Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Review of ATOMIC BLONDE: Stylish and Sexy Spy

August 1, 2017




Charlize Theron is one of those actresses whom I think can do no wrong. She is consistently good, whatever role she gets herself into. If she is in the cast of film, she will undoubtedly be one of the actors who get noticed for her performance, even if the film itself was not so well received, like "A Million Ways to Die in the West" (2012) or "The Huntsman: Winter's War" (2016). 

Since her incredibly dynamic turn as Imperator Furiosa in "Mad Max: Fury Road" (2015), Theron has shifted gears into the action genre, following this up as Cipher in "The Fate of the Furious" (2017) and then this one where she is the title character.

It is 1989 in still divided Berlin. A Soviet defector code-named Spyglass had obtained and memorized a list of spies working in the USSR. The list was stolen by a KGB agent Bakhtin. Top British MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton was sent into East Berlin through her contact agent David Percival, Her mission is to recover the list and to assist Spyglass gain safe passage into West Berlin. Of course, it was not going to be that easy.

As you can see in the trailer alone, Charlize Theron was like an action beast unleashed in this film. Her fight scenes were incredibly executed, so bone-crushingly realistic and bloody! All the fights were so breathtaking with fast destructive moves and weapons both real and makeshift. That scene when Lorraine was fighting several Russian goons in the old building was the one that can really punch the breath out of you and make you cringe in pain. Theron is 41 years old this year, but her ageless body is lean and taut as ever, and she has nude scenes here to show it all off.

James McAvoy is another one actor who seems consistently good in any film he does, like "Atonement" (2007), "X-Men First Class" (2011) and just earlier this year "Split" (2016). He balances the typical stoic spy attitude of Theron with his gregariousness and sense of humor to liven up the pace. John Goodman (as CIA agent Kurzfeld), Til Schweiger (as The Watchmaker), Eddie Marsan (as Spyglass), Toby Jones (as Eric Grey, Lorraine's boss and interrogator) and Roland Møller (as rich gangster Bremovych) all do well in their roles.

Action is really the forte of director David Leitch, who first gained fame as a stuntman and coordinator in many action films, some pretty iconic ones like "Fight Club" (1999), "Mr. and Mrs. Smith| (2005) and "300" (2006). He also did time being second-unit director in films like "The Wolverine" (2013), "Jurassic World" (2015) and "Captain America: Civil War" (2016), and co-director in "John Wick" (2014) for which he was not credited. "Atomic Blonde" is technically his feature film debut as solo director. 

The action scenes were no doubt the best parts of the film -- car chases, foot chases, gun fights, fist fights, and everything in between. However, some of the in-between convoluted double-crossing set-ups between all the agents of multiple loyalties can feel slow and familiar, impeding the film's pace. Anyhow, Theron's Lorraine has the potential to become another spy film franchise, like James Bond, Jason Bourne and Leitch's own John Wick. Lorraine's sexy tryst with French agent Delphine (played by Sofia Boutela) echoes of Bond.

One of the aspects I enjoyed are the various references to the 1980s (to early 90s). There are celebrity name-drops like Sinead O'Connor and David Hasselhoff and that killer soundtrack of 80s power anthems, like "Major Tom," "99 Luftballons," "Father Figure," "Der Kommissar", "Voices Carry," "I Ran" and "Under Pressure." I even recognized the song over the opening credits as "Putting Out the Fire with Gasoline" by David Bowie (from the 1982 film "Cat People").  There was an action scene interestingly set inside a a movie theater showing "Stalker" (Tarkovsky, 1979), but I am not sure why this film was chosen, 

Overall, I liked the actors, especially Charlize Theron in the lead role, and the blaring catchy 80s music soundtrack. Leitch could have been told the story (based on a 2012 graphic novel by Antony Johnston “The Coldest City,") in a little more streamlined way, but I also felt Theron's stylishly brutal fight scenes made up for the pacing issues. 7/10. 


10 comments:

  1. I adore charlize she is such a great actor and beautiful. I have to go see this one as soon as possible.

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  2. The concept reminds me of Miss Congeniality!!!
    I did like Charlize in The Huntsman. Good to see her in this new version.
    A movie set in 1989 Berlin? Now, that's very interesting. I'd like to watch it!

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  3. I am curious why Charlize Theron is seemed to be a perfect actress. I have not seen any of her movies that would convince me that she's good. I am always wishing that all those your movie reviews I would try my best to get a copy of them and watch them. But time is the issue. Anyway, I want again to watch this movie. I am craving for suspense, action-packed and thrilling movies.

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  4. Charlize is quite the actress and there's no movie that she's been in that I haven't loved! I definitely have to check this one out. Thank you!

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  5. I have heard so much of this movie. Many different reviews. I really like James McAvoy too. he was amazing in X-men! I can't wait to go see that movie

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  6. I'm a fun of Theron too. I saw the trailer, and I think it's exciting and heart-pumping from start to finish.

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  7. i saw the trailer for this and i liked it. i remember seeing how much training she has been through for this

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  8. I saw this movie and it was great! My rating is 8.5/10.

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  9. The action scenes looks really intense and something to look forward in the movie. I also adore Charlise and always love her portrayal in the movies.

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