Summer is a time for dysfunctional family vacations, aloe vera, and holding up in the movie theater with giant buckets of half popped kernels and a liter of cola. I did the latter this past weekend for the first time in forever and I have to say; it was fucking great. You wanna know what else summer is all about? BLOCKBUSTERS. Not the video store we all wish was still around the corner, but the cinematic enigma that happens this time every year. I’m not sure if one would ACTUALLY consider Atomic Blonde a blockbuster, but I’m calling it one, because I calls ‘em like I sees ‘em. Also, Charlize Theron and James McEvoy star in this spy/thriller/MMA pay-per-view event and I would say they carry enough klout for a seasonal hit.
Let me start off by saying that I liked this movie. Alot. Now, that may be because I like my women tall, blonde, and gay, but I also thought that this movie was mind blowingly beautiful. As was Delphine Lasalle (Played by Sofia Boutella) However, if you were to ask me what the story was all about, or if there was any reason that James McEvoy was begrudgingly chewing his cigarettes during this movie; I would have to scratch my head in wonder. Was there really a plotline to this film? Or was this all just a fuzzy wet dream I woke up from not remembering anything but the fishnets, gunfights, and 99 Luft balloons?
David Leitch did an amazing directing job for his first time going it alone. As a former stuntman and co director of John Wick, you can tell he takes enormous pride in how the fight sequences were shot and how smoothly they transitioned. Let’s be real. If there is one single thing to take away from this movie, it’s the way they camera slowly do-si-do’s from Lorraine to her enemies. Her moves are legitimate (meaning she’s not some sort of cyborg). And the action is believable while still kicking you in the face. Extra bonus. There’s tons of brutality. Not in the gory sense, but in unique ways that have leave you smiling and thinking, ‘Yea, she just did that shit.’
Aesthetically, this movie was everything it should have been. Cold, with Neon blues and pinks that mimicked the winter chill of Berlin and the rise of the 80’s synth punk/pop/amazingness that was happening the world over at the time. Charlize and James play in the lighting beautifully together. Lorraine Broughton’s chilly demeanor, with her ice baths and her vodka and her monochromatic 80’s pantsuits and David Percival with his large weird coats, doc martins, and no real reason to wear a shirt. Both different in their own right, but symbiotic nonetheless.
The soundtrack was good.
I read that there was a big battle royal to gain rights for most of the music, Which is understandable, seeing as many of the songs were hits back in their hay day. This brought forth great reminiscing. (From when I was in the womb I guess?) Even though these all too familiar songs were laced throughout the film, they were used wisely and came through clear at the most opportune times. Most notable was the juxtaposition of George Michael’s ‘Father Figure’ against the backdrop of Lorraine’s slaughterfest with the cops. I’ll admit, it made me laugh on the outside.
Listen, when you get down to it, there was only one thing that sort of sucked about this film. The piece is a big one, but I still found myself capable of looking over it and enjoying the movie.
Specifically that sex scene, which was too short in my fully humble opinion. Way too short.
Besides the brevity in which I was able to watch two ladies fondle each other; it was the actual progression of the plot that fell flat for me. Sure, this was your standard who’s gunning for who and who actually is who sort of spy film. It’s a tried and true trope that seems to pop up every couple of years or so. They always remind me of Scooby Doo.
Atomic Blonde, was muddy at best from the beginning. And as the movie trudged the plot forward, you could practically read the clues on the breadcrumbs left behind. This movie wasn’t as smart as it thought is was. (Insert shitty sexist blonde joke here.) And things like Lorraine’s terrible british accent had me wondering why Theron didn’t take language lessons.
In the end, when you’re watching Atomic Blonde, don’t think so much about the plot. Focus on how beautiful the film is to watch and how amazing the fight scenes are.
At best, I would venture out to see it again. Particularly on a date with a tall, blonde woman that might tie me up later.
And if anything…at least you’ll always have 99 Luft balloons.
Theater worthy. Grab refreshments.
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Worthy of a trip to the theater.