McCann At The Movies: Blonde Ambition Falls Short

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Our movie guy, John McCann, says Atomic Blonde is a disappointing action thriller that favours style over substance…

Teased by hints via social media on the days leading up to Tralee Omniplex’s first Secret Screening, the pieces had begun to fit together and I had a sneaky feeling that the feature on show may be David Leitch-directed Atomic Blonde.

As the curtain rose to a stomping 80’s soundtrack and a world of cold war espionage, I was proved right as the 115 min action thrill ride got under way to its eager audience.

This action-thriller takes place in Berlin, on the eve of the Wall’s collapse. Lorraine Broughton (played by Charlize Theron), a top spy for MI6, is sent to Berlin to take down a ruthless intelligence ring that has just killed an undercover agent.

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Charlize Theron is ‘Atomic Blonde’.

She is ordered to cooperate with Berlin station chief David Percival (played by James McAvoy), and the two form an complicated alliance, unleashing their full set of skills in pursuing a threat that jeopardises the West’s entire intelligence operation.

Action and special effects are very much at the forefront of this cold war thriller in this feature based on the 2012 graphic novel The Coldest City by Antony Johnston and Sam Hart.

With the director of John Wick behind the camera, it is of little surprise that action and thrills take precedence over plot and narrative.

The action and fight sequences in this film are of a high level and those expecting explosive and high energy set pieces will not be disappointed.

There is also a superb 80’s soundtrack and eighties Berlin is portrayed authentically and the city and surrounds look extremely convincing.

Charlize Theron also does an admirable job in the title role and does not at all look out of place as the action heroine.

Her supporting cast are weak however, with James McAvoy in particular hamming it up for the cameras and this does drag the production down a level with the high quality action sequences failing to paper over the many cracks.

The premise also appears a little jaded and forced and it’s quite clear that Atomic Blonde does not live up to the standard set by this director in his previous features.

There is plenty here for the action thriller junkie but very little besides as after the cinematic heights of Dunkirk last week, this reviewer is brought down to earth with a bang after this latest in a long line of Hollywood productions that favour style over substance.

Disappointing.

2.5/5

For more of John McCann’s movie reviews, check out his Facebook page here and website here

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