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Review: Atomic Blonde

Charlize Theron and James McAvoy star in the spy thriller “Atomic Blonde.” Our JP reviews the film that’s directed by David Leitch (“John Wick”).

Atomic Blond

Oscar® winner CHARLIZE THERON explodes into summer in “Atomic Blonde,” a breakneck action-thriller that follows MI6’s most lethal assassin through a ticking time bomb of a city simmering with revolution and double-crossing hives of traitors. Photo: Jonathan Prime. (Focus Features)

Atomic Blonde
Focus Features

RATED: R (RESTRICTED – under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian) for sequences of strong violence, language throughout, and some sexuality/nudity.

Directed by: David Leitch
Executive Producers: Nick Meyer, Marc Schaberg, Joe Nozemack, Steven V. Scavelli, Ethan Smith, David Guillod, Kurt Johnstad
Produced by Charlize Theron, Beth Kono, A. J. Dix, Kelly McCormick, Eric Gitter, Peter Schwerin
Screenplay by Kurt Johnstad
Cast: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman, Til Schweiger, Eddie Marsan, Sofia Boutella and Toby Jones

Studio Synopsis:
Oscar® winner Charlize Theron explodes into summer in Atomic Blonde, a breakneck action-thriller that follows MI6’s most lethal assassin through a ticking time bomb of a city simmering with revolution and double-crossing hives of traitors.
The crown jewel of Her Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service, Agent Lorraine Broughton (Theron) is equal parts spycraft, sensuality and savagery, willing to deploy any of her skills to stay alive on her impossible mission. Sent alone into Berlin to deliver a priceless dossier out of the destabilized city, she partners with embedded station chief David Percival (James McAvoy) to navigate her way through the deadliest game of spies. A blistering blend of sleek action, gritty sexuality and dazzling style, Atomic Blonde is directed by David Leitch (John Wick, upcoming Deadpool 2). Also starring John Goodman, Til Schweiger, Eddie Marsan, Sofia Boutella and Toby Jones, the film is based on the Oni Press graphic novel series “The Coldest City,” by Antony Johnston & illustrator Sam Hart. Kurt Johnstad (300) wrote the screenplay.

J.P.’s Take:

Atomic Blond

CHARLIZE THERON in action. Photo: Jonathan Prime (Focus Features)

To say Charlize Theron as the “Atomic Blonde” is the equivalent of a female James Bond is a bit of an understatement. Bond never had it so bloody or viscerally violent like this. Instead, it would be fair to view her as a Bond type — infused with Wolverine’s DNA.

Like a “James Bond” film, however, there are underlined shady characters that become the usual suspects. You’ll find a plot that could have been placed in that realm. The story is nothing special or super original, yet it’s presented with such style and mystery.

The story unfolds like a novel – which in fact it does come from (based on Antony Johnston and Sam Hart’s 2012 graphic novel The Coldest City) – unwinding slowly sometimes numbly. It holds back on giving you the goods before it’s time, while filling that space with plenty of grueling fight sequences. And believe me they can get quite graphic at times. The flashing back and forth of the briefing between MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton (Theron) and her handlers CIA agent Emmett Kuzfeld (John Goodman) and MI6 superior Eric Gray (Toby Jones) only serve as breaking points between the immersive cat and mouse play between Broughton and those she’s pursuing.

Atomic Blond

CHARLIZE THERON as Lorraine Broughton and director DAVID LEITCH on the set of “Atomic Blonde.” Photo: Jonathan Prime (Focus Features)

Director David Leitch, in his first solo directorial credit, doesn’t shy away from the steamy sexuality of Theron’s character either. The scenes between Broughton and French secret agent Delphine Lasalle (Sofia Boutella) prove titillating. Those of you familiar with Leitch’s style of filmmaking will come to latch onto to his style quite quickly. The highly regarded action juggernaut “John Wick,” along with its equally praised sequel, will find the aesthetics of “Atomic Blonde” match that of Wick. It’s filmed in such striking 80’s fashion, complete with classic synth-pop which accent key moments in the film, neon lights, and era appropriate costumes. All set in the cold bleak backdrop of Cold War Berlin.

Charlize Theron is only upping her game as an action maven, since she garnered kudos from critics and fans for the portrayal of heroine Furiosa in the box office smash, “Mad Max: Fury Road.” Theron puts on a spectacular show, displaying a range of attributes from courage under fire to steamy sensuality as well as sorrow and remorse. She’s certainly earned her place in the ranks of heroines, such as the likes of “The Terminator’s” Sarah Connor, “Alien’s” Ellen Ripley, and even Wonder Woman. Did I also mention Charlize Theron serves as one of the producers of the film as well? That’s right; her name is added to the credits.

If the powers-to-be decide to create a sequel, I would be front and center to view it. This one was nicely presented as it was efficient and provided a couple good twists in the end.

About J.P. Langston

J.P. Langston is a member of "Sidewalks Entertainment" team primarily as a videographer. He loves movies, especially sci-fi horror and action comedies. Some of his favorite films include "Blade Runner" "The Matrix Trilogy," The (original) "Star Wars," "Equilibrium," "Serenity," "Kill Bill Vols 1 and 2," "Appleseed," "Unbreakable" and "Sin City." He has a large DVD collection, which is still growing. Since reviewing films for "Sidewalks," he has been expanding his palette for all types of films.