Maybe I was just out of the loop or fatigued after a long day of work, followed by a subsequent haircut then gym session then watching this movie. But I really don’t understand why Atomic Blonde has received the high praise it has. I mean it automatically earns entertainment value because it has Charlize Theron kicking ass. But the film is not nearly as clever, stylish or mesmerizing as it thinks itself out to be. Playing 99 Luftballoons in a movie set in 1989 Berlin doesn’t make your movie clever, it just shows how badly you want your movie to be seen as clever.
Theron plays Lorraine Broughton, Mi6 agent sent to Berlin after one of her fellow agents was murdered and a valuable list containing names of other agents has fallen into the wrong hands (isn’t that half the plot to the first Mission Impossible movie?) James McAvoy plays another Mi6 agent that has spent some time crawling up the leg of the Berlin cocktail dress landscape, whose tasked with helping Theron on her journey. Throw in some top 40s hits from the 80s and lots of neon lights and you’ve gotten to the core essence of Atomic Blonde.
The action is choreographed and executed in a way that doesn’t have a sense of urgency or umph, we neither feel compelled to keep watching or feel what should be a pulverizing blitzkreig of punches, kicks and shoe neckstabs from Theron. Perhaps that’s owed to the first time feature directorial effort from David Leitch, a veteran stuntman who will also be directing the second Deadpool movie. Hopefully, Leitch will learn to not worry too much about style and learn how to pace out his action in a way that commands our attention.