Charlize Theron is great, but 'Atomic Blonde' fizzles

Calvin Saunders
July 29, 2017

It's a lot of fun watching Theron moving from one action-packed scrape to the next, all while wearing fantastic costumes and oversized sunglasses. That sequence and other recall the best of Matt Damon's original BOURNE IDENTITY and put any James Bond to shame.

Part of what makes Atomic Blonde work so well is that we don't need to know much about her character to just accept who she is. But the South African actress took her badassery to whole new planes while getting her hand-to-hand combat on in the new action thriller Atomic Blonde.

Atomic Blonde debuted at the South By Southwest film festival in Austin earlier this year and has earned decent reviews.

"Atomic Blonde" is a live-action cartoon for grown-ups, yet it is far from a grown-up film.

Should this be a series, audiences can look back on Atomic Blonde as the erratic-but-on-to-something near miss that it is, in the way that 007 fans honour Dr. Our first view of Lorraine is of dipping her bruised body into an ice bath. Fights in the film are extreme, and incredibly personal, bringing to the violence to the foreground and leaving little to the viewer's imagination. Directed by former stunt man and "Wick" co-director David Leitch, "Atomic Blonde" is a cool bit of eye candy with incredible stunts and a killer soundtrack, even though it falters on the story itself.

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The plot is a paper-thin excuse on which to hang the action sequences, and sees her teaming with McAvoy's cagey David Percival to rescue an informant known as Spyglass (Eddie Marsan), who's in possession of a list of double agents, before Soviet baddies can get to him.

There are fleeting moments of personality shown, such as the under-her-breath invectives directed at her MI6 boss (Toby Jones) and an assisting Central Intelligence Agency chief (John Goodman) during a post-mission debriefing. This form of storytelling, of course, can result in some potentially unreliable narration. That Percival shoots Spyglass himself proves he never meant to let the list fall into British hands, because if he alone knows who all the spies are in Berlin, he can either sell the information for profit, keep it secret and leverage people to his advantage, or just pick off spies as it suits him to maintain the aforementioned balance.

Along the way, she encounters French operative Delphine (Sophia Boutella), who has her own motives for being in Berlin, as well as various KGB agents who are determined to cut her visit to Berlin short. Titillating, yes, but also a more sobering reminder of what is often required to get a movie like this made. And here is where the film truly shines. Although Theron has become quite the action attraction recently in such films as "Mad Max: Fury Road", "The Fate of the Furious" and "Prometheus", she had to undergo intensive training with the 87Eleven crew to come off as the smart female warrior - rapid elbow and palm strikes, never fist jabs - Broughton is. The 20-minute scene includes uninterrupted two-minute takes of Theron fighting off men from all angles. A list of names every spy agency on earth wants: the fuel for this non-stop, barn burning zip through the last days of the Berlin wall still in tact. He exudes an easy charm that belies his hidden agenda.

Alas, every time the pace slows, so too does the film's momentum.

Meanwhile, Goodman, a welcome addition to almost any film, steals the few scenes that he is in. He also has Theron use whatever is at her disposal be it vehicle keys, her stiletto heels, or some rubber tubing. There is an arc to both the plot, as well as the action. And that is a compliment in its own. For the spies of Atomic Blonde, the objective of chasing a MacGuffin called "The List" has been vastly diminished by world events, but they keep on fighting regardless.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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