Simply put, I love women who kick ass and look good while doing it. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about an angsty teen who slays vampires and monsters (Buffy), wet work-specializing femmes fatales who kill with their looks as much as their “very particular set of skills” (Sydney Bristow and Nikita), or comic book superheroines like the recent Wonder Woman played by Gal Gadot. It should come as no surprise, then, that Charlize Theron’s noirish Cold War spy actioner, ‘Atomic Blonde,’ is a “can’t miss” in my book.
Based on the obscure 2012 graphic novel ‘The Coldest City,’ ‘Atomic Blonde’ (the name itself sounds badass, doesn’t it?) is set in 1989 Berlin during the last days of the Cold War. Even though the Berlin Wall is about to come down and a sense of chaotic euphoria is sweeping across the land, the spy game between the East and West still rages on. After a British intelligence agent was killed and a list of names of every western spy (the Holy Grail in spy movies) falls into the hands of the KGB, veteran MI6 trouble-shooter Lorraine Broughton (the Atomic Blonde) is sent to Berlin to recover it and uncover a suspected double agent in MI6. Yeah, the powers-that-be pretty much dropped her into a Hornets' Nest with no safety net.
If ‘Atomic Blonde’ reminds you a bit of John Wick, it’s probably because they’re both directed by David Leitch, whose camerawork and continuous-shot action sequences virtually set a new standard in action movies with his brutal and hyper-kinetic style. Like JW, AB is an unstoppable maelstrom of poetic violence when unleashed, bloody and utterly uncompromising in a world of “kill or be killed.” Punch-stab-kick and repeat. It’s gritty yet also a thing of sheer beauty. While there is a semblance of a plot filled with double-crosses and belief-defying twists, it merely provides a vehicle for Theron to wield her deadly arts and to satiate our thirst for visceral violence (and a good dose of gratuitous girl-on-girl action too). Move over, Evelyn Salt.