Atomic Blonde

Charlize Theron in 'Atomic Blonde'.
Charlize Theron in 'Atomic Blonde'.
Photo: AP


3/5 Stars


The crown jewel of Her Majesty's Secret Intelligence Service, Agent Lorraine Broughton is equal parts spycraft, sensuality, and savagery, willing to deploy any of her skills to stay alive on her mission. Sent alone into Berlin to deliver a priceless dossier out of the destabilised city, she partners with embedded station chief David Percival to navigate her way through the deadliest game of spies.


Five years ago Charlize Theron and her production company, Denver & Delilah Productions, started a search for a "strong, unapologetic female character".

That’s when they stumbled upon Antony Johnston and Sam Hart's 2012 graphic novel The Coldest City before it was even published by Oni Press.

The next big task was to find a director to steer the project and Charlize knew exactly who she wanted to work with – David Leitch and Chad Stahelski. Both agreed to sign up but were soon faced with a dilemma when filming conflicted with that of John Wick: Chapter 2

So Leitch and Stahelski decided to split their duties and each take on their own project with Leitch excitedly landing the Atomic Blonde gig. 

Both movies filmed at the same time and Charlize even joined Keanu Reeves in training as they prepped for their individual physically challenging roles. 

Now, years later, undercover MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton is finally introduced to movie audiences in this badass action flick that’s demolishing gender stereotypes. 

Atomic Blonde has been hailed as a female version of James Bond, and yes it has some Bond-like elements to it. But it’s actually way better than Bond. In fact it steers more towards the Bourne side of the scale with a more real and authentic feel to it. 

Charlize in the role of Lorraine is undoubtedly the axis around which the rest of the film is created. Both her physical and emotional performances make for gripping viewing. 

Leitch himself in a recent interview admitted that he was blown away by Charlize’s skills and dedication to creating an iconic female action movie hero. After seeing her in action during training Leitch decided to incorporate a one-take fight scene that he’d waited years to shoot whilst looking for an actor capable of pulling it off. This eight-minute scene, which takes place in the stairwell of an old apartment building, is one of the highlights of the film. 

In fact avoiding CGI and opting for actor driven stunt sequences is the core of what makes Atomic Blonde so damn great to watch. Add to that the epic 80s soundtrack and you’ve got a winning recipe. 

Yes, Atomic Blonde has its issues. The storyline is thin and wonky with its plot twists coming far too late. Set in Berlin during the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall the film also has a grey and very gloomy feel to it. But luckily just as the iciness becomes too cold and miserable it gets recharged with an electric jolt of neon.

One thing is for sure you won’t be bored. There’s way too much terrific butt kicking action unfolding on the big screen for that. With a few tweaks and adjustments Lorraine Broughton can easily be the next big action movie star whilst putting Daniel Craig’s limp Bond to bed. 


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