Charlize Theron in “Atomic Blonde.”

“Atomic Blonde” Makes Up For Thin Plot With Sleek Action

After seeing Atomic Blonde, one thing I can say is that we don’t need a female James Bond. She is right here. Charlize Theron’s Lorraine Broughton is sly, sexy, magnetic and ready to kick some serious ass. Bring on the sequel if it ever comes to fruition.

Atomic Blonde follows MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) who is dispatched to Berlin during to retrieve a list of double agents on both sides of the Cold War created by a German man named Spyglass (Eddie Marsan) and stolen by her deceased lover James Gasciogne (Sam Hargrove). Accompanying her on her mission is wild card agent David Percival (James McAvoy). As they search for the list, they embark on a high octane game of cat and mouse.

Admittedly, as excited as I would be if we ever got a sequel, the plot is rather nonsensical and most of the characters are quite thinly written. But it’s Charlize Theron that ultimately holds this movie together. She always manages to hold your attention whether she shows off extreme physical prowess in the film’s few fight scenes or shows off charisma as cool as the Stoli on ice she loves to drink. Although James McAvoy is equally as impressive as David Percival, a loose cannon agent who is mischievous and will do or say anything to save his own skin. But thanks to McAvoy’s sly portrayal, he is still fascinating to watch.

Other than those two, the only other performer who is given any slight characterization is Sofia Boutella who plays Delphine, a French operative caught up in the main mission with free-spirited naivete and ends up falling for Lorraine. Her and Theron have very intoxicating chemistry and even though Boutella may be playing a girlfriend role, it is relieving that she is given a character with an agency. Plus, it’s very progressive to see a female spy movie not only depict a heroine that is bisexual but never make her sexuality into a plot point.

As for other high points, Atomic Blonde has a killer soundtrack. Similarly to Baby Driver, the soundtrack allows the film to maintain its momentum even when the high octane action scenes, which are interestingly few and far in between, don’t take place. Its soundtrack is quite a blast from the past as it includes songs ranging from “Blue Monday” by New Order to “I Ran” by A Flock Of Seagulls to “99 Luftballons” by Nena.

But in spite of there not being much action, there is one action scene that has staked its claim as one of the best film sequences of the year and it might end up being one of the best action scenes I have ever witnessed. It involves Lorraine fighting off a bunch of henchman on a staircase and it appears as if it is one long take which, along with Charlize Theron’s physical acting, creates an intense effect when watching it.

From that point on is where the film starts to pick up steam because, even though the soundtrack used throughout is very engaging, the first half takes a while for things to really kick into high gear. But I still had my eyes glued to the screen thanks to the cinematography by Jonathan Sela which carries many shades of blue, and I was amazed by the acting from the two leads.

All in all, Atomic Blonde rises above its simple plot thanks to an electrifying lead performance by Charlize Theron, a killer soundtrack, and some adrenaline-fueled action. Even if we never get a sequel, I just want to see more of Charlize Theron as an action star because she has become one that will make Sigourney Weaver and Linda Hamilton super proud.

Grade: B+

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