It’s no secret that Charlize Theron is a fantastic actress capable of performing across several genres. However, it wasn’t until ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ that we fully saw the extent of her action abilities as she dominated the film more so than the title character. Therefore it’s no surprise that ‘Atomic Blonde’ sees Theron in an action heavy leading role, not dissimilar to that of Keanu Reeves in the ‘John Wick’ films. Would this film be the type of project that such a talented actress deserves to be starring in though?
Theron certainly holds up her end of the bargain performing with confidence throughout the film, once again showcasing why she is one of the leading action stars of the moment. Her fellow cast members don’t disappoint either. James McAvoy has the largest supporting role playing an eccentric MI6 agent deeply immersed in the field. If you saw ‘Split’ at the beginning of the year you’ll know this man can really act. His work here only further adds evidence to this conclusion as he pours so much enthusiasm into his performance, creating an effective chemistry with Theron. Along side these more prominent roles there are smaller characters played by John Goodman, Sofia Boutella & Toby Jones among others as well who all contribute positively to the picture.
Of course it’s not the A-list cast that viewers will be buying a ticket for it’s the promise of the kick-ass action shown in the trailers, so is this worth the price of admission? Well this element is definitely executed well and it’s brutality is easily the most impressive aspect of it. However, I found it often became monotonous. This is a particular issue in the second half of the film. It becomes less and less entertaining as the film progresses and during fight sequences I found myself hoping that every punch would be the final one.
Another factor that contributes to the problems with the action sequences was the overall narrative. The story is so convoluted, making it hard to follow at times. The fact that it’s hard to really care about anything that’s going on doesn’t help the situation either. All of this meant that the film feels ridiculously long, hence why these elongated scenes of action, brutality aside, just don’t work. Thankfully there is a synthy 80’s soundtrack on hand to inject some much needed pace into the proceedings, although not enough to fully salvage the film. Unfortunately the soundtrack is only the start of the style over substance issues with the film. Whilst many of the elements of costume design, visuals & editing are in themselves rather stylish the combination of them within the film came across as forced. ‘Atomic Blonde’ just felt like it was trying too damn hard to be cool, you’ve got Charlize Theron being a badass, trust me that’s cool enough already.
Ultimately, ‘Atomic Blonde’ could well be one of the years biggest disappointments. The premise for the film is good but the consequent narrative built around it isn’t of a high enough quality to support the relentless action. There’s isolated moments to enjoy but as a whole picture the film us inexcusably dull and fails to match the standard of it’s very talented cast.
Rating – 3/10
Question: Which actress would you like to see attempt a leading action role?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)
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