Not that there was any doubt, but Charlize Theron is a bad ass. She’s never been afraid to mix it up, but 2015’s classic Mad Max: Fury Road only solidified things. The Oscar-winning actress takes things to another level with Atomic Blonde, beating the ever-loving snot out of everything that comes her way, and looking good while doing it.
Atomic Blonde is 100 percent style over substance. It looks gorgeous, has a great soundtrack, and the action sequences are amazing, though the film could’ve used one more to keep things from dragging a bit in the middle. But the plot?
Maybe it’s best not to worry so much about that. All that’s necessary to know is near the end of the Cold War in 1989 Berlin, British spy Lorraine Broughton (Theron) has been assigned to find out who killed a fellow agent and stole a list containing the names of spies hidden in a watch. Lorraine is partnered with a shady agent played by James McAvoy, whose intentions are very easy to figure out. The cast also includes John Goodman, Toby Jones, and Sofia Boutella.
Again, when watching Atomic Blonde, don’t worry about the plot. It borrows the list-of-spies idea from the first Mission: Impossible and surpasses that film’s topsy-turvy, hard-to-follow plot by throwing so many unnecessary twists into the mix near the film’s ending. It’s enough to make one throw up their hands and give up trying to make sense of life in general. It’s a true mess. Thankfully, the plot isn’t the main attraction. That’s the action, and it delivers in spades.
Directed by David Leitch, one half of the duo behind the first John Wick, the action in Blonde is fierce. Wick was a ballet of bullets, but Blonde trades bullets for fists, culminating in a stunning fist fight that lasts a good five minutes. The best part? The characters actually get tired from the fighting, stumbling around as they struggle to get breaths in between punches. It’s fantastic.
The bonkers plot really hurts Atomic Blonde and justifies the film’s style-over-substance feel, but the action—and Charlize Theron—deserve better than a plot with a zillion holes in it. There’s been talk of a sequel, and if so, hopefully Atomic Blonde 2 will have a plot that makes sense. Or at least partial sense.