Sonntag, 3. September 2017

ATOMIC BLONDE - Movie Review

Title: Atomic Blonde
Running Time: 115 min
Director: David Leitch
Writers: Kurt Johnstad
Starring: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman, Toby Jones, Sofia Boutella

In the last couple of years, Hollywood has taken a few large steps towards gender equality when it comes to prominent blockbuster roles. After "The Hunger Games", we got two female-led Star Wars movies, Scarlett Johansson as an ass-kicking cyborg and "Wonder Women" topped the box office. Now, Charlize Theron, who has proven her affinity for action (and cars?) with "Mad Max: Fury Road" and  "Fate of the Furious", gets her shot at a bad-ass leading lady. She's paired with stuntman-turned-director David Leitch, who is heavily involved in the "John Wick" franchise.
Surprisingly so, "Atomic Blonde" is not as action focused as the ad campaigns might have made you believe. Instead, it really goes into spy film territory, with shady characters, different agencies interfering with each other and multiple double crosses. Unfortunately, this part of the story isn't the movie's strong suit. Although the premise seems simple (once more the plot revolves around a list containing agents' identities - as previously seen in "Skyfall", "Mission Impossible" and many others), Kurt Johnstad's script sometimes gets convoluted. There is a lot happening between the different parties involved. And while it is not that hard to follow their actions, their motivations stay unclear. Thus, the conversations between the different players don't hold as much weight as they need to keep you fully engaged. To me, it was hard to put a finger on the screenplay's exact problem. Maybe it just tried to be too clever for its own good. But too often I found myself hoping for the conversations to wrap up, so that another action set-piece could kick off. Because when the action hits, it is absolutely fantastic.
David Leitch sure knows how to stage, choreograph and shoot fight scenes. Every time our main character goes into combat mode, it is a complete blast. Especially during the finale of the film, the film makers present you a fight sequence that puts you in awe. In an incredible long-take, Charlize Theron takes on group of hitmen that she beats, kicks and shoots through an entire building. Not only is most of the action in frame, but it is rough, blunt and realistic. No punches are pulled, and there were audible gasps in the audience during the scene. It might be one of my favorite fist fights in American cinema.
Additionally, the film has a great visual style. With its bright green, pink and blue lighting, it often has a very cool neon look. Also, it uses rousing tunes of the German new wave and other music of the time, to really give you that late 80's Berlin vibe. The editing is on point as well. This film simply looks damn awesome.
However, all this makes it just all the more upsetting, that the story itself can't completely grab you. The movie could have easily been 20 minutes shorter. I really hope the film makers get to make a sequel, where they can shift the focus to the action. Because this movie actually had the potential to be absolutely dope. It's still worth watching on a movie night with your friends though, be it just for the fight scenes.

For Fans Of:
Spectre (2015)
Skyfall (2012)
TRON: Legacy (2010)
The Bourne Legacy (2012)
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)
Stereo (2014)
Unknown (2011)

Click Here To Watch Trailer!

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