Call it Atomic Bond.
Charlize Theron stars as MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton in director David Leitch’s high-velocity spy thriller, which is ready in 1989 Berlin throughout the waning days of the Cold War. When we first meet Broughton, she’s badly bruised from head to toe and on her solution to be debriefed by her humorless boss (Toby Jones) and a stuffy CIA chief (John Goodman). They wish to understand how her most up-to-date mission, the tried retrieval of a lacking, ultra-top-secret record containing the names of each Western agent engaged on each side of the Berlin Wall, went horribly awry. As she makes her solution to the assembly—stylishly wearing a smooth white coat, black sun shades, and a killer blonde wig—David Bowie’s “Cat People (Putting Out Fire)” blares on the ’80s-dominated soundtrack. It’s an excellent track, however savvy filmgoers will immediately recall that it was put to superior use by Quentin Tarantino in Inglourious Basterds; it’s the primary inkling that all the things we’re about to see is a subpar retread of higher films. That mentioned, these higher films didn’t have Theron, and her steely, attractive flip as a badass spy who kicks severe butt makes Atomic Blonde a cool solution to kill a sweltering summer season afternoon.
Based on the graphic novel The Coldest City, a pulpy espionage thriller by Antony Johnston and Sam Hart, Atomic Blonde is an element Bond, half Jason Bourne, and an entire lot of John Wick. That final half isn’t stunning since Leitch, a veteran stuntman-turned-filmmaker, co-directed that brutal Keanu Reeves actioner. The physique rely isn’t as excessive as Wick’s, however there’s sufficient bloody mayhem occurring each jiffy to make viewers forgive the muddled, generic plot, bland supporting characters, and scant suspense. The motion centerpiece is an almost ten-minute combat sequence filmed in what seems to be one take: It begins with Broughton battling two thugs on an house stairwell, and the vicious melee then continues down the steps, into a few rooms, and finally out into the streets the place she and a severely wounded ally steal a automotive and attempt to maintain off extra baddies who’re blasting away at them from one other car. It’s a tremendous piece of filmmaking that packs the visceral, gut-punch feeling of one of the best Bourne brawls.
James McAvoy co-stars as David Percival, an embedded Berlin station chief who aids Broughton. She was instructed by her superior to not belief anybody throughout this mission, and that mistrust extends to Percival, who could or might not be a treacherous double agent often known as Satchel. Percival is a little bit of a sleaze, and McAvoy embraces the position with giddy relish, offering what little humor the film presents. Sadly, Sofia Boutella, enjoying a rookie French agent, is underused and pointless. Her character seems like she was shoehorned into the plot to offer the movie with a gratuitous lesbian intercourse scene with Theron—she deserves higher.
Atomic Blonde doesn’t possess the sophistication of one of the best Bond films or the depth and suspense of the Bourne movies, though it shamelessly pilfers from each. It’s strictly a low-rent affair dressed up in neon-bright excessive fashion. But it does have Charlize Theron, whose high-level spy is even more durable than the truck-driving Furiosa she performed in Mad Max: Fury Road. Rarely has a film featured as many excessive close-ups of a star because the Oscar winner will get right here, and Theron makes essentially the most of each one in all them, to the purpose that she renders all the things else onscreen irrelevant. To say you’ll be able to’t take your eyes off her is an understatement.