Atomic Blonde

Starring: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman, Toby Jones, Bill Skarsgard, Sofia Boutella, Til Schweiger
Directed By: David Leitch

Plot: This film had trailers that gave away very little of the actual plot of the film, so it’s hard to really talk about it without giving away plot points. Lorraine (Theron) is a spy tasked with recovering a lost piece of intel after a fellow agent was gunned down. She’s told “trust no one”, and only one point of contact (McAvoy). The whole film is told basically through flashback as she is telling this story to her supervisor (Jones) and a CIA representative (Goodman).

What Works: I didn’t want to spoil anything because one of the only good things about this film are the twists and turns, and how the trailer hid a lot of that from you. It’s a very twisty movie. Also, the action sequences here are superb. That should be a no brainer, as it is directed by someone whose entire career up to this point has been in stunt work. So, naturally, the stunt sequences here are immaculate. They’re the best reason to watch this film. Theron clearly did like Keanu Reeves did for John Wick, and actually trained to be able to perform this hand-to-hand fight choreography.

What Doesn’t Work: The basic structure of this film, telling it in flashback via interview, slows the movie down. It’s like hitting a pause button every 10-15 minutes. It makes things worse when we’re coming off an already slow expository sequence, which this film has more than it needs. This film is considerably longer than it needs to be, leaving the audience wanting more and more action sequences to keep the movie flowing better. There’s a lot of downtime that just bored me to death. This film gives no real character structure to Lorraine, and we know very little about her even by the end of the film. Hopes, dreams, wants, wishes… none of that. No character motivations, really, until maybe the final frame? It makes it so hard to latch on to her character, and because she’s given nothing to work with, Theron gives nothing in return. She’s the acting equivalent of a blank piece of paper. It’s like she’s waiting for something to be added to her character, so she stays as neutral as possible at all times. It left me not liking our protagonist. At least with the Jason Bourne movies, we knew something about Jason Bourne even if he knew nothing about himself.

Final Word: It definitely disappointed me. I had been really looking forward to this, but it let me down. I can’t recommend that you see this in theatres, because I don’t think it’s worth a 10-15 dollar movie ticket. Wait for Redbox/Home Video if you’re really curious. The fight scenes really are incredible, and should be watched, but basically everything around it is a bit of a mess and could have been edited a more successful way.

Final Grade: C

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