Leitch, a former stuntman and fight coordinator, handles set pieces with gusto, while he and cinematographer Jonathan Sela (John Wick) don't shy away from gore in the epic fight scenes. "Atomic Blonde" comes out in a year in which images of triumphant Wonder Women vie with beleaguered Handmaids, but it's a statement of goal more by default than design. And at first, it's jarring to see all that combat-damage showing through her fancy outfits (or in the character's predilection for ice-baths) later on. It's confusing, because she's supposed to be a brilliant MI6 agent, and annoying because she keeps getting into fight just because she missed this obvious "twist". She worked with what seemed like the ideal director for the project, too: David Leitch co-directed "John Wick", where Keanu Reeves played a hitman forcibly taken out of retirement so he could beat hundreds of people up. To its credit, Atomic Blonde is the rare action movie that begs for a serious rewatch, in which the viewing experience will arguably be even deeper and better. "[The movie] is fun in the beginning". And lest we forget that a good spy should maintain tools of seduction within their arsenal, she also sizzles in a romp with Delphine Lasalle (The Mummy's Sofia Boutella), a mystery woman on her tail. Lorraine tries to save Spyglass, which requires entering an apartment building and taking out snipers. "They have to have lost something in order to fight this good. "(Lorraine) exists. She's simply her. The scene of bloodied-up, punch-drunk combatants staggering about, falling down to gather themselves, then going at it again is sullied only by the too-convenient trope of some makeshift weapon always being conveniently within arm's length when needed most (hello, corkscrew!). Leitch recalled. "Is it going to be compelling?" "It does rely on the actor's ability when you don't have the money for CGI spectacle".
Broughton's contact in Berlin is whisky-drinking station chief David Percival (James McAvoy), who is interesting if not entirely convincing. The action sequences in Atomic Blonde are creatively choreographed and become even more impressive when you realize Theron did nearly all of her own stunts (apparently the insurance folks wouldn't let her jump out of windows). The exhausted, uninspired dialogue slows "Atomic Blonde" too often, and the movie would've been better served by a leaner screenplay and edit.
But the similarities between the #CharlizeTheron vehicle and Keanu's sleeper hit go beyond the ass-kicking and expended bullet casings - since the two actually trained together in preparation for their respective roles.
I think what we wanted was to find a way to ground the action and make it as realistic as possible. It's like this fear that you can not relate to a female unless she has gone through any of those things, and I just don't believe in that.
"There are a few details where you just can't risk slamming your actress ten times into a breakaway cabinet, so we found a way to graft in a stunt performer".
Quentin Tarantino directed Grier in Jackie Brown and says she may be cinema's first female action star. At their best, they also have a "how'd they do that?" impact that both signals the upped ante of stunt virtuosity at the franchise level and implies that returns will soon diminish. Most of the "action" happens in a film cabinet, down a back alley or with a silencer.
"It was crucial to the whole scene in that they could practice the choreography with her, and make subtle adjustments for camera and for her", he explains. It's impressive stuff, and Leitch goes himself one better in a sequence that takes place in a auto, with Lorraine and a source racing through the streets of Berlin while a dozen different people shoot at them or try to ram them with vehicles.
Bathed in neon and bleeding with style, "Atomic Blonde" boasts the coolest action sequence captured on any screen this year: Theron thwarting henchmen in an eight-minute fight that starts inside an apartment and tumbles down a stairwell, onto a city street and into a auto that zips, reverses and almost flips upside down.