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Atomic Blonde: Atomic Failure or Atomic Success?

By the looks of the trailer, Atomic Blonde promises an action-packed experience to its audience. But does this spy action thriller now in theaters live up to its promise? Sammy Montana dig in.

Sammy Montana has worked in different capacities in Hollywood... Read more. To get Sammy's free screenwriting advice subscribe to his YouTube channel. For his high quality and fast turnaround script consultation services contact him on Linkedin.

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Imagine sitting down with your ice cold refreshing drink and popcorn in hand. The lights go down. You're ready to relax and escape from the drudges of modern day life. The money stress. POOF! Gone just like that. Your douchebag job and mediocre job. POOF! Gone just like that. Your to-do list for the rest of today. POOF! Gone just like that. By the looks of the trailer, that's what Atomic Blonde promises its audience. But does this spy action thriller, now in theaters, live up to its promise?

Stick with me and let's dig in. I promise I will NOT reveal any spoilers except for one line that may ruin the film. The one line is for dramatic effect of this review. Dahn, Dahn, Dahnnnnn! That’s my dramatic music right there.


The plot takes place during the Cold War era in Germany and stars Charlize Theron and James McAvoy. Charlize Theron is an MI-6 spy searching for a secret list and must team up with a spy station agent already embedded there among the turmoil of East vs. West Germany.

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Without giving anything away, of course, complications ensue and there are plenty of twists and turns. Some of the twists and turns are:

1) Who are the bad guys?
2) Who are the good guys?
3) Who may or may not be following her?
4) Who may or may not have the list?
5) Why is the list important?
6) Can the scenes get any more violent?
7) And how much beating can Charlize Theron's character really take?!

Okay, I admit I made the last part up, but you get the idea.

From the first scene up to the last scene, the stylized directing scene mix guides you by the hand into the plot. Then like a fantastic well-written and well-acted spy movie, it grabs you by the throat and squeezes. Don't worry, you'll come up for air – but only enough to be squeezed back into your seat.

This movie is not for the faint of heart. If you love John Wick, Jason Statham, the Bournefranchise, then this is the movie for you. But if you're looking for something that is filled with emotional stakes and detailed character development, then you should be watching an action drama, drama, or a comedic film.

Of course, this is not to say that there is no character development in the film. On the contrary, like good action films, there is some but only enough to carry it forward. That’s because most action films are plot-driven. It's in the genre name: ACTION. Right? Although movies like Bourne and Die Hard dig in a little more into the character in the first 30 minutes, Atomic Blonde does not. Let me explain.

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Atomic Blonde is based on a graphic novel that I have not read. The movie focuses on the subtleties of the overall plot. Some major things that I love about the movie are the subtleties of the twists and turns. I also dig the uniqueness of the brutal, well-choreographed fight scenes that reminded me of an alternative version of John Wick. Although the scenes are not as stylized as John Wick was, they work very well in creating tension and suspense.

Charlize Theron's performance with her subtle gestures and gazes are great to watch. It's also great to see an action movie with a female lead! It goes to show you. It's all about story. Not every action movie that is typically male driven has to be. By the way, the only other action movie with a spy female lead that I've liked is Salt. Not every action film needs detailed character development, especially if it does not work for that particular story. The character development in Atomic Blonde is closer to John Wick than Salt.


If you feel like you want intimate details of your lead action character and high emotional stakes, typical character arcs, bland action sequences, then watch something else.


If you are like me and are in the mood for stylized action with very enjoyable twists and turns and an overall entertaining plot, leave your analytical hat at home (keep it on for your day job though). Don't walk to see this Atomic success, RUN to your nearest theater! Get the popcorn or whatever candy and soda you like, sit, lean back and watch Charlize Theron crack some bones and blow away some baddies. As she would say, "Who's your Bitch now?" At least that's what it sounded like.

I rate this movie HALLELUJAH!

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