Charlize Theron Once Again Proves She Can Stand Toe To Toe With Iconic Female Action Stars Like Sigourney Weaver & Linda Hamilton
If Furiosa wasn’t enough to cement Charlize Theron in the halls of great female action stars, the Atomic Blonde Lorraine should most definitely do the job. While the film struggles through spy mystery storyline that tries to be more clever than it is, Theron’s hardcore action sequences more than makeup for the lacking narrative. The middle third of the film may be a boring snoozefest. However, the climactic fight for survival makes the ticket worth the price of admission.
Theron plays the MI6 spy during the twilight of the Cold War. Sent to Berlin to retrieve a sensitive list of all the Allies undercover spies true identities, Lorraine must trust no one but herself to accomplish her mission. Fellow spy, David Percival (James McAvoy) is her primary contact in the split city. However, his drunken clumsiness and untrustworthiness prove to Lorraine she’s in this alone. With backstabbing contacts around every corner, she must complete her mission before this life threatening information falls into the wrong hands.
Atomic Blonde seems a fitting title for the film based on the comic book “The Coldest City”. Theron’s hair is so brightly blonde it looks radioactive. Her confident sexiness and intelligence make this film tik. Move over James Bond and Jason Bourne, there’s a new bad ass spy in town. Lorraine is one tough bitch who can stand toe to toe with anyone and this film leaves little doubt to that fact. The only unbelievable aspect of her character may be the fact that she sticks out like a sore thumb in this dark neon noir world.
Transforming between an inept ally and questionable thorn in her side McAvoy as Percival provides some comic relief in this otherwise over-serious game of spies. McAvoy plays the part well. You believe this man is just a blundering drunk of a spy that occasionally gets the job done to keep it. However, the thought still lingers in the back of your mind that he might betray our hero. That’s a credit to McAvoy’s skill as an actor and the personality he gives to the spy. We learn early to trust no one, McAvoy makes that task easy.
Where the film flounders is the monotonous mystery our Atomic Blonde is forced to solve. The audience really has no clue what our hero is really trying to accomplish. It’s not that the clues are too hidden to find. There aren’t really any clues. At the end of the film we are given your generic flashback of cookie crumbs to remind us how the mystery was solved. Only… we never saw any of this information until that moment.
The marketing of the film makes it seem like an action packed romp akin to the John Wick films. However, what we really get is a slow moving spy mystery with few riddles to solve. By the middle of the film, I found myself yawning wondering if we’d receive any hooks with bait to take a bite of. Yet, that moment never comes. Instead of finally solving the mystery, our climax unleashes the action the trailers exclusively highlight. Thankfully, this makes up for the lacking spy game plotline.
The centerpiece of action that is the real gem of the film takes your breath away and finally gives the audience a hero to rightfully cheer for. In what alludes to one continuous take of action (although, I think I spotted some sneaky edits), Theron takes on huge Russian and Eastern German thugs with brutal authentic action. You can tell she put a lot of work training for this film. The action works so well, not because she’s standing toe to toe, but because she takes the beating and keeps on ticking. Showing it’s not about fighting fire with fire but using everything in your skill set to win the fight. Heels, endurance, and wit are what make Lorraine the spy we want to see more adventures from. It’s too bad the Cold War ends.
With some amazing neon noir cinematography, well conceived choreographed fight sequences, and plenty of super sexy badass Charlize Theron, Atomic Blonde is definitely a film worth seeing. Sure it has its flaws. Mainly a storyline that might put you to sleep halfway through. The final third of the film will wake you up like a cold punch to the face. When you finally get the film you were expecting it satisfies and then some.
Supchucks’ Official Grade: B-
Atomic Blonde Official Synopsis:
Cast: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman, Sofia Boutella, Eddie Marsan, Toby Jones, and Bill Skarsgård.
Director(s): David Leitch
Writer(s): Kurt Johnstad
Rating: R (for sequences of strong violence, language throughout, and some sexuality/nudity)
Runtime: 115 minutes
Studio: Universal Pictures