure doing that. Which, judging by the mid credits scene, is EXACTLY what this film is doing. Plus, let’s list the cliches shall we? We get another bad guy just wanting to make money off of or harness the groups abilities, betrayals and double crossings, plot points that the group are afraid will happen that they point out at the very beginning of the film that DO happen later on, the works. If you watch closely, this film is BEAT BY BEAT ripping off The Matrix.

Okay, enough with my bitching, it is getting old. Let me get to some of the good stuff. Like I said, Charlize Theron is excellent in this, that there is no doubt. The new recruit, played by KiKi Layne, is good as well. All the acting is top notch, even though Chiwetel Ejiofor is completely wasted with his talents here and should not have been cast in a role that small. I even loved that two of the Old Guard were homosexual lovers. That was a nice dynamic that had some great pay off scenes. The whole movie looks nice and is shot well by director Gina Prince-Bythewood. Give her a better story and screenplay to work with and she could do wonders. The only big fault with this movie is the story/screenplay. This screenplay was written by the actual creator of the graphic novel it is based on Greg Rucka, who is known for the many graphic novels he’s written. I wish he would have more original ideas is all and wouldn’t fall into the trappings of all the cliches he writes himself into. It just takes that one idea to be extraordinary. The real problem is that there is nothing new with this movie. Every element is taken from many other different films that have done those elements better. When you can’t take those elements and even put a small unique twist on them to make them better and new again, what’s the point of even writing those kinds of stories in the first place? Even though it has been happening for years, it has been starting to get old lately just recently for me. Fuck…maybe I’m just getting too old for this shit?