After proving herself a bona fide action star in Mad Max: Fury Road, Charlize Theron returns to the genre with the cold-war spy film Atomic Blonde.
Set in 1989 Berlin as the Berlin Wall is about to fall, Atomic Blonde tells the story of a British agent (Theron) assigned to investigate the murder of another agent, her former lover. When she arrives, people immediately start trying to kill her. She has to rescue a defecting East German (Eddie Marsan) and figure out the intentions of another Brit (James McAvoy) and a French agent (Sofia Boutella).
Theron and McAvoy are good as the leads, and there is one truly impressive extended fight-and-chase scene about an hour into the film. But the finale piles on a needless amount of twists and reversals that don’t really add much to the story. While it’s fine to use some 80s music to invoke the period, director David Leitch overdoes the music, and it becomes tiresome and predictable.
Lastly, Theron’s character is a bisexual and gets involved in a romantic relationship with Boutella’s character. This is fine in theory, but as it’s written, there is no depth to it whatsoever. It feels like it was included purely for titillation and Boutella's character is so underwritten that she makes Ursula Andress in Dr. No seem multi-dimensional.
Atomic Blonde isn’t bad, but it could have been a lot better.