Blonde am­bi­tion

Atomic Blonde sets Char­l­ize Theron up as the next great fe­male ac­tion hero.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Movies - Re­view by MICHAEL CHEANG en­ter­tain­ment@thes­tar.com.my

Atomic Blonde Di­rec­tor: David Leitch Cast: Char­l­ize Theron, James McAvoy, John Good­man, Til Sch­weiger, Ed­die Marsan, Sofia Boutella and Toby Jones.

WHO doesn’t like a good old-fash­ioned, no-frills, spy-thriller that also dou­bles up as a no-holds-barred ac­tion movie? Throw in Char­l­ize Theron (who seems to be go­ing on an ac­tion movie spree of late) as the butt-kick­ing plat­inum blonde su­per­spy lead char­ac­ter, and you’ve got a movie that’s bound to go, well, atomic.

Based on Antony John­ston and Sam Hart’s 2012 graphic novel The Cold­est City, Atomic Blonde is set in 1989 on the eve of the col­lapse of the Ber­lin Wall.

Bri­tish MI6 spy Lor­raine Broughton (Theron) is sent to Ber­lin to re­trieve a list that could com­pro­mise and ex­pose se­cret agents from both sides of the Cold War con­flict.

Her con­tact is the reck­less and slightly un­hinged Ber­lin sta­tion chief David Per­ci­val (James McAvoy), who has spent so much time in the city that he has “gone na­tive”.

To­gether, they have to con­tend with Rus­sian agents, Ger­man mob­sters, an elu­sive and mys­te­ri­ous dou­ble agent named Satchel and a city that is a burn­ing pow­der keg about to ex­plode.

This is a movie where the ac­tion rules. When things quiet down, it starts to get a lit­tle awk­ward.

The re­lent­less ac­tion bears com­par­i­son with the John Wick films (Atomic Blonde di­rec­tor David Leitch had a hand in di­rect­ing the first one), but the story and script just aren’t strong (or self-aware) enough to sus­tain a pro­longed pe­riod of in­ac­tion the way that the Keanu Reeves fran­chise does.

De­spite the nu­mer­ous dou­ble- and triple-crosses, the cen­tral plot is a lit­tle too flimsy to sus­tain its al­most two-hour run­time.

Then again, you prob­a­bly won’t be watch­ing Atomic Blonde for its story, would you?

Theron is no stranger to ac­tion movies, of course, hav­ing played the tit­u­lar fe­male hero in sci-fi ac­tioner Aeon Flux in 2005, Fu­ri­ousa in Mad Max: Fury Road and the vil­lain in this year’s Fast And Fu­ri­ous 8.

Here, she ups the ac­tion ante, mix­ing three parts James Bond, six parts John Wick, one part Fu­ri­ousa, and shak­ing up one sexy, smooth and suit­ably deadly Lor­raine Molo­tov cock­tail.

From a slickly chore­ographed fight in which she uses a rope to get the up­per hand over her at­tack­ers and swing down to safety to a bloody, bru­tal, bruis­ing bat­tle near the end, the ac­tion se­quences seem to get pro­gres­sively more vi­o­lent and un­re­strained as the movie goes along, and Theron gamely plows through each and every one of them.

Theron aside, McAvoy man­ages to steal a lit­tle bit of the lime­light as the sleazy but cun­ning Per­ci­val. But other sup­port­ing char­ac­ters – Sofia Boutella’s Del­phine in­cluded – are less in­ter­est­ing.

You might even strug­gle to fig­ure out what the names of the vil­lains are, as ev­ery­thing just blurs into one long con­tin­u­ous fight scene.

Still, who cares, re­ally? The vil­lains are just fod­der for the Atomic Blonde can­non that is Lor­raine Broughton. And that’s all you should be ex­pect­ing from this movie any­way.

Cars again? Let’s just hope this ride doesn’t end up get­ting fast and fu­ri­ous on Fury Road, OK? — Hand­out

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