In the wake of Dunkirk, a very serious film about the courage of the common man in the face of a national crisis, it is time to lighten the mood a little with a film that is much more approachable and that is just trying to have fun.
And no, I am not talking about the Emoji Movie, or its shocking 1.4 rating on IMDB and a 6% on Rotten Tomatoes. Rather than sitting through that cinematic bowel movement, why not watch something that is far more satisfying, Atomic Blonde.
The hyper-stylized spy thriller set in late 80’s Cold War Berlin is pretty much exactly what its trailers and advertising implies. It is a fun action film that features complex fight choreography done by a killer lead in Charlize Theron, with just enough plot and character development to get by.
Atomic Blonde is a very typical summer action flick. It is very heavy on the action and fairly light on the plot and characters. Theron plays a kick-ass British super spy in the mold of James Bond with just a touch of Jason Bourne sprinkled in for flavor. Her character is fairly one dimensional, but fortunately, that dimension is pretty radical. She oozes cool in every scene which leads to her having some terrific fight scenes and amusing character moments. Sure she may not show as much vulnerability as the characters that inspired her or as other characters that we have gotten to know during this summer season, but in a film that doesn’t take itself too seriously, it is able to get away with it for the most part.
Along those same lines, the plot is fairly standard with twists and turns that don’t quite pack the kind of wow factor that would leave people with their mouths open trying to figure out what the heck just happened. It is an action spy film that focuses more on the former than the latter. Part of the reason for that can be attributed to the director. David Leitch makes his feature directorial debut with this film, and though many out there likely have not heard of him, they are surely familiar with his previous work. Leitch is a stunt man and coordinator who has been in the business since the mid 90’s. It further fits that there are some obvious Bourn-inspired fight sequences in the film, as he worked on The Bourn Ultimatum and The Bourne Legacy.
Overall, Atomic Blonde is a fine summer action film that accomplishes what it sets out to do well enough to be an entertaining experience. What it lacks in plot and character depth, it makes up for with an abundance of sick 80’s music and style, and enough gnarly action to provide a very fun and entertaining experience for its entire run time.