Review of "Atomic Blonde", Not As Great As They Said

Atomic Blonde movie review

Atomic Blonde (2017) is a spy action movie starring Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman, Til Schweiger, Eddie Marsan, Sofia Boutella, and Toby Jones.

The film is directed by David Leitch in his first solo directorial credit. He has done uncredited work for his part on helping out on the first John Wick film as an assistant director, but that work didn't necessarily translate here.  The story is based on a 2012 graphic novel titled The Coldest City, which is about a spy in search of a list of double agents, all on the eve of the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989.


Up front, the film received a 6.7/10 on IMDb and got a decent nod from Rotten Tomatoes, receiving a 77% from the critics there. But I also suspect that the critics are kissing Theron's ass and the IMDb fans are just action junkies who loved 80s music and watching the hotness of Theron.

The story starts out fast and heavy, first watching a spy get shot down and then we switch to our MI-6 agent, Lorraine (Theron), getting debriefed after a series of events and the film is pretty much the narrative of the debriefing.

That narrative was a quick jaunt through a bunch of death-dealing action sequences with Lorraine dealing out death here and there, all while the viewer is continually pummeled with 80s music. Whether they're in a dance hall, an empty office, beating the hell out of the other spies, or what not, Leitch depended heavily on the 80s music making older movie-goers or classic rock fans that much happier watching the film.

I remember the first trailer I saw for this film, the action scenes were timed out with great classic rock, EXACTLY like Suicide Squad's trailers were, that fooled a lot of people into thinking that was a great film. I think Leitch might have been plagiarizing the technique.


The action of the film was nothing above and beyond the basic action sequences you might catch in most films. It was truly nothing fancy, despite what some pandering critics said about it. It's like John Wick meets Jason Bourne and becomes Lorraine, which isn't quite as good as either one. On top of that, every time Lorraine gets into it with someone, she always ended up taking quite the beating. It was as if, how the hell has she survived this long?

Though the film does prove yet again that no spy can trust any spy, no matter what they say or promise to help with.

Another issue I did have was that I was confused that no matter who was coming after her, she rarely changed her platinum blonde looks, so she was pretty easy to spot from a mile away when anyone came after her.

But if you're a McAvoy fan, I think the true standout role in the film was McAvoy, whose character was integral to both sides of the story.

But truly, while watching and trying to listen intently to Lorraine's wispy quiet voice throughout the film and not being quite too bored with the film, I was surprised by the ending with what I was hoping for, which was a twist of some kind, and I was not disappointed. But the twist was such that this film almost did not deserve it. If that makes sense.

Atomic Blonde is a film you have to watch closely to keep up with the nuances and details of the story, so you can get sucked in, but it didn't feel all the fulfilling of a movie experience for myself.

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