Atomic Blonde Review
Atomic Blonde is an action spy film directed by David Leitch and stars Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman, Toby Jones, and Sofia Boutella. It is based on a graphic novel called The Coldest City. The film is Leitch's first solo credit as director, after co-directing John Wick with Chad Stahelski.
The Story/The Direction:
The film takes place mostly in Berlin in the year 1989. The movie is pretty straightforward as a British agent is mysteriously killed and Lorraine (Theron) has to solve why while also stopping the Russians from getting nuclear intel that could continue the Cold War. She is joined by David Percival (McAvoy) though she would rather work alone. There are other points but that's the general plot line.
Where this movie shines is in action scenes. As shown in John Wick, Leich really knows what a viewer wants to see when it comes to action. Each fight has its own great moments with the best being the one that is completely one shot. It was a beautiful scene that will remind you of Old Boy. This fight scene is fantastic because it shows not only that Lorraine isn't 100% invincible but also how hard fighting someone to death would be. This is true even for the Russians that she is fighting. After catching the fifth breath, the fighters are bruised and wobbling instead of standing. You see and feel the pain in them. Each also has a good mixture of comedy in the fight scenes such as when a villain tries to remove a knife from his back like a turtle on his shell. Leich does it again with his amazing cinematography. I also personally loved the color scheme of this film as it helped portray the time of the Cold War. It also adds to show the gruesomeness of the fight scenes. Similarly to how Logan Noir emphasizes Logan's aging body, this film does the same to emphasize the battle wounds that Lorraine receives. The neon colors and the graffiti-like titles for scene changes also add to the grittiness of the film. If you're a fan of 80's music, the soundtrack is also a fun one filled with a bunch of hits that'll make your ears happy.
The obvious star of this film is Theron. This woman has now solidified herself as an action film star. If you didn't think she was before this film, this will definitely push you towards that end of the spectrum. Her character is fantastically written to show her bada**ness. Lorraine is great at her job and so is Theron, it's a match made in heaven. She's sexy, powerful, and a combination of John Wick and Jason Bourne. It's also cool to mention that Theron, like Keanu Reeves in John Wick, did all her own stunts. However, even with the obvious similarities between the two characters, Lorraine is not just the "woman version of John Wick." She honestly feels more human. Wick is regarded as the "boogie-man" in his film while Lorraine is only a really really good spy. She gets knocked down and you see the pain she suffers. Though enjoyable, Wick doesn't give me that. You don't really see him suffer pain or feel for him in that way.
The supporting cast is also really good with McAvoy and Boutella being the standouts. McAvoy who plays a fun spy psychopath that has been living undercover for MI-6 for a long time is great as always. Boutella has a similar role as an undercover French agent. Boutella's character develops a relationship with Lorraine that goes through some strenuous times. Boutella does a much better job here than her role in The Mummy. I'm not saying she's winning anything for this but she definitely has me interested in her career.
Where this movie falls short is that it is somewhat predictable. It's a spy film so there's going to be a lot of misdirections and the ones in the film are not the hardest things to predict in the film. I also feel the ending just added more confusion to the story than it really needed. I feel it wasn't executed in the best way possible and it could have gone in a different way. There are also plenty of dialogue scenes that are there as filler and are a little boring that does drag the movie a little bit. In addition, the fast pace of the film doesn't mix too well with the number of details in the film. If you blink or go to the bathroom, you may miss something that could be essential for the plot.
However, any of these flaws are forgotten as soon the action starts again. Theron makes this her film that could have been a film developed around her. She makes every moment of this film tolerable just to see her fight again. In regard to action films, after this film, I would pay to see any that has Theron tied to it. It's not perfect but the film packs enough punch to knock you back and keep you on the edge of your seat. It is made by a man who really appreciates a good action scene and he will be directing more action films in the coming future. I do want to watch it again and I'd definitely see it in theatres if you can!
Rating: 3.5/5.0 bowties
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