Atmoic Blonde

by Justin Johnson

Atomic Blonde is one of the those movies you shouldn’t like as much as you do.  Why do I like it?  It’s a good spy story.  It has all the key elements, double agents, rogue agents, a lead heroine who may or may not be who she says. Of course there is the CIA, Mi6, KGB and other spy agencies fighting for information.  On top of being a good spy story, its set in the 1980s during the fall of the Berlin Wall which gives it a depth of history to add to the spy story.  Big bonus, the soundtrack comes close to rivaling Baby Driver, some great80s music makes an appearance and they mix it up well, from pop to metal, you get some of the best the 80s had to offer.  I haven’t read the graphic novel, but I imagine Antony Johnston is pleased seeing his creation on screen.  This movie drips with elements that mark it as a graphic novel, from the opening credits to some of the stylized fights.

Why do I say, you shouldn’t like it as much as you do?  The story isn’t great, I mean its no Spy Game. In addition, it has a graphic girl on girl scene that was expected from the trailers, but even so – it was a bit much for me.  Especially considering it was an attempt to convince the audience the women had feelings for each other. There were obvious better ways to develop the relationship… While I really enjoyed seeing female leads playing butt kicking spies, because of the graphic nature, it’s unclear if Atomic Blonde is the next big flag for seeing women in new roles or just another poster for guys to oogle.  With that said, it’s still a really fun movie leaning heavy on a great sound track and some fun plot twists keep you smiling.

David Leitch takes the helm of this film and you can clearly see his hand in the stunts and fight scenes, with a bit of John Wick behind it.  Don’t get me wrong, Keanu brought a substance to John Wick that is lacking from Atomic Blonde and that’s another reason why its hard to say why I still like it so much.  Its almost a guilty pleasure.

This movie is not great, but I bet anyone who enjoyed the 80s and likes a good spy story is going to walk out satisfied.  Which is why I like it more than I should, it gave me two of my favorite subjects wrapped into a film that was easy to watch and easy to enjoy.
5 out of 7 – this is a very adult oriented spy movie, lots of graphic violence and sexual situations leave me recommending to avoid this movie if either of these aspects of films are a struggle for you.