With so many superhero comic-books being turned into movies these days, you could be forgiven for feeling comic-book fatigue. Added to that are adaptations of graphic novels which are adult in tone. The latter are more interesting as they allow film-makers to further push the envelope in creativity and action. Based on the 2012 graphic novel The Coldest City, Atomic Blonde is certainly filled with violent spectacle little seen elsewhere. It’s also a solid thriller with all involved diving into the story’s frenetic energy with imaginative gusto.
Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) is a talented MI6 spy dispatched on a dangerous mission. It’s the eve of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and Lorraine is sent to investigate the mysterious killing of an undercover agent. Working with Berlin station Chief David Percival (James McAvoy), Lorraine uncovers a ruthless espionage ring. Determined to protect the West’s intelligence operation, the duo face their foes with lethal force.
Directed by David Leitch, Atomic Blonde is a very enjoyable ride. A full-throttle blast of pure action, it’s a great showcase for Theron who has always been a very versatile performer with remarkable range. Here she is in full action mode with her character kicking villainous behinds with the best of them. Theron throws herself into the role and portrays her character’s determined spy well. She is well assisted by McAvoy’s shady performance with their co-stars making their roles more than one-dimensional archetypes.
Whilst the action scenes are incredible, this piece mainly succeeds due to its successful evocation of the era. You truly feel you are in the late 80s and a part of an important moment in history. The real clips of the Berlin Wall’s demise interweave well into the reel narrative as the clock ticks towards getting the job done. The retro music soundtrack is pleasing to the ears and the film never lets up in providing a ton of dazzling stunts.
This is a lot of fun. Female heroes are important and Theron capably ensures her role is added to this pantheon. Although franchise fatigue can be wearying, one wouldn’t mind seeing another instalment featuring this feisty character who refuses to take no for an answer.
Rating out of 10: 8
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