Oscar winner Charlize Theron has spent her career staying out of the proverbial “box” Hollywood can throw its stars in.
From beautiful starlet to serious actor, it’s her current phase as an action heroine that might be her most impressive yet.
Playing the closest thing we have currently to a female Bond in “Atomic Blonde” (opening in theatres Friday), Theron delivers an electric performance that’s brutal and sexy at the same time.
From director David Leitch, of “John Wick” and the upcoming “Deadpool 2” fame, the movie is based on the graphic novel “The Coldest City,” and is a slick look back at 1980s Cold War Berlin — just as the wall is about to fall. Theron plays MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton, who travels to Berlin to investigate the murder of an agent, and to retrieve a document that reveals the identity of undercover agents before it gets into the wrong hands.
Lorraine pretty much kicks arse from the moment she lands in Berlin. Whether it’s a high heel, a rubber hose, guns, or just her fists, she has a deadly execution for every occasion, and there are many in this movie.
But that doesn’t mean Lorraine doesn’t have time to slip on a dress and knock down some vodkas with her new friend, Delphine (Sofia Boutella). This leads to some passionate scenes between the two, played over memorable 1980s tracks.
Like the “John Wick” movies — really, most action movies — there’s little about the story to pay attention to. Even though it tries to pull the rug from us (a few times) at the end, and is filled with some great performances by James McAvoy, John Goodman, Toby Jones, and Eddie Marsan.
The real things to marvel at are the insane action sequences that seem scarily real. Theron did most of the action herself, and it gives the movie an authentic feel that will satisfy the most snobbish action movie fan. Especially impressive is a single-take 8-minute sequence toward the end of the movie. But unlike most action movies, Leitch shows the aftermath of swollen faces and aching bodies that comes after days of being beaten and dishing out beatings.
And through it all, Theron has a wicked style that is a joy to watch.