Atomic Blonde15¦ Blu-ray, 4K, DVD
It was pretty good to be alive in 1989: the first episodes of The Simpsons aired; Back to the Future Part II, Batman and When Harry Met Sally were released at the cinema; Nintendo gave the world the Game Boy; and hits like the B52’s ‘Love Shack’, Milli Vanilli’s ‘Girl you Know it’s True’ and Madonna’s Like a Prayer’ were pumping out from our stereos. And, rather oddly, in 2015 Taylor Swift put an application in to trademark the year, which also happened to be the name of her album, and the year she was born.
Oh and other stuff happened in history and that, like the Berlin Wall coming down, which some say was actually a bigger deal than The Simpsons, but what the hell do they know?!
It just so happens though that this feature starring Charlize Theron, chooses the events in Berlin at the time to have as its backdrop.
When a MI6 agent is killed in Berlin, it’s fair to say British intelligence are a bit on the miffed side. He happened to have on his person a highly confidential list, containing the names of all active intelligent agents, on both sides, in the divided city. Needless to say, the list was taken.
In an attempt to get it back, they send out Lorraine Broughton (Theron), a savvy, sexy agent who knows how to look after herself.
With tensions high, it’s far from being an easy mission. She’s only in the country five minutes and already finds herself in trouble. Whoever does have the list, isn’t prepared to hand it over nicely.
What this film does well is evoke the period of the late eighties. Actually, it probably does it too well. Director David Leitch is keen to remind the audience at every turn just exactly when his film is set. So much so that the appropriate soundtrack, featuring acts of the time, is constantly forced down your ears, to the point you just want to shout “I get it, it’s 1989, enough already?!”.
What the film does less well is offer a script with any life or personality. Dialogue is dull, characters are not only two dimensional but struggle to interact well with one another. All in all, it takes itself far too seriously.
It’s no surprise to learn then that Leitch, technically making his solo debut with this film, was uncredited for co-directing the hyper monotone John Wick. Both suffer from style over content, so he obviously didn’t learn his lesson from that experience.
He probably fairs better from his experience as a stunt man though, as the set pieces, including one in particular that takes place in an apartment block, are breathtakingly spectacular. Theron, coming on strong like a mix between Bond and Bourne, is physically impressive on the combat front, proving she’s not one to be messed with. If only the script could have kicked the same amount of ass.
And although the film is based on a graphic novel, it’s difficult to understand why they decided that the protagonist be called Lorraine; they should have just gone the whole hog and called her Deidre and be done with it.
Although the film does well in recreating 1989, due to delivering more misses than hits, it has to go down as an average release for 2017.