Sunday, August 13, 2017

Review: Atomic Blonde

After avoiding a tonne of crap at the cinema this year like Life, The Great Wall, Ghost in the Shell, Transformers 5, whatever nonsense Pirates of the Caribbean movie came out and Valerian last week, I didn't want to break my bullet-dodging streak with Atomic Blonde, an action spy movie starring Charlize Theron and James McAvoy when I found out it had a less than stellar opening at the US box office. Despite reservations I said I would chance it as it was from one of the directors of the glorious John Wick, it's set in the closing years of what I like to call "The good ol' days" (The Cold War) and critics was praising the stylised violence despite the daft plot (or lack of it).

Boy was I glad I did! It has five major hooks:

1. Despite the general unrealistic nature of the fight scenes (possibly stemming from it's graphic novel origins) which often involved near-immortal enemies, the various characters use of benign objects like skateboards, garden hoses and shoes to harm foes with is inventive, especially Charlize Theron's use of a corkscrew.

2. Headshots! Painting a nearby surface with the crimson contents of an enemies head due to ballistic projectile forcefully introduced to (preferably) the face, is too often a misunderstood art-form. There's not a huge amount of it here, but adequate and when it happens it's gloriously perfect, truly sublime.

3. A too-short but hot girl-on-girl sex scene with "proper" nudity.

4. Classic 80's era hits on the soundtrack including Queen, Bowie, George Michael and The Clash (remember back when music was good).

5. While Stoli vodka is consumed like water from beginning to end, the winning goal here is that Atomic Blonde is the largest, borderline vulgar, on-screen product placement/advertisement for Jack Daniels I've ever seen on film. One character even referring to it as coming "straight from the Virgin Mary's tit," and let's be honest - he's not wrong.

So basically about as far removed from a John LeCarre novel as you can get while still being a Cold War spy movie. So if none of the above interest you, then avoid this - but if they do, off you go to the cinema.


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