There’s a lot that goes right in Atomic Blonde. Charlize Theron stars as an MI-6 agent that goes undercover in late 80s wall-coming-down Berlin in order to find who murdered another agent and recover a secret list he had. James McAvoy is one of her contacts, though has spent a little too much time in the city. Chaos follows Theron’s Lorraine as she weaves through the city, leaving bodies and other plot points in her wake. Conversely, there’s a lot that goes wrong in Atomic Blonde.
As a sucker for a decent action movie, I was mostly disappointed at the tired plot device of the list with agents on it. That’s a MacGuffin that has been used too many times. Even one of the Charlie’s Angels trotted it out. The performances, production design, and fight sequences were all great, and definitely in search of a better movie. The fight sequences were expertly choreographed, and had that bloody, visceral feel that the Bourne movies had (at least the expert first trilogy). Theron’s bruises and scars are as much a part of her character as her accent and wardrobe. She wears all of it confidently and is perfectly suited to carry a movie like this. The synthesized 80s soundtrack and the grimy, grey Berlin backdrop both give a unique identity to what could’ve been a basically forgettable flick.
Toby Jones, Sofia Boutella, Eddie Marsan and national treasure John Goodman all show up to varying degrees of support. McAvoy seems a bit out of his element, but he makes a decent loon and does an able job of keeping up Theron who is a commanding presence. Even if it doesn’t warrant one, I’d love a sequel with a better story to really see what these actors and characters can do. Also, more negative marks for having the final scene of the movie be a big part of the trailer robbing the climax of all momentum.
My Grade – B-