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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jul 16, 2020



CHARLIZE THERON has proven herself as an action star in “Mad Max: Fury Road” as the kickass amputee, Furiosa, and in playing the title role in “Atomic Blonde”.

She now plays another action hero, Andromache the Scythian, or Andy for short, in the action fantasy, “The Old Guard”, based on the comic novel by Greg Rucka, who also wrote the screenplay.

This could have been a big summer blockbuster offering in the U.S. but since theaters are closed because of the pandemic, it’s now released via streaming on Netflix. Andy is an immortal and has been around for centuries. No one knows how old she really is.

She works with three other immortal soldiers of fortune who fight injustice across the globe: Booker (Matthias Schoenarts), Joe (Marwan Kenzari) and Nicky (Luca Marinelli). Joe and Luca are gay lovers who’ve been together since the Crusades.

All of them can be wounded by bullets but they heal in a jiffy. Andy says: “Throughout history, we’ve protected the world, fighting in the shadows.”

A former CIA operative, Copley (Chiwetel Ejiofor), contacts them to help rescue 17 schoolgirls who have been kidnapped in the Sudan. They get to the location but there are no abducted children. It turns out they were just set up by Copley.

The plan is to trap them so they'll be held captive by Merrick (Harry Melling), a pharmaceutical tycoon who have seen them defying death and now wants to experiment on them so he can get their DNA and find out what makes them indestructible.

His men were able to get only the lovers Joe and Nicky so it becomes Andy and Booker’s task to rescue them from Merrick’s high tech lab.

Along the way, Andy sees a female marine, Nile (Kiki Layne), who earlier died in combat in Afghanistan after a terrorist sliced her throat.  She wakes up in her tent, fully healed, without even a scar on her neck.

She’s wondering how she survived it and Andy quickly recognized her to be another immortal and recruits her. Of course, at first, she won’t believe it and resists the idea so Andy shoots her right on the forehead and she heals again instantly.

Eventually, she becomes an ally and helps retrieve Joe and Nicky from Merrick’s clutches. From the looks of it, they want this to be just an origin movie that will start a franchise, just like “Extraction” of Chris Hemsworth.

There’s a lot of exposition in it, including another immortal, an Oriental woman named Quynh (Veronica Ngo) who’s Andy’s lost love that was captured and buried alive in the middle of the sea inside a steel casket so she cannot escape from it.

In the course of the story, a member of their group betrays Andy and company and they banish him.

In a scene after the movie’s post title credits, we see this traitor being contacted by the Oriental woman, who has obviously found a way to escape from her coffin-cage under the sea and it looks like they’ll be working against Andy and company in the sequel.

As an escapist action fare, the movie is well directed by a woman, Gina Prince-Bythewood, who did the hit “Love and Basketball” 20 years ago.

She delivers all the sound and fury needed on screen for this kind of action flick but she has to thank Charlize for bringing a more moving dimension to her interpretation of Andy, the same way she made Furiosa a lovable character.

Andy is already tired and wary of her life after existing for so many centuries that are apparently now taking its toll on her.

She and Nile start as foes and they had a violent encounter inside a cargo plane because of Nile’s recalcitrance. But soon, Andy as the seasoned warrior becomes a surrogate mother for her new ward.

Charlize gets good support from Kiki Layne, a black actress we first saw in the acclaimed film, “If Beale Street Could Talk”.

She rises perfectly to the challenges offered by her role as the neophyte immortal, like leaving and forgetting her own immediately family for good.

The three immortal guys have their moments. Schoenaerts as Booker is touching as he voices his feelings on why he resents being an immortal: he’s always watching those who he have learned to love grow old and die.

As for Joe and Nicky, their romance show’s there is a forever. Joe declares about Nicky: “He’s not just my boyfriend. This man is more to me than you can imagine. He’s the moon when I’m lost in darkness and warmth when I shiver in cold.

"His kiss still thrills me even after a millennium. His heart overflows with a kindness of which the world is not worthy. I love this man beyond measure and reason. He is not just my boyfriend. He is all, and he is more.”

It is such a surprising immortal declaration of love from an LGBTQ romance in an action-fantasy flick about immortals, but who cares?

We hope Andy can top that with her own declaration of love for Quynh when they cross paths anew in the sequel.