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Atomic Blonde


Stars: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman, Sofia Boutella, Toby Jones, Eddie Marsan, Bill Skarsgard, Til Schweiger

Director: David Leitch

Set in 1989 in East Berlin, with the famous wall about to come down, this John Wick-style adventure features Theron as Lorraine, a lethal secret agent for Who Knows? - assigned by MI6 and the CIA to smuggle out a defecting scientist (Marsan) who's in possession of The List (no, don't ask).

Her contact is David Percival (McAvoy), who has sunk himself into East Berliner sub-cultire.

Right from the start, though, Lorraine is snatched by KGB agents at the airport, whom she dispatches with the (high) heel of her shoe (just as well she didn't wear anything more sensible), before entering into a torrid lesbian affair with a French agent (Boutella) and dodging numerous assassination attempts in her efforts to get Marsan out.

The film's framework is a post-story interrogation (de-briefing?) of Lorraine by Brit espionage chief Jones and CIA boss Goodman. Or are they? As usual, Lorraine trusts no one...

The plot is so confused even Einstein couldn't unravel it, while parts of it run like a Europudding spy thriller from the 1960s, if with much sharper action. Theron certainly does the bone-crunching, high-kicking stuff well, but then that's what she's paid for; her acting, though, isn't to the same standard.

And don't get me started on the 'screenplay'. Such dialogue as the film has abounds with such gems as 'Knock yourself out', 'Everyone here is searching for something' and 'Have you noticed that everyone you get close to ends up dead?' Now where have we heard those before?

Chances are you still won't know who was on whose side by the end, so hang your brains in the foyer and concentrate on the fight scenes. DVD sales, at least, should be, er...atomic.

David Quinlan

Germany/Sweden/UK/USA 2017. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour (unspecified).
113 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 07 Aug 2017