I was super excited for "Atomic Blonde" because it looked like a cross between "John Wick" and "The Man from UNCLE", both of which I loved. I had seen clips of action sequences, and they looked awesome. So I was pumped when I found an advance screening to see it three weeks before its general release.
The film definitely delivered what I wanted. The action really was great. The choreography is excellent, thought out to create the maximum impact in terms of suspense and excitement. However, unlike "John Wick", which was co-directed by the director of this film, the action of "Atomic Blonde" is much grittier and less dance-like. I think that really worked in this film because it gave it a heightened sense of realism. The storyline of the film was really good, too. I thought that the character development was solid, and they did a good job of developing the film within its historical context. The mystery element of the storyline also kept me guessing, because when I thought I had it figured out, there was another twist that threw me off. I had expected there to be more comedic elements in the film, and there are some that are pretty funny, but the film goes for more of a straight fun action movie vibe. The only real issue that I had with the film was that between the excellent action were a few somewhat long, talky scenes. They weren't boring, but when jumping from the high-adrenaline action to these dialogue-driven scenes, there is a noticeable change of pace. They were certainly necessary in order to provide context for the action scenes and develop the plot, I just think that the dialogue could have used a bit more spice.
I truly loved the visual style of this film. It frequently switches between bright and muted colors to set the tone of the scene, whether it is more emotionally-driven character development or more energy-fueled action. The costuming and set design do an awesome job of creating the feel of Cold War-era Berlin, and the choice of archival footage is great in creating immersion. From the opening credits, the film tries to get you into its context. The cinematography during the action scenes is great, and there is a lot of cool editing found throughout, especially during the (somewhat exploitative) romantic subplot. The soundtrack is also a great part of this film. Much like "Baby Driver", albeit to a lesser extent, the action is rooted in the music playing in the scene. The acting is spot-on, too. Charlize Theron truly is a kicka** heroine. She can deliver her lines, but she also performs the action scenes well. James McCoy is very good in his supporting role, appearing adequately mysterious while also playing the silly guy at times. Sofia Boutella seems like she would just be eye candy, but she really isn't. She had some important and impactful lines, and they were delivered well.
Overall, I thought that "Atomic Blonde" was a really good action film. It had some slow moments, but it was fun as a whole, and it had some excellently-shot fight scenes. I had thought it would be "John Wick" meets "The Man from UNCLE", but it's closer to "John Wick" meets early "James Bond".
Big Tuna's Rating: A-
How Did I Watch It?: In theaters at an advance screening.
Had I Seen It Before?: No.
Would I Watch It Again?: Yes.
I am a huge movie fan that wants to tell people about my very varying taste and opinion of film.