tomic Blonde is an action spy thriller that leans more heavily into being a John Wick film than it does a John Laprairie adaptation, and the battle between them two tones can be distracting at times, but Atomic Blonde has attitude of plenty and its fluent execution is staggering and exciting to watch.
Charlize Theron plays an MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton who kicks more ass than any other character this year including even John Wick, that might be considered an over statement if Atomic Blonde wasn’t directed by the original Co-director David Leitch, who brings the same keen visual eye for stylish propulsive fight scenes and graphic novel like visuals as he did in that earlier film. Although Atomic Blonde is set in East Berlin in 1989 only days before the fall of the Berlin Wall it uses that as little more than window dressing, in any other film such a flippant disinterest in the historical backdrop might have been seriously damaging, but Atomic Blonde is less interested in the political subtidal turmoil of that time, and more in the muddled and convoluted spy games that may have taken place behind the scenes.
Based on the graphic novel The Coldest City the story follows Lorraine mission to recover a stolen list naming secret agents before the Russians can acquire it, Lorraine crosses paths with both James McAvoy a shady British agent and Sofia Boutella rookie French spy who she also sparks up a romantic relationship with, while the supporting players which include Toby Jones and John Goodman do a good enough job here there is never any question that the film stars are Theron and Leitch, Theron pulls of both dies of her character the slick and calculated MI6 agent who must keep a low profile and the savage ruthless killer with ease and throws herself into the action sequences with a tenacity and dedication that makes her one of the most believable action heroes in recent memory.
The films shining achievement is a 7-8 minutes long one take fight scene with Lorraine battling tooth and nail with hardening KGB agents which then continues into a car chase, it’s a stunning accomplishment, but it must also be said that Atomic Blonde has many pacing and writing issues, it could be seen by some as unsatisfying as a story level since the film never really reveals why some characters do the things that they do or who’s side they are on at certain points throughout. Atomic Blonde thinks it’s smarter than it is and it feels about 10 minutes too long by the time that it is over.
On a pure technical and visual level Atomic Blonde isn’t just an action film done right; it’s one of the best action films of the year and Charlize Theron to prove her to be one of the most talented action stars of her generation.