Review! Atomic Blonde (2016) Directed by David Leitch. Starring: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman. IMDB says “An undercover MI6 agent is sent to Berlin during the Cold War to investigate the murder of a fellow agent and recover a missing list of double agents.”
The latest sleek, action packed film to hit theaters this weekend stars a badass Charlize Theron and was directed by David Leitch aka one of the creative forces behind the fantastic John Wick film. It’s also set in the 1980s, features a slew of double agent plot twists and co stars James McAvoy & John Goodman. Do I really need to write a review for this thing or are you convinced?
If you want to know a little more, let’s proceed. Atomic Blonde centers on MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton as she travels to Berlin during the Cold War with orders to investigate another agent’s murder and find a list of double agents that went missing after his death. She teams up with the deeply embedded agent David Percival (James McAvoy) and together they navigate the turbulent landscape of Berlin. A few other sketchy characters show up to interfere with the agents’ task at hand and that’s of course when things get hairy.
If you aren’t familiar with David Leitch, it might be time to get acquainted. The former prolific stunt man teamed up with another prolific stunt man Chad Stahelski to co direct John Wick . The film quickly turned heads thanks to its stylish direction, fantastic soundtrack and seriously impressive stunt work. It’s one of my favorite films in recent years and a new classic for the action genre. Atomic Blonde is the director’s first follow up and it’s not far off from the previous effort. Stylistically similar but saddled with a slightly meatier plot which, for better or worse, it might make you more invested depending on what type of action flick you’re into.
Much like the director’s first film, Atomic Blonde also thrives thanks to a well-cast and alluring lead. This is Charlize’s show – Full stop. And she owns it. It’s pretty damn hard to take your eyes off her and that’s a good thing considering she’s in just about every single scene of the movie. She’s got the looks, the moves and like any good action lead, I want to rock every single piece of clothing she wears (and if that’s not a thing then it is now.) The rest of the supporting case gets the job done but they certainly can’t make an impression quite like her (nor should they.)
Like I said above, there is a bit of twisting and turning with the classic double agent – double cross type storyline which I enjoyed but it’s not exactly anything groundbreaking. The action scenes more than make up for it though. Not only is the fighting visceral and full on squirm-inducing, but it resonates as authentic on screen. The characters feel every hit and only take on what they can so we don’t dive into superhero territory. There is more hand to hand combat than gun play which is another element I really enjoy. Then you have the sound mixing and intense choreography weaving seamlessly with the camera movements that create a wonderfully unique action atmosphere. The result leaves some type of dreamy adrenaline pumping through your veins.
I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying some of the new trends coming out of small action films like this one. In a genre that seems like it has seen and done it all, it feels especially impressive to both surprise and satiate viewers and fans. Keep ’em coming.
OVERALL SCORE: 84%