New from Netflix this week, "The Old Guard" stars Charlize Theron as "Andy," whose full name turns out to be Andromache of Scythia ... keeping in mind that the Scythians ceased to be a dominant force in the world in the 3rd century BC. She leads a team of three others, all equally as hard to kill (although none so old). The four of them guard humanity from itself, doing violence to save innocent lives. But times are changing: on their most recent job, they realize they've been discovered, with a recording of their recoveries from mortal wounds having been made. And at the same time, they realize that a new immortal (KiKi Layne) has just gone through her first death and resurrection.
The story isn't new: war-weary do-gooder warriors, with the superhero twist that they essentially re-animate if they're killed. They don't know why. The modern world has caught up to them and wants their powers. But spectacularly good action sequences and good acting make this a really enjoyable ride. The action is top-notch: Theron in particular moves so quickly and smoothly that you begin to believe she's been doing it two thousand years. And nobody has ever sold the tired-of-being-alive immortal bit as well as she does either. I can't classify it as great art, but action flicks don't come any better than this.
My one reservation and annoyance was they deliberately set up a sequel - which can't be as good. Thinking about that made me realize one of the things that made this good in the first place, the scale: they didn't save the world. They're fighting for their lives, and that's drama enough. Think of all the superhero sequels: every single one goes bigger, and they're never as good as the first story.