REVIEW: Atomic Blonde (2017)

Theatrical Release Poster – Focus Features

The following is a quick review of Atomic Blonde – Directed by David Leitch.

Atomic Blonde is an action spy film set in the lead-up to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. The film stars Charlize Theron as Lorraine Broughton, a top spy for the MI6, who has been sent to Berlin to investigate the murder of another agent (played by Sam Hargrave), as well as retrieve a list that contains information about a double agent known only as ‘Satchel.’ In Berlin, Broughton is backed up by David Percival (played by James McAvoy), in her search for the aforementioned list.

On the surface, there is a lot to like about Atomic Blonde. Charlize Theron is a bonafide action star, this much was evident from her satisfying appearance and performance in Mad Max: Fury Road. She is even paired up with James McAvoy, who is another actor that is always entertaining to watch.

The film has an impressive and lengthy action scene that takes place in a stairwell, and there is a clear visual style present in the film, which also contains a popular soundtrack of songs. In spite of all of these elements, Atomic Blonde is rather boring and not the action movie fans of John Wick may have expected. It is definitely more of a spy film than an action movie.

The film is really poorly paced, and whenever the film cuts back to a certain debriefing the film loses valuable energy. Atomic Blonde didn’t grab me at all, and I had a tough time getting invested in a story where the central character is nothing but cold. You don’t really learn much about Theron’s character, and that made me lose interest in the film.

I also thought that the soundtrack was a little bit jarring. It’s not that the songs aren’t good, but the way some of them are used reminded me very much of Suicide Squad, even though it’s not nearly as problematic.

An undeniably badass leading lady and a show-stopping action sequence can only take you so far. Because when your characters are cold, and when your film keeps returning to a scene that grinds the film to a halt, I end up finding the picture completely unengaging and the action almost completely joyless. Just like I find the plot itself rather convoluted and tough to follow.

Ultimately, Atomic Blonde is a great example of the action star Charlize Theron is, but it just isn’t a very good movie. It’s not a fun action movie, and it certainly isn’t very memorable.

5.5 out of 10

– Jeffrey Rex

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