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Wednesday, August 9

Haiku Revieu | Atomic Blonde

Wednesday, August 9
Atomic Blonde

Charlize is a BAMF
McAvoy's unexpected
Set in the 80s

An undercover MI6 agent is sent to Berlin during the Cold War to investigate the murder of a fellow agent and recover a missing list of double agents.

After her role as Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road, it's no surprise that Charlize Theron is an action star. And if you had any doubt, watching her fight scenes in Atomic Blonde will get rid of any doubts that might be lingering. She is impressive in the fight scenes, and knowing that she did a lot of her own stunt work in the film makes it even more so.

That said, her character (Lorraine) is not all that interesting. Which makes the movie suffer some, considering it revolves around her and her role as a badass spy. The movie tries to make her interesting by surrounding her with intriguing secondary characters, but it never quite gets there.

Speaking of secondary characters, James McAvoy is great in this film. No spoilers, but I like how his character (Percival) lives in a gray area and has, to use a somewhat problematic term, "gone native." He's fascinating, and I wish Percival and Lorraine had had more screen time together. I also enjoyed Sofia Boutella's Delphine and—surprisingly?—Bill Skarsgård's Merkel. I would enjoy seeing Atomic Blonde sequels with Merkel as Lorraine's Q.

The most surprising thing about Atomic Blonde was the time period—even after watching the trailer, I was surprised to discover it was set in the late 1980s, right before the fall of the Berlin wall. Because of this setting, the movie is very stylized and gorgeously retro, but it's funny how well it would have fit into the present, aside from the whole Cold War storyline, natch. (I want many of Lorraine's outfits.) The movie did a good job at keeping its secrets, too; most of the twists weren't super obvious or foreshadowed too clearly.

All in all, I liked Atomic Blonde, but I didn't love it. I think part of my problem is that I went into the movie wanting another John Wick, in which the main character kicks ass and doesn't bother to take names, while being intriguing and engaging regardless of a lack of dialogue. It tried to reach that level of entertainment, but just missed the mark.

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