‘Atomic Blonde’ Kicks Ass When the Plot Gets Out of the Way

GameStop, Inc.

Atomic Blonde

Veteran stuntman David Leitch started out behind the camera as a second unit director working with fellow stuntman-turned-director Chad Stahelski, the two eventually collaborating on the modern action classic John Wick. Now it’s time for Leitch to step out on his own with Atomic Blonde, an action thriller set in the late ‘80s as the Berlin Wall is almost ready to come down. While not having a clear, straightforward plot like John Wick, Atomic Blonde still delivers the goods in regards as action is concerned. This is an ass-kickin’ flick that sometimes gets hampered by some convoluted plotting, but when the action starts it’s a visceral thrill ride with few peers. Between Atomic Blonde and John Wick, David Leitch and Chad Stahelski are bringing action cinema back to its roots, turning their back on the shaky cam chaos that has dominated the genre for a decade.

Atomic Blonde is set in November of 1989. The film opens with Ronald Reagan proclaiming, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” This is followed by a man in a bathrobe running for his life on the streets of East Berlin. He’s an MI6 agent and is assassinated by KGB agent Yuri Bakhtin (Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson). The slain agent was carrying a watch that contained within a list of all the agents working on both sides of the wall, including a super-secret double agent known as Satchel. Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) is called in by her superiors at MI6 to accept her new mission – traveling to Berlin to meet David Percival (James McAvoy), an agent working to secure a Stassi officer willing to defect known as Spyglass (Eddie Marsan), and secure the list that could prolong the Cold War for another 40 years. Lorraine can trust no one on the streets of Berlin and there are kinds of crosses and double crosses along the way as the thawing of the Cold War looms right around the corner.

The story of Atomic Blonde is framed in flashbacks. Lorraine is being debriefed by her MI6 superior (Toby Jones) and a CIA liason (John Goodman), all of whom want answers to what happened in Berlin. It’s a case where the screenplay by Kurt Johnstad, adapting the graphic novel The Coldest City by Anthony Johnston and Sam Hart, tries to get a bit too clever. Sometimes Atomic Blonde is a bit hard to follow with all its duplicitous dealings and schemes that aren’t fully explained until well after they happen. In the final stretch of the film it just becomes a barrage of reveals that don’t necessarily work, especially as they continue to pile upon one another.

Let’s be fair, nobody is going to Atomic Blonde for its plot. The selling point for this movie is the action, which is some top-notch work from David Leitch. This isn’t a movie that’s non-stop action, but when the action hits it’s astounding. This all culminates in an amazing ten-minute fight that is shot and cut to look as if it’s a continuous take. It’s an all-timer of a sequence, one that just keeps bringing the brutality in a visually clear style. Car chases, gun fights, and hand-to-hand combat make up the varying forms of action that make Atomic Blonde work despite its muddled plotting.

Charlize Theron is fantastic as the deadly spy. She’s got an icy demeanor that makes her lethalness all the more chilling when she’s taking on a variety of counteragents. Theron has never been sexier. The costume design for her character is impeccable and you can’t take your eyes off her whether or not she’s kicking all sorts of ass. There’s also an intriguing subplot involving a French spy (Sofia Boutella) that takes some unexpected turns.

Atomic Blonde has style to spare with its ‘80s soundtrack and Leitch’s fascinating use of neon to color the characters and settings when not in the harsh, cold exteriors of Berlin. Sometimes, however, the ‘80s soundtrack is a bit on the nose or seems to be cribbing from better movies, such as opening with David Bowie’s “Cat People (Putting Out Fire),” which is from an indelible moment from Inglourious Basterds. When Atomic Blonde is concerning itself with its wobbly plot or trying to explain everything that just occurred, it’s a total blast of brutal action. Action cinema has been long overdue for an overhaul that once again places a priority on visual clarity over a chaotic style that prioritizes immersion. Atomic Blonde has its issues, but when it comes to ass-kicking, few can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Theron’s chilly assassin.

Atomic Blonde
  • Overall Score


When the plot doesn’t hamper the film, Atomic Blonde kicks all kinds of ass with a brutal performance by Charlize Theron and great action direction by David Leitch.

Anytime Costumes

No Responses

Leave a Reply

Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
Disney’s ‘Young Woman and the Sea’ is a Triumph of Will – Review

Disney’s ‘Young Woman and the Sea‘ is a Triumph of Will...

‘Skywalkers’ Takes Love to New Heights on Netflix – Spoiler Free Review

‘Skywalkers: A Love Story‘ Takes Love to New Heights while Scaling...

‘Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths – Part Three’ – Leaves us Wanting More! – Spoiler Free Review

‘Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths – Part Three‘ is a...

Event News Event Reviews
‘Sweat’ Heats Things Up at the Long Beach Playhouse – Review

‘Sweat‘ delivers a powerful theatrical experience that resonates long after the...

The ‘California Dreams’ Band Reunite on The Sunset Strip For a Night of 90s Nostalgia – Concert Review

Don’t Wake Me Up if I’m Dreaming, The ‘California Dreams‘ Band...

Jay Anthony Franke Talks California Dreams Reunion Concert in LA – Interview

Jay Anthony Franke Talks About The ‘California Dreams‘ Reunion Concert in...

Automotives Football MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
Derek Gumin Talks Planet 13 and UFC 303 Meet and Greets – Interview

Director of Wholesale Accounts at Planet 13, Derek Gumin spoke about...

Oscar De La Hoya Partners with El Rey for ‘Friday Night Fights’ – Interview

The Golden Boy himself chatted with us about Golden Boy Promotions...

Olympic Runner Colleen Quigley ‘On The Road to Paris’

Team USA Olympic Runner, Colleen Quigley is On The Road to...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
Fantoy Comics Presents: Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse – Blood on the Cactus, nearing the end of the 3rd act.

What IS that big dust cloud on the horizon?

Fantoy Comics Presents: Harry Potter and the Pahrump Apocalypse – Blood on the Cactus, Endgame


Fantoy Comics Presents: A 4th of July Message!

Seriously, America, THIS crap?!?!?

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Joe Kwaczala Talks About His new Comedy Album ‘Funny Songs & Sketches’ – Interview

Joe Kwaczala Talks About His new Comedy Album ‘Funny Songs &...

Songwriter and Poet, Tamara Mechael Talks About Her Career in the Arts

First Generation Assyrian-Chaldean, Songwriter and Poet, Tamara Mechael Talks About Her...

Louden Swain Headlining Los Angeles Show at The Echo

Press Release – Louden Swain are headlining Los Angeles show at...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League
Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League Gameplay Trailer

The first Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League gameplay trailer was revealed during...

Wonder Woman Game
Wonder Woman Game Announced By DC and WB Games

Wonder Woman game will feature the iconic hero in a 3rd...

MultiVersus brings Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny, and More

MultiVersus is bringing Shaggy, Harley Quinn, Jake, Batman, Arya Stark, Bugs Bunny,...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
Michael Hirsh Made Gen X Citizens Via his ‘Animation Nation’ – Interview

Legendary Animator, Michael Hirsh goes from Immigrant to Emperor in his...

Billy Eddy Talks His new Book ‘Our New World of Adult Bullies’ – Interview

Lawyer, Mediator and Personality Expert Bill Eddy Provides a Six-Step Strategy...

Gary Morgenstein Talks ‘A Dugout to Peace’ the Final Installment of his Trilogy

Gary Morgenstein Talks About ‘A Dugout to Peace‘ the final installment...

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
Harry Potter: Magic Caster Wand Demo

The new ‘Harry Potter: Magic Caster Wand‘ is ready to ship...

Chef Jen Peters and Matthew Clayton Bring us the ‘Good Flour’

Canadian Super Chef Jen Peters and Matthew Clayton Bring us the...

Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide
Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

The Pop Insider 2021 Holiday Gift Guide is now available to help...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Episode 38: Hamid Rahmanian

Join Whitney Grace as she speaks with artist Hamid Rahmanian, who...

No Preview
Toon-In Talk Episode 37: Niki Smith

Whitney Grace interviews graphic novel writer and artist Niki Smith about...

Toon-In Talk Episode 36: Rob Paulsen

Rob Paulsen takes some time from his busy voice acting schedule...