Director: David Leitch
Set in 1989, around the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) is sent to Berlin to investigate the murder of a fellow MI6 operative and to recover a list of double agents that has fallen into the wrong hands. Given the contact name of David Percival (James McAvoy), Broughton is warned to trust nobody as she sets about her mission. Thrown into the mix is “Spyglass” (Eddie Marsan), who brought the list to MI6 in return for a safe defection and titular blonde has her work cut out to complete her mission and stay alive.
One of the few things that can be described as good in this movie is Charlize Theron she does her very best to hold the movie together but even that can’t save this movie from the disappointment that it is. James McAvoy is just plain irritating throughout; he seems to consistently offer the same performance he does in a movie of this kind. It’s a far cry from his excellent performance in last year’s Split. It’s almost like Ewan McGregor turned the role down and he seems to be the go to guy in that event. Toby Jones and John Goodman lend some assured supervisory performances and there is a nice appearance from Sofia Boutella as a French agent and love interest for Theron.
I really don’t know what this movie was trying to do. Was it a nostalgia trip? Perhaps; the soundtrack would certainly suggest so and it is an excellent set of tracks to make up the movie’s theme but if you have to talk about the soundtrack more than the film itself then there’s a problem with the film. I wouldn’t even say that it was a pleasant hark back to the cold war movies of the era when this movie is set despite it even lifting the plot directly from the first Mission Impossible film, there’s always a list isn’t there? I noted in the opening credits that this was based on a graphic novel. It was not something I had heard of but my blanket reasoning of not being able to compare movie to comic book that stands for Marvel movies for example applies here too. The main problem is that Atomic Blonde was built up to be a big action hit for Charlize Theron and it just failed to raise its game. It was tedious for long periods and the action sequences were really stretched apart. They were violent when they did happen but by then I’d kind of lost interest. As for the way the story unfolds it becomes a very contrived and frustrating tale that you just want to switch off. The film also carries an underlying feeling that it was much cleverer than it was when it really was not even achieving a bog standard level within this genre.
The verdict: 2/5 Stars – Promised a lot. Delivered little. Very contrived.