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Review: Atomic Blonde

Charlize Theron stars in Universal Pictures' ATOMIC BLONDE

Seeing as how it’s directed by one of the directors of John Wick, it’s easy to understand why some people would be excited for Atomic Blonde. With that being the case, those who are hoping for something similar may be satisfied with what they get. On the other hand, they may actually be a little stunned by what the movie actually is. Depending on how you receive it, these unanticipated additions could help or hurt how you view the movie.

Sent alone into Berlin before the fall of its infamous wall,  Agent Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) must navigate her way through a world of murder, lies and spies. Her goal is to recover an important list and get it out of the city and into the hands of her superiors. With station chief David Percival (James McAvoy) and others also being involved, the veteran agent knows that the double-crossing nature of the this business would never allow an assignment this big to run smoothly and blood free.

What makes this different from John Wick in a way is that it’s closer to being a spy movie than an action movie about an elite assassin. Some to some extent, you can say that it has more Jason Bourne in it than you may have thought it would. When I say “Jason Bourne,” I’m talking about some of the action we’ve seen from that franchise while also speaking specifically of the 2016 movie that disappointed fans like me.

From turning everyday objects into improvised weapons to some of the things that we see during a car chase, a good deal of what is seen here is clearly based on Bourne. There’s also a large amount of style plastered throughout this thing as well that may distract from some of the things that are wrong with this movie. That’s okay, but if you’re like me, you may see through that and notice many of the problems that are seen throughout Atomic Blonde.

Although the action is adequate and the style is a constant presence, the pacing of this movie really throws things off way more than it should. What you’ll notice if you pay attention is that outside of the action, almost all of the other scenes lack energy and contain nothing to keep you busy in between the fights and shootouts. These fruitless periods of Atomic Blonde disturb any flow that it could have and may leave you just hoping that things will come to an end sooner rather than later.

That’s one of the things that the movies in the Bourne series (except for Bourne Legacy) did well. They managed to keep things moving by creating some kind of tension with brief pauses in between the action that usually meant something. Here, even the scenes when we find Lorraine being questioned by an MI-6 agent (Toby Jones) and a CIA agent (John Goodman) manage to upset the pace of the movie. In reality, a part of me believes these scenes should have been eliminated all together. The problem with doing that would be that there would be no way to set up one of the unnecessary and nonsensical twists that the movie has.

I’m not going to get into those, but just using even the slightest of logic, these twists could not possibly happen. I know that this is completely unrealistic, but some of what we see wouldn’t make sense in any world whether it’s real or fake. This is where you can’t afford to think too hard when it comes to Atomic Blonde. The more you reflect on it, the less sense it all makes. In fact, you may have a difficult time figuring out the plot or remembering what the whole thing was about.

If you’re only in it for the action, Atomic Blonde could be something that you could find entertaining. While that’s understandable, you’re also certain to find action movies that are better than this one in all aspects. Here, the shallow characters, the incoherent plot and the complete lack of depth doesn’t help out the few positives standout much. Although I can’t give this a high grade, I also know that’s some others can find more joy in it than I did. For that group of people, this could be okay if you’re simply looking for a good time with some competent action.

Rating: R

Director: David Leitch

Charlize Theron
James McAvoy
John Goodman
Til Schweiger
Eddie Marsan
Sofia Boutella
Toby Jones

Film Length: 115 minutes

Release Date: July 28, 2017

Distributor: Universal Pictures

  • Score - 4/10
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