Written by Louie Fecou
Some of the sequences in John Wick were directed by the director of Atomic Blonde, David Leitch, so you would be forgiven for thinking that perhaps we were going to get a retro, female version of the aforementioned film. Charlize Theron is our lead here, playing secret agent Lorraine Broughton, trying to track down a list of agents that will spell disaster for the Cold War effort in 1989.
Like Lorraine, we find ourselves dumped into Berlin on the eve of the iconic tearing down of the wall, and we learn all this as Lorraine is narrating the events of the movie to her mysterious superiors. Cue various scrapes and escapades, as our blonde Modesty Blaze gets wrapped in a vicious and confusing tapestry of danger and deceit.
James McEvoy is brilliant as usual as a point of contact for Lorraine, and the usual spy tropes unfold. We have car chases, hall way fight scenes, sexy counter agents and an amazing 80’s soundtrack that always kicks in when the action kicks off. The film is stylish and over the top, with Berlin all neon lights and alley ways, and the performances are all slick and engaging.
It is a very violent film, and a fight scene where we see our heroine being badly beaten was uneasy to watch and possibly too gratuitous, but with the genre being what it is, I suppose we should expect that? As far as the story goes, I think i will need another viewing to get all the twists and turns, but in this case I won’t mind. It has a bit of a pacing problem in the second act, but when the action begins it really is worth the wait.
I believe that Charlize put a lot of work into getting in shape for the grueling fight scenes, and it has certainly paid off for her. I know that it’s easier than ever now to fake those kind of scenes, but there is an honesty in the action that makes me think she did a lot of this stuff herself.
My only gripe would be the framing of the film. We know Lorraine survives this mission, as she is telling the story essentially to us, so there is a little tension lost, as we know she survives. The film itself is based on a graphic novel, The Coldest City, and I was surprised that more of the publicity did not focus on this Surely with comic book movies still pulling in the big bucks, it may have captured a section of that audience that might have overlooked this due to the title change.
This is a visually stunning and thrilling movie that fans of the genre will love and fans of 80’s music will get a kick, and a punch, out of playing name that tune as the story unfolds.
Rating: 8 out of 10