THE OLD GUARD Review: Charlize Theron Can't Save This By-The-Numbers Action Flick

THE OLD GUARD Review: Charlize Theron Can't Save This By-The-Numbers Action Flick

Gina Prince-Bythewood's adaptation of Greg Rucka's graphic novel The Old Guard is set to premiere on Netflix on July 10, and now that the embargo has lifted, you can check out our review after the jump.

The Old Guard tells the story of a group of immortal warriors led by Charlize Theron's Andromache of Scythia (Andy), who do their best to make the world a better place as mercenaries for hire. As Andy becomes increasingly disheartened that their efforts are all for naught, the presence of a new immortal (KiKi Layne) gives her a reason to keep going and may ultimately restore her faith in humanity.

It's an intriguing premise, but, unfortunately, Gina Prince-Bythewood's adaptation of Greg Rucka's graphic novel does very little with it.

We'll start with the good stuff: Charlize Theron is as electrifying as ever, and between this, Atomic Blond and Mad Max: Fury Road she's established herself as a bonafide action heroine. She kicks, blasts, snaps and slices her way through The Old Guard with aplomb, and her character is easily the highlight of the film.

Her supporting cast of immortals (Lane, Matthias Schoenaerts, Marwan Kenzari and Luca Marinelli) all do their best, but are let down by poor character development and some truly abysmal dialogue (don't worry if it wasn't already blindingly obvious that Andy blames herself for what happened to a fellow immortal back in the day, another character will spell it out for you in a second).

The same goes for Chiwetel Ejiofor (how they nabbed him for such a thankless role is anyone's guess) and Harry Melling as the mustache twirling British villain - although props must go to the director for casting someone with one of the most punch-able faces in movie history.

Netflix first look and release for new Charlize Theron movie

The action is mostly top notch, with some scintillating gunplay sequences and fight choreography. It soon becomes a little tiresome, though, because all the spin-kicks and throat punches in the world don't matter if the story is lacking. The fact that our heroes can't be killed is really the only thing that sets this apart from any number of generic action thrillers, and even that supernatural twist is largely ignored aside from a few brief flashbacks which actually wind up being more interesting than the main plot.

We won't spoil what happens (although it probabaly wouldn't make much difference), but the ending is not so much left open for a sequel as it's practically begging for one. This is reportedly the first part of a planned trilogy, but, to be honest, we'd be hard pushed to watch a follow-up if it was on Netflix right now.

The Old Guard has its moments, but a promising premise and Theron's star power are not enough to save what soon becomes another by-the-numbers action flick.

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