Film Review: Atomic Blonde

Jordan Samuel Jordan Samuel
Expert Contributor
July 31st, 2017

Film Critic and Writer for ComiConverse.com, the Founder and co-host of the official Nerdcast Network Podcast

Review of: Atomic Blonde
Price:
Decent

Reviewed by:
Rating:
3
On July 31, 2017
Last modified:July 31, 2017

Summary:

Leitch brings together some brilliant action sequences and makes sure to fully utilize his two stars. What he forgets is to give us a solid story in the process.

Review of: Atomic Blonde
Price:
Decent

Reviewed by:
Rating:

3
On July 31, 2017
Last modified:July 31, 2017

Summary:

Leitch brings together some brilliant action sequences and makes sure to fully utilize his two stars. What he forgets is to give us a solid story in the process.

MORE NEWS FROM THE WEB

Atomic Blonde (2017) is the brain child of director David Leith (John Wick), who has brought 80s action film style back to modern Hollywood. This time he focuses on female assassin Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron), a woman with some similarities to James Bond. But does Leith's signature style work in the espionage format? Find out as ComiConverse contributor Jordan Samuel gives us the official review.

Film Review: Atomic Blonde

The crown jewel of Her Majesty's Secret Intelligence Service, Agent Lorraine Broughton (Theron) is equal parts spycraft, sensuality, and savagery, willing to deploy any of her skills to stay alive on her impossible mission. Sent alone to Berlin to deliver a priceless dossier out of the destabilized city, she partners with embedded station chief David Percival (James McAvoy) to navigate her way through the deadliest game of spies.

atomic blonde

Credit: Focus Features

John Wick (2014) flabbergasted audiences with innovative car chases, close quarter combat sequences, and inspired world building. It was a refreshing update to a calcifying genre returning inspired action to popular cinema, without being part of an established franchise.

Stuntmen Chad Stahelski and David Leitch (John Wick) delivered strong revenge film, that focused on the action instead of being bogged down in tensionless sequences. Eyes are on the pair to deliver adult oriented action-thrillers, straying away from the clean-cut Hollywood attempts.

David Leitch is now helming the anticipated sequel Deadpool 2 (2018), but before the release, he is making his espionage thriller debut with Atomic Blonde (2017).

Story continues below

Atomic Blonde

Credit: Focus Features

After directing some scenes in John Wick, Leith attempts to make his own action masterpiece with Atomic Blonde (2017), which brings a sassy British assassin to Berlin. But can David Leitch deliver an action classic?

Since the glowing success of both John Wick and John Wick Chapter 2 critics and audiences have been hungry for more innovative action movies of this type. With Hollywood’s transition to including more female-lead action movies, it was a no brainer to give us just that with Atomic Blonde.

Set in 1989 shortly before the fall of Berlin's Wall and follows Secret Service agent Lorraine Braughton, who is sent into investigate the death of a colleague and retrieve information from Soviet spies. Obviously, the plan doesn’t come together Braughton is left to wondering who she can trust before she is sold out by the KGB.

Atomic Blonde

Credit: Focus Features

Atomic Blonde uses flashbacks to tell the story, as Braughton is being interrogated by superior British officer Eric Grey (Toby Jones). This framing device disappointed me, as it spoiled the action, removing potential tension.

Cuts to the interrogation room conflict with the fun tone and 80s soundtrack. I would have preferred a more streamlined, linear story.

The story itself is simple and doesn’t do anything new, which might disappoint fans expecting something more complex. Comparable to John Wick Chapter 2 action is the key focus in Atomic Blonde and David Leitch doesn’t disappoint in that area.

Fans of the director know the effort he puts into action scenes. Atomic Blonde is based on the graphic novel The Coldest City by Antony Johnston but ditches the black and white espionage storytelling for more explosive action sequences.

Atomic Blonde

Credit: Focus Features

Braughton, the film's heroine, shares similarities with James Bond. She is confident, attractive, and lethal in a fight. Beyond these areas of connection, she also has her own wicked personality.

Charlize Theron’s role focuses on physical acting, which fits well with the serious work ethic of both actor and director. Writing is the biggest issue with the character as Leitch doesn’t give the audience enough reasons to care about her current story.

Her mysteriousness only goes so far in a film. There is no reveal at the end which feels like a complete 180 from the characters set up, and feels at odds with the film's brilliant opening. Character motivations are confusing throughout and never fully explained, making the whole adventure feel rather pointless at times.

Story continues below

Charlize Theron performs most of her own stunts, limiting the use of doubles, adding another layer of genuineness into the picture. The award-winning actress does not waste energy in the role, as she relentlessly takes out foes in violent and original battles that surpass any action seen so far in 2017.

atomic blonde

Credit: Focus Features

James McAvoy plays eccentric chief David Percival, who provides a solid performance as he bounces off Theron's Lorraine with exceptional comedic timing. I would have preferred a larger role for the actor, but he does enough to keep me engaged. I wouldn’t mind a future spin-off with David Percival as the focus. Don't expect a meaty role for McAvoy, but know that you will see the actor having fun as a crazy spy.

The same cannot be said for the upcoming superstar Sofia Boutella as undercover French agent Delphine Lasalle, who hardly gets a solid action sequence or any memorable dialogue. Without the elements that made her recent performances in Star Trek: Beyond and Kingsmen: The Secret Service so engaging, she ends up underutilized. Boutella is relegated to  playing bland and boring sexual chemistry scenes with Theron.

Atomic Blonde

Credit: Focus Features

Despite the obvious flaws and clichéd spy story plot beats, uninspired character development Atomic Blonde is a good enough action romp for the summer season.

Leitch brings together some brilliant action sequences and makes sure to fully utilize his two stars. What he forgets is to give us a solid story in the process. A tighter script would have made the film great. All it needed was a greater emphasis on the universe at large like the recent John Wick installments, and more streamlined storytelling.

There is a lot of fun to be had with Atomic Blonde, but don’t expect it to change espionage filmmaking.

Atomic Blonde

  • 3

Decent

Leitch brings together some brilliant action sequences and makes sure to fully utilize his two stars. What he forgets is to give us a solid story in the process.

(Visited 302 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Yes No