Denver and Delilah Productions
Starring: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, Sofia Boutella, John Goodman
Director: David Leitch
“Atomic Blonde,” starring Charlize Theron and James McAvoy, was a better movie than I had anticipated. A cloak-and-dagger, spy action/thriller set in the late 1980s, Theron plays Lorraine, a British intelligence agent with a thick deployment resume. She sits down in ye olde interrogation room amidst the CIA’s John Goodman and the guy who never left the set of “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” (Toby Jones) to unravel the gripping tale of her mission’s exploits.
Berlin, just before the wall comes down, is a hotbed for criminal activities. Our heroine is after a confidential list that identifies the names of all the allied agents and their whereabouts contained in the form of a wristwatch. We enter to see a former partner of Lorraine take a bullet to the brainpan whilst attempting to safeguard the list, which is subsequently commandeered by a rogue KGB pipe hitter.
Lorraine, a mysterious femme fatale, gives us little to go off of in the beginning as to her disposition and modus operandi. Throughout the movie, we are introduced to more of her personality and are allowed to see the slivers of humanity peaking through the hardened armor of a veteran operative.
David Percival (McAvoy) plays an anti-hero British agent who we’re not sure can be trusted, yet is allocated to the good guys. McAvoy bring his A game and delivers another great performance that makes for a compelling character as the lines of good and evil become murkier than the fog-machined German clubs. Is he a loose cannon or calculated professional? Stay tuned.
Sophie Boutella, from 2014’s “Kingsmen: The Secret Service” and the latest “The Mummy” redux, steps up in her skills as an actress playing Delphine, a rookie French intelligence agent with a flame for Lorraine. Her acting skills are put on display and well received as her character struggles with the reality that the cool-girl lifestyle she thought she was living comes with a perilous dark side. The trio compliment each other by competing for spy seniority and skill level, all while vying against the notorious Cold War Russian thug units we know and love from the 80s.
If you can wrap your mind around a 120lb Charlize Theron kicking the shit out of 200+lb grown men, then you won’t hate the action sequences here. Even the highly skilled women I know and train with watched this with raised brow. Mass and power at a certain point can be too much for superior skill. But for entertainment sake, she gets a pass. To this movie’s credit, it does slightly try to show this by having Lorraine utilize objects and weapons while she’s doling out hellacious beatings.
Overall, I must say I was pleasantly surprised at the level of entertainment provided by the film. It is a movie wrought with plot twists, a cast of accomplished actors, and coated in an 80s neon light that exudes a coolness worthy of the spyland action of “Atomic Blonde.” Jump on board with her alcoholism and grab yourself a stoli and ice for a nostalgic good time.
Affectionately called Guttas. Born and raised Boston, MA. Currently living in Albuquerque, NM. Two-time Golden Gloves boxing champion. New England Invitational boxing champion. Winner of the Discovery Channel’s boxing TV show ‘The Fighters’. Head coach to UFC top 10 middleweight fighter, Jorge Rivera. Instructor for RangerUp’s Train the Troops tour training US Marines at Pendleton, Miramar, and Yuma. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor. Mentored by George Hand in the art of operations against human trafficking. Movie buff. Wine Enthusiast.
Images courtesy of Universal Pictures.