REVIEW: Atomic Blonde

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Review by Dustin Heller

Atomic Blonde is the new action spy thriller starring Charlize Theron from first time solo director David Leitch.  Leitch is a stuntman turned director who shared a directing credit on 2014’s John Wick.  The similarities between John Wick and Atomic Blonde are quite obvious.  The movie is based on the graphic novel, The Coldest City, written by Antony Johnston and Sam Hart.  Along with Theron, the film stars James McAvoy, John Goodman, Til Schweiger, Eddie Marsan, Sofia Boutella and Toby Jones.  Atomic Blonde is rated R for sequences of strong violence, language throughout, and some sexuality/nudity.

The movie tells a fictional tale centered around the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989.  British MI6 agent, Lorraine Broughton (Theron), is sent to Berlin in search of an electronic list containing the names of Russian spies that was stolen from one of their agents.  Upon arrival, Broughton knows something is up and is constantly running for her life.  She eventually meets up with David Percival (McAvoy), the Berlin station chief, with whom she must cooperate in order to complete her mission and return home safely.  The fate of their entire intelligence operation hinges on the two of them finding common ground and figuring out who has the list.  As the clock ticks away, the lines get blurred as to who is an ally and who is the enemy.

Yuck!  Atomic Blonde is the epitome of everything that is wrong with the movies today.  It is all style and no substance, which, by the way, has been done to death at this point.  It tries so hard be cool and edgy, but it ends up only being annoying.  The word “annoying” was a constant theme in my head throughout the entire movie.  Each and every character was terribly annoying, especially Charlize Theron’s lead character.  It was the most vanilla performance of her career to this point.  Yes, she gets a to play the tough girl, but she brought absolutely no emotion to the part.  Even the guerilla-style fight scenes were overdone and annoying and so outlandishly unbelievable.  I was constantly checking my watch because I just wanted it all to end.  Not only does Atomic Blonde want to be an action flick, it tries to be a clever spy thriller as well.  The script was not nearly strong enough to pull this off and the entire thing was utterly confusing.  I feel like what I’m about to write is becoming a theme with the movies of late, but the only positive take-away was the great 80’s soundtrack.  I grew up in the 80’s and am a huge music fan, so that played right into my wheelhouse, but it wasn’t nearly enough to salvage the movie in the least bit.  Please save your time and money and not waste it on a bomb like Atomic Blonde.  Let’s just let it ride off into the sunset and pretend it never happened.

Grade:  D-

Atomic Blonde opens in theaters on Friday, July 28.

You can follow Dustin Heller on Instagram @eatindywatchindie.