I was lucky enough to view an advanced screening of this movie with my friend Mason from Reel Dude Reviews. So thanks to him for letting me see this mind boggling movie.
Set in Berlin before the fall of the Berlin Wall during the Cold War, Atomic Blonde is a movie about Charlize Theron kicking butt with anything and everything she can get her hands on. Also there’s spy stuff.
This movie is pretty much all action all the time, which is both a gift and a curse. It’s a good thing because the action is amazingly choreographed and sold by the actors very well. They don’t try to hide the action by shaking the camera all over the place in the name of “making it more intense” (we all know you’re doing it because the actors are very good at action scenes). The camera is steady at all times so you see every punch and feel every blow.
The bad part of it is that for the first half of the movie, Charlize Theron doesn’t really do much. It sounds weird but hear me out. An action film should have a plot that forces the character to always move the plot forward. Speed is a perfect example of this. There’s a bomb on a bus and if the bus slows down, it explodes. This forces Keanu Reeves to continually be on the move and to keep moving forward if he wants to save the people on the bus.
In Atomic Blonde, however, Charlize Theron just kind of meanders from set piece to set piece while trying to do her job. And sure, the plot is the kind which forces her to try and move the plot forward, but I never felt like she was. For the first half hour or so, she’s just going around the city and then people try and beat her up and then she beats them up in awesome ways.
I can’t fault the movie too harshly for this because I get the sense that I was missing key aspects of the film. It’s also a spy thriller and a good spy thriller leaves things hidden for the viewer in plain sight for you to catch in the next viewing. On the other hand, I feel like I shouldn’t worry to much about the intricacies of the plot because I found that the more I thought about what was going on, the more plot holes there were.
Atomic Blonde is an action film with style and its own identity. A mixture of hardcore action, spray paint and 80s pop music give it it’s own distinct flair that makes it stand out as one of the most unique action films of the year (though I am noticing that after Guardians of the Galaxy, people have started adding 80s music to action films to spice it up). So, it’s an enjoyable action movie acted wonderfully by Charlize Theron and James McAvoy with ridiculously delicious action scenes.