Agent Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) is equal parts spy craft, sensuality and savagery, willing to deploy any of her skills to stay alive on an impossible mission. Sent alone into Berlin to retrieve a priceless dossier from within the destabilized city, she partners with embedded station chief David Percival (James McAvoy) to navigate her way through a deadly game of spies.
REVIEW: In the first five minutes there are four things I really liked about “Atomic Blonde”. First was watching a character get crushed very stylistically by a car. Second seeing Charlie Theron naked as she comes out of a cold ice bath. Third, watching her again get cleaned and dressed to do her “run way model sexy walk” to a meeting with her British superiors all the while to the background musical tune of Davie Bowie’s “Putting Out Fire (Gasoline). And finally getting the chance to see someone as the lead character in a film named after me “Lorraine”. Oh, you didn’t know my legal first name is Lorraine Lester Jones, Jr? Well, it’s my father’s name, but only for professional reasons I went by my middle name Lester all these years to lessen some office confusion, but I digress.
Overall Theron’s work here is very impressive as she is in some ways breaking new action movie ground with her interpretation of her character in a hybrid Jason Bondish, James Bournish and or John Wickish prism kind of way. My understanding from my research she did about 95% of the stunts that seemed not only credible and full of real energy without all of the quick editing camera angles, but actually exhausting to watch in her hand to hand effort to fight to the death. Trust me when she dispatches her nemesis in the film she is not only a total bloody mess she is tired as hell which made her many sequences of brawls (mostly with men) pretty exciting and exhilarating to watch. Besides I am going to be a total male pig here. What’s not to like about a protagonist woman gorgeously hot (Theron aka “Lorraine”) throwing manly impactful punches and kicking full throttle male ass while in her designer skinny tight pants and pricey stiletto heels and or boots. I was pleased.
Now while the framework of the entire film itself had an interesting back drop plot of the spy craft that was probably going on during the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the screenplay was another matter altogether as it didn’t always seem to keep up with its very stylish look and combo kinetic - frenetic execution. In short, for all of the adrenaline rush of the many sequences action Director Leitch offers in its 1:55 minute running time, the action sequence and some of the ensuing conversations just didn’t always add up much to anything meaningful or as to any specific reasons why.
Now there will be a sequel and if Director David Leitch (who directed the first John Wick) is at the helm again for “Atomic Blonde Two”, then I hope he has the courage to not rely so much on his own previous line of work as a Hollywood stunt coordinator - stuntman and more on a really grounded smart screenplay. Both “Lorraine” and Charlize Theron who is and has always been an impressive committed actor needs a better more coherent story to work with next time that is not so erratic between the many punches she may have to throw to defend herself.
There are moments of some good cold war spy intrigue, a lot of brisk and effectively appropriate 80’s music and some good back and forth of deceivers deceiving other deceivers, who then deceived other deceivers to deceive the first deceivers, giving “Atomic Blonde” enough of a solid entertaining landing to insure at least two more sequels I would imagine.
Ultimately “Atomic Blonde is basic delirious entertainment full of some goodwill intentions of having a genuinely strong, intelligent and assertive female lead (named “Lorraine”…me, my name) kicking, punching and stabbing the bad guys to glorious death even if her actions sometimes can be an exercise in nonsense.