Review – Atomic Blonde

Atomic Blonde Poster

Atomic Blonde Poster

Charlize Theron is Lorraine Broughton – if John Wick and James Bond had a daughter together (just go with it), she would be Lorraine Broughton. Sent on an undercover mission to the heart of Berlin during the Cold War, she’s got to decide who to trust and who might be out to kill her as she races against the clock to recover a ticking time bomb of information that could be a death sentence to hundreds.

Adapted from the graphic novel The Coldest City, and co-starring James McAvoyAtomic Blonde also features John GoodmanToby Jones, Sofia Boutella, and a rocking euro techno pop soundtrack.

There is no doubt that this film solidifies Theron as an ass kicking action mega star – that is not in question. She’s sexy, she’s brutal, she’s brutally sexy. And sexily brutal. The action sequences are intensely visceral, realistic, impressive, and exhausting. There are a number of scenes that could be compared to The Raid, just with less stylistic choreography and less blood. Fans of real honest to goodness hand to fist combat are going to have a field day with this one.

When we’re not watching Theron lay down the iron fist, though, we’re subject to either a complex tale of espionage with a few too many characters to always keep straight, or stylized semi-self aware storytelling. By themselves, all the elements are entertaining, intriguing, and impressive.  Together, though, they end up as less than the sum of their parts.

Seemingly deliberately complicated, the plot is a bit too full of itself and I spent too much time wondering if I was supposed to know who certain characters were or not. The flashes of stylized storytelling with colorful graphics and techno rock are great, but clash with the hardcore action scenes sandwiched between.

The ending aims to be a satisfying blown mind sort of deal, but I found myself more second guessing whether I understood it or not instead of cheering like I was supposed to.

I love the character, and hope to see more of her stories. This movie, however, couldn’t settle on whether it is fun and sexy shootemup romp with titillating skin moments,  or a head scratching thriller, or a realistically painful action film. It has great moments of all three, but never enough of one to become a great whole.

If you think you’re going to like this one from the trailers, you probably will. I did. But is it going to be one of the best you’ve seen? Probably not

Mrs. Hamster did not screen this film

Brother Hamster says:

“I’ll be honest, it was kinda boring.”

My rating: Three out of five hats

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Trailer (Red band):

Atomic Blonde explodes into 3,304 theaters, July 28