All original written content is (c) 2017 Mike Pascale. Visual content is (c) its respective owners. Bru-Hed art is ©2012 and a trademark of All Ages Media and Mike Pascale.
NEWBIES: If this is your first trip here (welcome!), here’s the QT on what these reviews are.
THIS WEEK: Charlize (FURY ROAD, SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN) Theron becomes a badass spy as UK operative Lorraine Broughton in Cold War Berlin. While being interrogated by her so-called “superiors” and the CIA about a recent mission we see thru flashbacks. She works with (and sometimes against) James X-MEN McAvoy, trying to find a stolen list of Free-World operatives while ferreting out a double agent, along with beating up and killing as many enemy spies as possible while trying not to get shot, stabbed or otherwise killed.
Written by Kurt Johnstad, based on the Oni Press graphic novel THE COLDEST CITY by Anthony Johnston and Sam Hart. Directed by stunts master David (DEADPOOL 2, JOHN WICK) Leitch.
- For once, we skip the CG (there’s some here but it’s more subtle) and get to focus on cinematography and especially stunt choreography, both of which are amazing. Any idiot (like I used to be) who thinks a chick can’t be a badass needs to see this. Broughton goes all John Wick/Jason Borne on everyone, while still looking hot as hell (with occasional cuts and bruises). As thin and as 40ish as Charlize is, she’s still athletic and believable. If it weren’t for Wonder Woman’s super powers, this Brit spy would kick Gal Gadot’s skinny Amazon buns across Europe.
- Nudie alert! Close to the opening scene, we get our Atomic Blonde in a tub full of ice cubes and see her sitting on the edge, with butt and side-boobage. Later on, she meets up with French spy Sofia (THE MUMMY) Boutella for some “ooh-la-la” lesbo action, with a long shot of Ms. Faira-shocka’s assets. You never see Keanu Reeves or Jason Statham doing that (thank goodness)!
- A mix of action, with lots of hand-to-hand, foot-to-face and hand-and-foot-to-everything else combat stuff as well as car chases/crashes and gunplay. The new “self-defense with a high heel” scene from the trailer is just as good the umpteenth time in the actual film. Same with the other items cleverly adopted for weaponry, from a freezer door to car keys to a hot plate.
- A few funny bits are thrown in to keep things from getting too dark. Mostly her exchanges with McAvoy and her ‘tude with the interrogators.
- The big hype surrounding the “eight-minute continuous shot on the stairs” was as groundbreaking as promised, but not in the way I thought (see below). Despite the outrageous violence of it, it’s probably one of the most realistic you’ll ever see, in that every participant fights till they’re totally tuckered out—and the hero actually gets bruised. Unlike the usual “same energy in every punch” from the guy action flicks, both Theron and her assailants can barely stand; staggering, wobbling and even falling over a couple times from their wounds and just plain exhaustion…like it really would be! Fascinating display of endurance and skill.
- This isn’t just a fight-fest action flick—actually an intricate plot with all kinds of webs of lies being weaved, if you dig that kind of thing.
- The period of the film, late 80s just before the fall of the Berlin Wall, was accurately conveyed with everything from clothes to newsreels to MTV clips and (of course) music, with both original recordings and “updated” versions for the I-don’t-know-anything-that-existed-before-I-was-born Millennial crowd.
- Bonus good casting, including John Goodman as a CIA suit, Eddie (HANCOCK, SHERLOCK HOLMES) Marsan, Toby (CAPTAIN AMERICA) Jones and James (GAME OF THRONES) Faulkner.
- Want a new drinking game? Take a shot every time someone in the film takes a drink and you’ll be plastered long before the credits!
- The plot was unnecessarily complex. Four of the characters are deceiving each other and others, to the point where I couldn’t keep straight who was on what side—and frankly I didn’t care. There’s a couple big twists at the end, but they didn’t have as much impact on me because it was kinda hard to follow in the first place, and the last big reveal didn’t make much sense.
- Usual Suspension-of-Disbelief Dept. stuff: people getting up from car crashes, knives in the back, bullet wounds, etc., staggering a bit and wincing in pain, but still able to do pretty much anything they want.
- If you are at all squeamish regarding violence or nudity or girl-on-girl action, you’ll want to skip this fer sure. (Or if you’re like me, pause and rewind several times.)
- The stair scene hype made it sound similar to the one in JOHN WICK, with the main character starting at the top or bottom of a large staircase and fighting a gazillion different dudes on the way down or up. Nothing like that at all—there’s like four guys or so, but as I said, the novelty is in the way it’s shot and the way they all react. If I’d known that going in, I would have enjoyed it even more.
- No buttons during or after the credits.
Another case of False Flick Advertising. The previews make this out to be a female BOURNE IDENTITY yet more amped up and hotter, but ATOMIC BLONDE is really more like 30% JOHN WICK, 10% political history lesson and 60% TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY. A lot of thinking required, and that ain’t why Bru watches movies. It’s like going on a roller coaster and spending half the ride coasting thru the Spy Museum. Yeah, the museum is cool and all that, but that ain’t why I got on a roller coaster! Definitely worth seeing for the fight scenes and sexy skin, but save yer big-screen dough; this is better watched at home where you can concentrate on the good stuff!
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed by Bru-Hed are not necessarily those of Wednesday’s Heroes, Mike Pascale, the CIA, the KGB, MI-6, 007, Russian heavies, East and West German protestors, French bisexuals, British babes or American foxes pretending to be British babes. Bru-Hed wants to be the star of the sequel, ATOMIC BEER. He’s willing to train as hard as needed with as many beers as possible.