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The Dose: “Atomic Blonde” is a fierce display of girl power and a love letter to the ’80s

The Dose: “Atomic Blonde” is a fierce display of girl power and a love letter to the ’80s

The Dose: “Atomic Blonde” is a fierce display of girl power and a love letter to the ’80s
August 07
20:51 2017

You can never go wrong with setting a movie during the 1980s. With the age of decadence while the threat of communist invasion is always looming, there’s no shortage of interesting stories to tell during this time. This adaptation of Antony Johnston’s “The Coldest City” is another thrilling spy drama with loads of action to boot.

From the co-director of the first “John Wick” film, David Leitch’s vision of 1989 Europe is a love letter to the ’80s. With blue and red neon is almost every location, a killer soundtrack of some of the biggest hits of that decade and the film showcasing various elements of the time period all around, the movie is reminiscent of the ’80s action movies we know and love. Even if you didn’t like the movie, you can at least say it was a gorgeous film to watch with not an ugly shot anywhere in the entire film. Props to cinematographer Jonathan Sela for his eye at style.

The basis of the story is that MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton, played by the fantastic Charlize Theron, is sent to communist occupied East Berlin just weeks before the Berlin Wall falls. Her goal is to retrieve a Swiss watch containing a list of all the undercover agents around the world (or at least the Soviet-occupied ones), including a double agent codenamed “Satchel.” The majority of the story is told in flashbacks as she is being debriefed by her MI6 director (Toby Jones) and a CIA director (John Goodman).

Throughout her journey around Europe, she encounters some very interesting characters along the way. These supporting characters include her contact at Berlin, played marvelously by James McAvoy. Besides Theron, he was definitely one of the standout performances in the film. Sofia Boutella from “Kingsman: The Secret Service” and this year’s “The Mummy” also appears, playing a French operative and a brief love interest for Broughton.

It should also be noted that this is a spy thriller first and an action movie second. Though there are plenty of action scenes throughout the film, the movie’s plot theme largely centers around politics but never gets boring. The first two acts of the film are very compelling, as you’re introduced to the dangerous world of Berlin while both sides are tracking down the list for themselves. Despite the third act getting slightly convoluted with twists and turns, as the usual spy film has, it didn’t deter my enjoyment of the movie one bit.

Since it’s directed by one of the directors of the first “John Wick” film, the fight scenes in this movie are stunning, brutal and stylish. Theron rocks the role as the ass-kicking spy operative taking down guys twice her size but not without getting some injuries herself. She gets beaten down pretty often, getting bruises and black eyes while winning fights through quick thinking and sheer motivation. The standout action scene is the phenomenally filmed “staircase” scene near the end of the film, where she fights her way out of a building all in one take. The amount of choreography and rehearsals that scene must have taken was worth seeing on the big screen.

It’s a movie not to be missed on the big screen, but it’d be a gorgeous watch if you were to pick it up on blu-ray. I highly recommend this movie for its style and action. If you’re a fan of Bourne, Bond or Wick, you won’t leave the theater disappointed. Definitely one of the top films of the year.

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Michael Vu

Michael Vu

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