Charlize Theron is once again all about action as Lorraine Broughton, a woman noticeably more deadly than Imperator Furiosa from Fury Road and much smarter than Cipher from Fate of the Furious. Broughton is an MI6 agent tasked to retrieve a stolen list of names. It's a spy game, so guile is needed just as much as brutality. From the moment she arrives in Berlin she is watching her back and punching dudes in the face.
James McAvoy plays David Percival, one of Broughton's allies. McAvoy is great in basically everything he does, and this is no different. His unconventional, sometimes desperate behavior played well against Theron's cool demeanor. I never thought of her as one of the strongest actresses, but the role is a good fit. Plus, even if you're not paying attention to what she's saying you generally don't mind watching her say it.
Sprinkled in, in supporting roles, we have John Goodman, Sofia Boutella, and Toby Jones. Boutella doesn't have many American movies on her resumé, but she's been building it up quickly in the past few years. She plays a French agent. Goodman and Jones play Broughton's superiors. They could have been played by anybody, really.
The espionage was not exactly convoluted, but more so uninteresting to the point I disengaged a bit from that part of the movie. The action was shot from impressive angles making Theron look beastly in fistfights with respectably-sized men. It differed from, let's say, Scarlett Johansson who showcases speedy takedowns as Black Widow. These guys hit her hard and she just plain hit them harder. She's pretty darn good with a gun, too. As I remember, every fight was set to an 80's song. Have you ever seen people bloodied to 99 Luftballons? It's something to experience.
Atomic Blonde is part The Boring Identity, part [insert Bond movie], and part John Wick. It feels a little like Salt but Theron's character is more in control and, frankly, more dangerous. It is just under two hours so it can feel a little long, especially when neither bullets nor fists are flying. At this point I'm still very unsure whether or not the Berlin Wall coming down has any real significance to the story. I don't think it does.
Everything considered, the film's only real flaw possibly stems from the story from which it was taken not being able to properly translate to the screen. It happens. Like, often. Atomic Blonde is not a bad movie, though. Charlize Theron takes another big step toward proving she can carry scenes. At the very least, you'll be entertained.
Rotten Tomatoes: 75%
Verdict: Maybe See That