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.
At the time of the second of the English crusades, Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) is mummified alive as punishment for murdering her Father when she sees what is rightfully hers transfer to his new-born son whom she also murders. What she saw as a betrayal by her Father led her to tap into dark and demonic powers. Once mummified she is taken thousands of miles from her Egyptian home and buried well below the surface in what is known in current times as Iraq. Back in the modern-day and army officers Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) and Chris Vail (Jake Johnson) are seeking out hidden treasures to make their tours all that little bit more profitable. When an airstrike unearths the ancient ruins of where Ahmanet was laid to rest Morton and Vail see dollar signs but they are soon hampered by the arrival of Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis) who wants the find to be safely shipped back to London where Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe) is waiting to investigate the find. The trip back does not go well and soon Ahmanet is unleashed on the British public in search of her “chosen one” and will stop at nothing to reclaim what she believes is hers.
I like Tom Cruise, let’s get that out of the way. He does make well above average movies for the most part. Unfortunately this is a very low point for Tom. I was worried before I saw the film that this really didn’t strike me as a genre he had any history with and that it wasn’t a good fit for him. He’s not the Indiana Jones type and he does not sit right in a Tomb Raider style movie. If the rumours are to be believed that he had a lot of control over the movie then there’s only one place the finger can be pointed for any short comings the film suffers from. To be fair, blame does not lay just at Tom Cruise’s door. Russell Crowe, a great actor by any standards, really doesn’t do himself any favours here either. There’s a part where he becomes manically possessed and starts hurling Tom Cruise around whilst giving his best impression on Ray Winstone on speed. It’s just cringeworthy. I’d hoped Annabelle Wallis might bring some respectability to the film, she’s obviously not incapable of playing a strong female role given her time on Peaky Blinders but here she is given the usual female supporting role you would expect and there’s not much she can do with it. In contrast Sofia Boutella does make the film come alive at times but that isn’t really down to her acting but more the CGI effects the film offers up. She really isn’t given the time and space she was offered in her very enjoyable role as Jaylah in Star Trek Beyond.
Put simply; this film is a disaster from start to finish. It was dull and boring for large periods of time. It was painfully unfunny when it tried to be. Performances were well below par and as for the script and screenplay I’d have to ask if there was any script or screenplay written. The story has plot holes galore and lots of key elements are left totally unexplained. It’s just messy, lacks structure and it’s conclusion just leaves a heavy confirmation that you’ve just wasted two hours of your life.
1/5 Stars – If this were a mission impossible movie I would have chosen not to accept it, Mr Phelps.