ATOMIC BLONDE review by Ronnie Malik – Charlize Theron looks great killing a lot of dudes

ATOMIC BLONDE review by Ronnie Malik – Charlize Theron looks great killing a lot of dudes

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Director: David Leitch

Cast: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, Eddie Marsan, John Goodman, Toby Jones, James Faulkner, Ronald Moller, Sofia Boutella, Bill Skarsgård, Sam Hargrave, and Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson

Rating: C

Ah, the 1980s! That magical an era famous for its fashionable clothes, spiked hair styles, and best of all music, is all brought back to life in the spy thriller ATOMIC BLONDE. Set in Berlin during the cold war with the falling of the Berlin Wall as the backdrop to a story about a game of cat and mouse, this slick production features the lead character as a powerhouse female MI-6 agent that kicks butt and outsmarts Russian and British Intelligence. Could this sexy sleek stylized film jump start the first female super-spy franchise that rivals any James Bond cinematic adventure?

Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron), a cold and calculating MI-6 agent, is sent to East Berlin to retrieve microfilm containing a list of names identifying secret agents, with one of the names in particular giving away the identity of a double agent. It would be a catastrophe for the list to fall into the wrong hands. Lorraine meets British agent Percival (James McAvoy) once she arrives in Berlin, and together they risk everything to find the list in order to protect the identity of their counterparts. Of course the task is not an easy one and things get complicated when KGB agents, a beautiful French informer named Delphine (Sofia Boutella), and the creator of the list Spyglass (Eddie Marsan) are thrown into the complicated web of espionage. Lorraine, who is known to always succeed, seems to fail at her mission and finds herself behind closed doors forced to explain away her failure to Emmet Kurzfield (John Goodman), a CIA official, and Eric Gray (Toby Jones) from British Intelligence.

Choreographed complicated fight scenes coupled with amazing cinematography make for eye popping action. There is one scene in particular that takes place through an apartment stairwell that is just remarkable. The fact that the violence and attack sequences are so over the top and almost ridiculous somehow makes this part of production very entertaining. The 80s music in the background as the exchanges of punches, bones cracking, and body smashing makes for a nice little touch.

Theron is in tip-top physical condition for the film and is perfectly cast as the icy and fearless agent that can’t be stopped. The screen sizzles with a little romance thrown in between Theron and Boutella. McAvoy does not fare so well playing the British agent. He is not convincing at it and at times seems like he is overacting. Disappointing, considering how amazing he was in film SPLIT.

Unfortunately, ATOMIC BLONDE violently falls and crashes as the convoluted storyline just gets more confusing as the movie progresses. Becoming extremely slow in the second half, the pacing of the film feels very off and the spy plotline is extremely difficult to understand. It is never clear what Goodman or Jones’ characters are doing in the film. They are just a couple of guys talking to a bruised and banged up girl, while behind a window another guy (whose character is never explained) observes the threesome exchange words and stares. There is no explanation to who Spyglass really is or if there was an explanation it was just too hard to comprehend in the jumbled storyline.

Theron is what makes this film worth watching because she is in awesome in it. The intense fight scenes along with the 1980s vibe add a nice touch to what was could have been a complete waste of time. Charlize certainly knows how to pull off the style and finesse of a woman who can outmaneuver anyone that stands in her way. With no substance to really keep it going, ATOMIC BLONDE blows up into a big pile of ash by the time it is over. It will be interesting see if this will be the first film in series of what has the potential to become a popular feminine action star franchise – provided of course that the filmmakers take note of why this movie falters at the box office and do something to prevent a complete mess up if they go for round two of Lorraine Broughton bulldozing her way through the next female action adventure spy drama.

ATOMIC BLONDE hits theaters July 28, 2017

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