Monday, July 27, 2020

The Old Guard (2020)

Immortality seems like kind of a lame superpower.  All it means is that you can’t die.  You can still feel pain.  And what happens if it doesn’t include the replacement of lost limbs?  You could have to spend the rest of your life as just a head or something?  This doesn’t even mention the loss of all your loved ones and having to keep up with society for an eternity.  Plus, what if you gain immortality when you’re 80?  There are a lot of quality-of-life issues you’d have to contend with.

Andromache has been dealing with that for approximately 6,000 years.  She leads a small band of other immortals who fight for good causes.  It’s not necessarily anything major, but they tend to help people who go on to do something important.  The latest addition to this group is Nile Freeman, a soldier serving in Afghanistan.  So, Andy has to not only find Nile and help her out, but she has to deal with a pharmaceutical CEO names Steven Merrick.

Merrick wants to find the immortals and study them.  If he could figure out where the immortality comes from, he could sell it and make a fortune, as if he weren’t rich enough.  It would sound pretty easy, as the immortals don’t have to fear death.  However, nothing lasts forever.  And it’s not really that simple.

It’s pretty obvious that Netflix is trying to set up a franchise here.  The movie doesn’t go into too much detail about where the immortals came from.  It’s not stated that the powers are genetic or divine.  It’s also implied that maybe six or so have it at any given time.  It comes across a lot like Highlander.  Granted, a lot of the major details are different.  These immortals only fight for good and aren’t compelled to battle each other.  (It’s not even clear what effect beheading would even have.)

The ending also leaves open the possibility of another movie or even a TV series.  It might be interesting to see what that looks like, but I’m hoping that any future projects would look better than this.  The writing is a little flat and it’s not particularly fast-paced.  This wouldn’t be so bad if it were setting something up.  Andy would be on her way out and Nile would be serving as the audience’s surrogate.

A TV show could make sense.  Each episode could deal with some moral issue while at the same time building the mythology.  I would hope that Merrick wouldn’t come back, though.  He was a one-dimensional villain.  He seemed like a stock Scooby-Doo villain in some regards.  There was no dying grandmother.  He didn’t seem concerned by bettering humanity.  He was purely motivated by profit.  But, hey…Who wants to live forever, anyway?

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