Do you rank Charlize Theron near the top of your list of current action-movie icons? Because if you don’t, you list is incomplete, or flat-out broken. The 44-year-old star of Bombshell, Tully, Monster and Reindeer Games also has been stockpiling killer action roles on her resume, from Atomic Blonde to Mad Max: Fury Road. Add the new Netflix film The Old Guard to the roster, and get ready to stream it on July 10.
Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, The Old Guard follows a team of immortal warriors (led by Charlize Theron) who take on planet-saving missions because of their unique abilities to sustain lethal threats. While on a particularly twisty mission, the team learns of a new immortal (KiKi Layne), and decide to train her as a mercenary before the bad guys prevail.
Our own Eric Eisenberg reviewed The Old Guard for CinemaBlend and said:
Not only does the movie transform Charlize Theron into a hyper-lethal warrior armed with an ornate staff and an unyielding drive to do good, it activates the character in a world built with a strong mythology, and it pairs her with an equally-engaging crew that share a single fascinating trait: they are all immortal (or at least they are until they are mysteriously not). The narrative that plays out is mostly generic, playing out familiar twists and turns, but there are more than enough strengths to serve as counterweights and keep the audience thrilled throughout.
IndieWire’s Kate Erbland praises the movie’s unique point-of-view and strong use of plot twists, writing:
It’s a movie that wants its audience to think and if that sounds like a weird fit for the genre, you’ve surely never pondered what it would mean to be all-powerful in a world that only wants to see things go boom. That said, 'The Old Guard' also takes the time to kick some serious ass. Andy and her pals have spent centuries trying to make the world better, but that has also required them to learn how to really fuck up someone along the way.
And Joshua Yehl of IGN writes about the movie’s strong character work, saying the movie succeeds despite a handful of shortcomings:
Though there’s a lot to like about The Old Guard, there are a few elements that aren’t as refined as the rest. The visual effect of the characters healing from lethal wounds, Wolverine-style, looks plasticky and unconvincing. Songs seem to force their way into the film at awkward times. A certain plot development feels predictable, unearned, and devoid of impact all at the same time.
But Vanity Fair sums the general consensus on The Old Guard up when it writes:
The Old Guard is a naked attempt to kick off a franchise, but I wasn’t bothered by all those obvious table-setting mechanics because what they’re establishing is so tantalizing.