Note: This is a spoiler-free Atomic Blonde review
If you’ve seen the trailer for Atomic Blonde you may have certain expectations for the movie. Charlize Theron whooping some ass. The female James Bond. Action. A little dry comedy. Unique musical accompaniment.
If you see Atomic Blonde the movie, you’ll get exactly what you may have expected from the trailer plus an excellent fight scene and some twists at the end.
In case you haven’t seen the trailer, here’s some plot. Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) is an undercover MI6 agent sent to Berlin during the Cold War to investigate the murder of a fellow agent and recover a missing list of double agents. That’s where she runs into David Percival (James McAvoy), a fellow MI6-er, and they work together (sometimes) to complete the mission.
Honestly, no one really sticks out in Atomic Blonde other than Theron. McAvoy is clearly integral in the movie, but he’s seen better roles in Split and X-Men. Sofia Boutella plays an important role as Delphine Lasalle, but Theron pretty much dominates every scene Boutella is in as well. Same goes for Eddie Marsan, who is part of the amazing fight scene discussed in a bit, but not an important part of it. John Goodman and Toby Jones aren’t in the movie long enough to make an impact, though Goodman has his moments.
Long story short Theron is really the only one worth talking about. She dominates almost every scene she’s part of. Her immersion into the character Lorraine Broughton is convincing.
Coming off Mad Max, Theron is really supplanting herself as one of the more badass women in Hollywood.
Unfortunately leading with a kick-ass woman who occupies a traditionally “male” role can still be a burden in 2017. A review telling you Atomic Blonde is “finally the first female 007”, for example. Lorraine Broughton beats up all kinds of foreign henchmen. Lorraine Broughton has a superior she refers to with a 1-letter name. Lorraine Broughton has a signature drink. Lorraine Broughton finds a love interest who is, of course, part of the bigger mission.
Gender aside, if you enjoy the James Bond franchise there will be moments you enjoy Atomic Blonde. Not because she’s a woman, but because the film falls in the same genre and does an admirable job recreating the formula.
That Fight Scene Though
Now let’s talk about that fight scene I keep mentioning. Just so we’re on the same page, it occurs a little more than halfway through the movie while Broughton and Percival are attempting to move an asset across the Berlin Wall. The scene itself lasts 5-10 minutes, gives the appearance of being done in one shot, and it is GLORIOUS.
The entire scene is peak agent Broughton. She’s taking on 6 agents at once, using every resource available to her in taking down the threat. We’ve got guns, knives, cars, bottles, corkscrews, and more. Simply put if you go see Atomic Blonde this is the scene you’ll be talking about after.
Honestly, I think the scene flipped the entire movie. There is plenty of action and story to follow before the scene, but it’s a little slow before this point. The film really picks up starting at this point. The fight scene gets the viewer back, engaged, and ready for the end of the movie.
A word about the music in Atomic Blonde. It’s wonderfully 80’s, and it accompanies the movie very well. The songs are noticeable, but that’s intentional and it keeps the energy high throughout the film.
Also 99 Red Balloons features more than once and I like that.
Should I Go See It?
All in all, there’s nothing overly groundbreaking about Atomic Blonde. I wouldn’t exactly call it a “must-see.” However, knowing exactly what you’ll get from the film isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you’re looking for an action-packed, kick-ass spy movie this will do the job.