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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Old Guard is a fast-paced, gory action-adventure movie with two brave, highly skilled women (Charlize Theron and KiKi Layne) in the lead roles. It's based on Greg Rucka's graphic novels about a small team of immortals who travel the world over the centuries to help humanity. Frequently, their mission involves battles and fighting, so expect lots of violent sequences of bloody battles and their aftermath, both in the present and in historical flashbacks. Dead and wounded bodies abound. Weaponry includes guns (both handguns and automatics), swords, grenades, knives, an ax, and brutal hand-to-hand combat. The lead characters can heal from even the gravest wounds (like Deadpool and Wolverine): Their gruesome, should-be-fatal injuries are shown often. Occasional profanity includes "f--k," "s--t," and "a--hole." There's one kiss. Adults drink in social settings, and one man carries a flask that he sometimes drinks from. A scene set on a plane involves illegal drugs. Underneath all of the fighting and blood are strong themes of teamwork, loyalty, integrity, perseverance, and courage.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In THE OLD GUARD, a masterfully skilled, courageous team of immortal warriors agree to a dangerous rescue in modern day. Unfortunately, once Andy (Charlize Theron), Booker (Matthias Schoenaerts), Nicky (Luca Marinelli), and Joe (Marwan Kenzari) arrive in South Sudan to liberate schoolchildren held hostage, they discover their task was a ruse. They've been set up by Copley (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a man who identified himself as a highly placed security agent when he sought their help. The team narrowly escapes but is now aware of imminent danger. At the same time, their extraordinary senses let them know that another immortal has appeared on earth, the first in more than 200 years. Nile (KiKi Layne), a U.S. Marine serving in Afghanistan, must be extracted from her military base and made a part of their small band. At first, Nile is confused, horrified, and disbelieving, but ultimately the team of four becomes five. Their mission now is to find Copley and determine how their immortality was detected and stop those who have made them targets.
Is it any good?
Dazzling action, an intriguing story, and talented actors make this female-driven adventure well worth the time; the writing and some thought-provoking notions about immortality make it special. Gina Prince-Bythewood, now the first Black woman to direct a big-budget actioner, delivers on both grand and intimate scales. The device of introducing a novice who needs to be schooled in the whys, wheres, and hows of the characters' origins works wonderfully well; the audience absorbs the backstory along with the newbie. And, though The Old Guard is based on a series of graphic novels, it's played with straightforward honesty and intimacy, not the often tongue-in-cheek tone of most comic book superhero tales.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the violence in The Old Guard. What emotions does the brutality evoke? Is it exciting or horrifying, or both? How does the fact that two of the movie's action heroes (Andy and Nile) are skilled and successful women change existing female stereotypes? Why is it important to understand how the violence in the film may impact kids?
Pick one of the members of The Old Guard team. What valuable character strengths (i.e., perseverance, courage, integrity) does that team member have? Then, pick one of those strengths and show why it was important to her or to him.
The final scene of this movie, along with other carefully integrated hints, lets the audience know that there will be a sequel to The Old Guard. What were some of those clues? Would you want to see more stories about The Old Guard? Why or why not? What can you expect to see next time? How do you think companies decide whether or not to create a sequel or sequels?
The Old Guard's tagline is: "Forever is harder than it looks." How does the movie explain this statement?
- On DVD or streaming: July 10, 2020
- Cast: Charlize Theron, KiKi Layne, Matthias Schoenaerts, Chiwetel Ejiofor
- Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
- Studio: Netflix
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Great Girl Role Models, History, Misfits and Underdogs
- Character strengths: Courage, Integrity, Perseverance, Teamwork
- Run time: 118 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: sequences of graphic violence and language
- Last updated: August 11, 2020
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