Atomic Blonde

GoMovieReviews Rating:
Rated: MA 15+Atomic Blonde

Directed by: David Leitch

Produced by: Eric Gitter, Peter Schwerin, Kelly McCormick, Charlize Theron, A. J. Dix and Beth Kono.

Based on the Oni Press Graphic Novel Series: ‘The Coldest City’, Written by Antony Johnston and Illustrated by Sam Hart

Screenplay by: Kurt Johnstad

Starring: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman, Til Schweiger, Eddie Marsan, Sofia Boutella and Toby Jones.

Based on the Oni Press Graphic Novel Series, The Coldest City, Atomic Blonde was cold alright, with Lorrain Broughton (Charlize Theron) a killing machine breed out of MI6 to seek out the assassinator of a spy, who stole a list of all the identities of Western agents operating in Berlin, behind The Iron Curtain, circa 1989.

Atomic Blonde is a spy/action movie set in the 80s like I’ve never seen before.  So 80s it took a while for the movie to get over itself and get to the meat of the story.

After a failed attempt on her life when landing in Berlin, Broughton makes contact with Station Chief, David Percival (James McAvoy) – an operative who’s been unmonitored for years; king of the castle, he does as he likes.  Percival’s gone feral.Atomic Blonde

And the closer Broughton gets to finding the list, the more complicated the journey.

It’s a familiar story: spies, betrayal, seduction and deception, but shown in a different way – the 80s flavour of fluorescent paint mixed with the noir persona of Broughton, like the film was trying to establish itself with bright saturated colour against a mute cold character.

I felt the reliance on the early fight scenes heavy until I witnessed a seamless montage of smacking, spraying blood and keys left dangling, impaled in a bad-guy’s cheek: AKA gritty fisticuffs that legitimized the film from something that was trying-out 80s noir for size, into a sit-up and take-me-serious action movie.Atomic Blonde

I like a film that explores a different vibe and no other actor could have achieved the feminine brutality of Broughton like Theron.  Every single fight scene in the film is Theron, hence that seamless raw feel.

Angelina Jolie also played the seductive spy in, Salt (2010), but Theron has stepped up and brought a brute coldness to this role.  The sensual was there with some steamy scenes with French operative, Delphine Lasalle (Sofia Boutella, who you’ll remember from the recent film, The Mummy (2017)).  But what I really believed was the brute force of Broughton’s nature.

And Atomic Blonde is all about Broughton.  There’s only a hint of belly to humanise the character, the rest is all action –  a hallmark of director David Leitch being a stunt man himself and directing the highly successful, John Wick (2014).  He likes his characters dry and unrelenting.  And Theron was perfect for the role.

Atomic Blonde twists the classic noir genre into something else; for me, the action was the highlight.

The Mummy

GoMovieReviews Rating:
Rated: MThe Mummy

Directed by: Alex Kurtzman

Screenplay by: David Koepp, Christopher McQuarrie and Dylan Kussman

Screen Story by: Jon Spaihts, Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet

Executive Producers: Jeb Brody and Roberto Orci

Starring: Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis, Jake Johnson, Courtney B. Vance, Marwan Kenzari and Russell Crowe.

Welcome to Universal Picture’s Dark Universe:  A series of Monster-Verse movies to be distributed in the coming years beginning with the release of, The Mummy.

This is the first time we’re seeing the monster as a female mummy – Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), an ancient Egyptian princess cheated out of her rightful place as ruler and a god amongst men.

Ahmanet draws on the power of evil to reclaim what she believes is rightfully hers only to be thwart at the verge of succeeding.  Erased from history and imprisoned for 5000 years, she’s unwittingly released by Nick Morton (Tom Cruise), a careless soldier of fortune who has no scruples using anything and everyone to get what he wants.  The perfect match for a monster.

But is he evil or just an idiot?

There’s chemistry between Nick and the British officer of Cultural Heritage, Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Wallis), with a sprinkling of humour that sometimes missed the mark for me but made the pair tolerable.

Chris Vail (Jake Johnson), Nick Morton’s side-kick, was a bonus providing comic relief, lifting the film out of taking itself too seriously, allowing the audience to laugh intentionally.  It can be a close call – to laugh with or at seemingly ignorant action-types.

Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) was well-cast as the evil Egyptian princess.  The costuming (Penny Rose) and make-up (Lizzie Georgious) creating the rune-style writing on her skin very effective and the double iris a unique look l’ve never seen before.

This leads me to the explosive effects and setting which made the film worth watching on the big screen.  Shot in three countries from the Bridge of Sighs in Oxford for those creepy dark and dank moments, to Namibia in southeast Africa for the heat and desert surrounding the discovery of the Sarcophage containing, The Mummy.

If the story remained the light-hearted, explosive action, sometimes scary zombie, Mummy-come-to-destroy-London movie, this would have been a familiar, successful formula.  What I don’t understand is the addition of Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe).  Adding a character so different to the rest of the story stretched the suspension of belief too far leaving me to question – why?!

I was absorbed with the explosive opening and the effects, so-much-so, I put off that desperate need for the bathroom because I didn’t want to miss  what was coming next.

But there was a wrong turn in the story with too much weight put on the already thin character of Nick.  Add the Henry Jekyll character and you’re losing the audiences enthusiasm for the characters’ survival.

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