Atomic Blonde (2017)

Atomic Blonde (2017)

This film is incredibly stylish. A combination of neon graphics and retro pop music, adds a light and fun atmosphere to the film from the get go with an entertaining and brief chase scene. However the grit of the film is also present from the start. The chase ends with a brutal murder and then we get a shot of Charlize Theron in an ice bath, nude but it isn’t shot to sexualize her but to illustrate the violence of the film as it showcases her bruises and wounds from a yet undisclosed altercation. It proves to show her as a gritty and powerful character from the beginning.

The grey and gloomy London in the next shot enhance the vibrant colours of the fun neon, spray paint graphics. While these graphics remind you of Suicide Squad they fit the movie’s aesthetic better so you’re not that upset about it.

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The plot of Mission Impossible makes a return in this film as Charlize and James McAvoy are tasked with getting what is in essence the Nox List from the 1996 Tom Cruise action masterpiece, while it’s a copy-paste mcguffin this spy thriller keeps you on your toes waiting for the John Voight back stab. This movie even has the French agent wild card in Sofia Boutella. Her character is bizarre in that her and Charlize become involved but it doesn’t really have any emotional payoff other than she is used as stress relief and an exposition recipient. But she is not the star, Charlize is a badass start to finish and her fight scenes are inventive and brutal, as she shines as an action hero.

James McAvoy is having some much deserved fun as the crazy undercover agent. Even so his talent still shines through as you never really know who’s side he’s on.

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The two leads share a fun dynamic, Charlize is the straight man while James makes jokes but she has her own jests to make as she mocks his Sinead O’Connor haircut.

The is an interesting use of 99 Balloons to punctuate a brutal scene and adds somewhat of an irreverent tone to the  series scene. The following action scene is one punctuated by Father Figure by George Michael and it is edited weirdly as the action seems chaotic and has no real structure with the rope swing having no set-up just execution. Theron is truly intimidating throughout as she nails the stare and backs it up with visceral fists of fury.

There are a few subtle hints in the film, Charlize’s character’s alcoholism is shown with the vodka on ice in her hand as often as her weapons. As well as Machiavelli’s Prince in McAvoy’s lair in the film. A hint the movie then slaps us in the face with when Theron brings it up with McAvoy but I thought it was clever before it was hamfisted by dialogue.

The highlight of the movie is a scene which showcases, Theron’s action prowess and the true skill of the stuntman turned director, David Leitch. It is a sequence one would expect from the co-Director of John Wick. It is a single-shot scene where the actors fight up and down a staircase and then in and out of a room and beautifully showcases the style of the film with each brutal kill. The shot continues into a chase scene with “I Ran” playing on the radio. the in the car camera adds to the tension of the chase and this is the film at it’s best, no talking just action. This one scene brought the film up to 8/10 for me it was thrilling and entertaining, I didn’t really care for the plot but it served to get me to that scene so I can forgive it’s paint by numbers nature. This film is worth a watch if only for the action.

 

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