It’s been long enough since the madness of Fury Road that we needed a Charlize Theron kicking ass film again. Atomic Blonde is just that, a slow burn spy drama that I can only describe as the greatest Black Widow movie we’re ever going to get.
Atomic Blonde is also a little Kingsman, but more grown up. The humor and youthful exuberance that made the first film from Matthew Vaughn sort of grab audiences by the balls is replaced in Blonde by a less frantic but more capable tone.
Set in Berlin days before the Wall comes down in 1989, our lead character is one Lorraine Broughton (Theron), a MI6 agent tasked with recovering a list of operatives active across the world before the Soviets can get their hands on it. She’s extremely good at her job, and it’s the main reason she’s still alive after all the combat she sees. The film is based on Antony Johnston and Sam Hart’s 2012 graphic novel The Coldest City, and captures the neon tone of the time.
The big thing in this film is how good the fight sequences are. There are many comparisons already to a James Bond film, and this ain’t one of those. Director David Leitch used his background in stunt work (V For Vendetta, Fight Club, 300) to really craft believable and hard hitting fight sequences where our main character gets winded, gets beat the hell up. Each sequence is better than the one before it, the hallway/stairwell sequences are a new favorite.
SCORE: 4 out of 5, will DEFINITELY see again
The Good: As I already said, the fight sequences are really the highlight of this movie. They are well choreographed, well executed, and you’ll want to watch them again almost immediately. The soundtrack also gets high praise, particularly the mixing of the tracks selected. THIS is how you add in 80s pop and punk into an action film, let it be big and bombastic, the audience (at least in my screening) reacted with enthusiastic murmurs each time a new song thundered over the action. The love scene between Charlize Theron’s character and Sofia Boutella is, to say the least, fucking HOT. You believe these characters are doing what their doing for their own reasons, and it fits the narrative rather than just “heh look two girls doing it”.
The Bad: Some of the plot twists are easy to spot, and perhaps there could have been a bit more spy level intrigue. There are times when the dialog drags things down, but it isn’t enough to really take away from the rest of the greatness of the film.
Also thank you to fellow film reviewer Dana for my Guinness.
See it, see it, see it.
Atomic Blonde opens worldwide on Friday July 28th, 2017.