Director: David Leitch
Quick Hit: An undercover MI6 agent is sent to Berlin during the Cold War to investigate the murder of a fellow agent and recover a missing list of double agents. – IMDB
Oh Atomic Blonde…
Okay… maybe its not THAT bad… but it’s definitely problematic… Welcome to The Breakdown! #NoSpoilers
THE GOOD: LEADS
Im going to call this type of film the “super assassin”. This… John Wick… American Assassin… they all need to have a believable lead. Charlize Theron is definitely that as Lorraine Broughton. Theron trained like a mad man for this role and it pays off. Her physicality in the action contrasts perfectly with her relaxed, near cold demeanor elsewhere. Meanwhile James McAvoy continues his campaign as the most electric man in Hollywood. Regardless the role, McAvoy slays and his portrayal of David Percival is no different. We also get some Sophia Boutella in this movie. She is STILL BASICALLY eye candy, but is given a bit more to do as far as character depth then in her previous big screen outings. Her performance is like those extra packets of sauce in the chic-fil-a bag. You didnt ask… but you aint mad whatsoever.
THE BAD: MARKETING/PACING
Off rip, I believe there was a shit ton of buzz about Atomic Blonde being “the female John Wick”. I “get” it, but it’s problematic AF. 1. It not allowing this new character to stand on her own being being chained to a man and therefore compared by those standards and 2… honestly… its NOT the female John Wick. Wick is more of a super assassin revenge story. Atomic Blonde is a super assassin spy thriller. With that, there is a bunch of secret conversations, and people meeting up in sketchy areas… meetings and debriefings and the like. It’s not the non stop action fest they portrayed it to be. Not having read the comic on which this is based (The Coldest City) I don’t know if the movie is being true to it’s source material or what, but it really switches gears a lot.
THE GOOD: FIGHT SCENE CHOREOGRAPHY/CINEMATOGRAPHY
GET READY FOR SOME NERD SHIT BABBLE! So a lot of action scene now days are edited to hell and back. Mostly because you cant have you 40 something action star take too many kicks to the ribs while paying them 20M. Stunt doubles an accepted way of life. Even THE ROCK has a stunt double. THIS movie, however (brought to us by a man that worked on John Wick and bringing us Deadpool 2 soon) gives us nice WIDE ANGLE, see all the action, shots and fight scene tracking shots. Tracking shots are when the camera literally follows the subject that it is shooting. Think something like the camera in your 3rd person action video games. The fight choreo and directing are in full effect in every fight scene. ESPECIALLY moving into the 3rd act, there is a 10min scene in a stairwell that spills into the street and turns into a car chase. No music, minimal dialogue, all shot to look like one seamless long take and it is OUT-STANDING!
THE BAD: THE TWIST INSIDE THE SURPRISE WRAPPED IN THE PUZZLE
So… spies… everyone is a sexy liar. You can’t trust anybody and there are sure to be double crosses… SPY MOVIES. Am I right? This film gives you a healthy dose of that… but perhaps to the detriment of the film. When everything wraps up, you get how everything played out, but not necessarily why. Once all the heels turn face, and the faces turn heel… you are sort of left asking why. Motivations are dumb foggy. Ultimately it feel like the film M Night’d itself trying to be more cleaver than need be.
Look… if you listen to The Screen Plug Podcast (new episodes every Monday, available everywhere you listen to podcasts! #ShamelessPlug) then you know I grade things recently as either a smash or trash. Right now, I still can’t really decide. There was so much that i flat out enjoyed, while equally as much that I really wished was better. The muted color palette corrected to that bluish-gray really worked. The acting was solid all around and the action was an easy A+. Oh, and not to be overlooked, there is definitely a Sophia Boutella/Charlize Theron sex scene… that probably works way better for certain populations more than others, but hey, I’m just reporting the facts here. On the other hand, it took so long to get to that action sometimes and in the end, I’m not sure why most of the characters did anything. And not to spoil anything, but the film is presented in an unnecessary narrative style that REALLY cuts some suspense…. and in a spy movie, I’m guessing thats not what you are going for. All and all… Atomic Blonde is worthy of your attention… but maybe not your $$$:
But that’s just me… have you seen Atomic Blonde? What do you think? Should people rush out and see it? Be careful for spoilers and comment below. Until next time Screen Fiends… TSP out!