Review: “Atomic Blonde” by Brian Wallinger

Based on Anthony Johnston’s wildly popular graphic novel series, David Leitch’s Atomic Blonde is very much a typical espionage spy thriller you’d expect it to be.  It begins when Charlize Theron is being debriefed in an unknown location.

Taking place in the late 1980’s during the height of the ‘Cold War’ and before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Leitch’s direction feels bland at times, failing to maintain an upright progression.  The screenplay by Kurt Johnstad feels just as generic, though there are some fun and engaging scenes full of impressive action; yet they fail to energize the film.

Jonathan Sela’s cinematography is a highlight really capturing the tone and sprit of the environment through the use of neon lights, dark, cold exterior shots and his use of mid-level establishing angles.

The music score engineered by Tyler Bates felt average, but the pop tracks by the New Wave underground groups from the period really add another dimension to the style and flavor.

Theron plays tough as nails to the hilt, pulling down a solid character that even at the end doesn’t feel complete.  I felt John Goodman was misused while James McAvoy gives an average performance.  Sofia Boutela, who lit up the screen last summer with Star Trek Beyond gave a short lived, yet memorable performance.

The film felt incomplete despite the cast.  It also felt forced and at times, even predictable almost like a John Wick-lite without the emotional stigma or James Bond without the cleverness.  Its good intentions never really find a high note, but it is a fun and entertaining way to spend two hours.

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