Thursday, July 30, 2020

"A two-million-dollar snuff film" and a seventy-million-dollar action film: "The Old Guard"

The first fifteen minutes of Gina Prince-Bythewood's "The Old Guard" introduce Andy (Charlize Theron) and her three friends, immortals whose wounds always heal quickly. The movie's first action scene is first an experience of the characters, but then it's a video watched by ex-CIA agent Copley (Chiwetel Ejiofor), who later shows it to Merrick (Harry Melling), a pharma executive interested in the immortals. Yet for Merrick, the video is just "a two-million-dollar snuff film": he wants their bodies – and their DNA. Merrick's right, of course: Andy is not immortal; it's all makeup and special effects in a seventy-million-dollar action film that makes its heroes' invulnerability into an element of the plot. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 30 July)

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