Starring: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman, Til Schweiger, Eddie Marsan, Toby Jones, Bill Skarsgård.
Plot: At the close of the 1980’s and with The Berlin Wall close to falling, MI6 agent Loraine Broughton is sent to the city to retrieve intel that could unveil evidence of an espionage ring.
There is a glorious cinematic tradition of the spy movie, that marrying of intrigue, butt-kicking & breathtaking action can be for the most part an incredibly enticing prospect. We’ve had Bond, we’ve had Bourne, we’ve had Wick (ok, he’s not strictly a spy but you get my drift) and now into that pantheon of ass-kickers step’s Loraine Broughton. Is this a new action hero worthy of being named alongside these illustrious takers of names?
Atomic Blonde is a big screen adaptation of the graphic novel The Coldest City by Anthony Johnston & Sam Hart, not a title widely known and certainly not by myself making such an adaptation a slight risk if not marketed and cast correctly. Atomic Blonde certainly has not problems in the style stakes, it drips with 80’s cool coming from its styling and impeccable period soundtrack, amongst the first things to strike you about the film and then we get to the action. The fight sequences in Atomic Blonde are brutal and I do not use that word lightly, I consider myself to be pretty desensitised to violent action but there were some things occurring on screen in Atomic Blonde that even made me wince, it is brilliantly choreographed carnage that deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the Bourne movies or John Wick, it really is that good. What Atomic Blonde unfortunately suffers the most from however is its pacing, there are some lulls in the action that bring the tempo right down and the writing doesn’t feel quite on par to carry the film alone through those moments, whereas for example John Wick carried some emotional heft to back up the action, Atomic Blonde falls flat on this count and it felt slightly overlong to me clocking in around 2hrs long and possibly could have benefited from a good 15-20mins shaved off that running time.
Charlize Theron kicks ass in this film, she is absolutely incredible and is carving herself quite the side career as an action movie icon for the 21st century. She’s an utterly magnetic screen presence anyway but factoring in the insane fight sequences she is party to in this film and even more respect is earned by her performance in Atomic Blonde, its exceptional. We get some worthy support from the likes of James McAvoy who, as with most performances he gives, adds an extra layer of class to the proceedings and some strong support is also offered from the likes of John Goodman, Toby Jones and Eddie Marsan.
Atomic Blonde is a flawed film that is redeemed by its brutal and exquisitely choreographed fight sequences and a tour-de-force lead performance from Charlize Theron. if anything, Atomic Blonde deserves a second outing to correct the mistakes of the first because with a little more finesse in the writing department and tweeks in pace, this could become the next great action franchise to rival Wick & Bourne.