If there is an argument to be made for a female Bond, then Atomic Blonde is a fairly strong case for Charlize Theron being the person to take on this role. Over the course of two hours she kicks and punches her way across
Atomic Blonde is equal parts a John Le Carre novel (smoke-filled interview room, pursuit for double agents), a Bond film (fellow agent in the role of Bond girl, a frantic car chase through
The plot is fairly straightforward, a tale of spies, betrayal and counter betrayal. British spy, Lorraine Broughton, is sent to
And the bruises she has are the audience's first indication of how violent Atomic Blonde will be. For when the action hits, the film sings. Each action scene is great and there is a sensational long take through the stairwell of a block of flats that is as good as anything seen in The Raid series (the high water mark for modern action films). The action is fast and brutal, complete with a kinetic energy and aided by the fabulous Theron who is almost as good here as in Mad Max: Fury Road (surely her defining cinematic turn). She plays a cold, hard-edged creation, one who dominates whichever room she is in, both verbally and physically. Given the credentials of her fellow cast members; the very talented James McAvoy, iconic John Goodman, and two of the finest actors of their generation, Toby Jones and Eddie Marsan, it makes her performance all the more impressive. The film commits a mini cinematic sin of wasting Jones and Marsan in one-note roles, but they play the parts well, whilst Goodman and McAvoy are clearly having fun. But this is all about Theron, no other actor gets a look in.
There is a lot to enjoy in Atomic Blonde. It has the kind of lead performance that recommends a film alone, has some truly fabulous action sequences and the kind of soundtrack you want to plug in on the walk home. But it wastes fantastic actors in minor roles and the sum of its parts struggle to make a satisfying whole. In the end one thing lingers and that is that