* * C
Atomic Blonde is a spy thriller set in the tail end of the cold war, just before the fall of the Berlin Wall. It is a fast paced film full of action. It is what I would imagine a James Bond film would be like if you recast Charlize “Furiosa” Theron as Bond. I don’t mean reimagining James Bond as a woman. I literally mean having Theron play Bond. Her character, Lorraine, is almost repulsively masculine.
I liked this film slightly better than John Wick 2. The plot is good, with a couple of twists, the last of which I didn’t see coming. The 80’s sound track is fun and fits the period. James “The Professor” McAvoy is fantastic as the Berlin chief of MI6, David Percival. John Goodman has a solid supporting role. Sofia Boutella (Gazelle in Kingsman) plays the uninteresting love interest.
So why isn’t this the next “Kingsman”, or “Skyfall”, or even “MI: Rogue Nation”? Partly, the story uses the old “tell the ending, then go back to the beginning” trope. Since you know how it will end, a lot of the tension is removed. Imagine if Game of Thrones told you in the first episode who would be around at the end of the series. The unlikability of Theron’s character (as opposed to the rakish heroes of Kingsman and the Bond films) didn’t help either.