'Atomic Blonde' sits at the border of titillation and tedium

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That's not to say that Theron as MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton doesn't kick ass. Percival had to take out Delphine because she knew too much about his back-alley dealings with the Soviets.

Director David Leitch's "Atomic Blonde" strives to be a mysterious Reagan-age spy drama that has a 21st century feel because it has been infused with the aggressively excessive violence so pronounced in the world of graphic novels.

I think what we wanted was to find a way to ground the action and make it as realistic as possible. Directed by David Leitch, from a screenplay by Kurt Johnstad, based on the graphic novel series "The Coldest City" by Antony Johnston and Sam Hart. We are used to hard-boiled male detectives but Theron's British spy is very much in the same vein, even if the character is a spy rather than a detective.

Leitch definitely knows how to stage fights but stylistically he seems uncertain about whether he wants "Atomic Blonde" to be a bright, bold action music video or a realistic espionage thriller.

Mere moments after touching down in Germany, Broughton is fending off one baddie with a high heel while forcing another into crashing and flipping the auto they're riding in. But Theron's character doesn't realize it until the end of the movie.

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It's a Snatch-esque plot where everyone is gaming each other (and chasing down a list of names instead of a giant diamond); thus, we are treated to a steady stream of endurance-testing fight scenes, ironic music queues, racks of fabulous outfits, a few very sexy encounters between Theron and Sofia Boutella (playing Delphine Lasalle, the rookie French agent who's not as smooth as she thinks she is), and a lot of dirty insane from James McAvoy, who plays David Percival, Theron's contact on the ground in Berlin. James McAvoy, John Goodman, Til Schweiger, Eddie Marsan, Sofia Boutella, and Toby Jones also star. In English, German, and Russian with subtitles. Despite the gender change, the character's relationship to Lorraine isn't altered in any way, including their romantic entanglement - which means that effectively, the film created an example of queer representation (and bisexual representation, as Lorraine also expresses interest in men) where there wasn't one before, which is still exceedingly rare in Hollywood. She's the human representation of the film's cool, gray visual palate, which is only occasionally perked up by splashes of blue and pink neon.

Making the task seemingly impossible is not only the fact that the dossier is in Berlin in November 1989, where demonstrators and police clashes have the city in upheaval, but also her fellow spy contact there. The action sequences clearly come from a lifelong stuntman who helped helm the beloved "John Wick".

David Leitch is not the first director to come from the ranks of stunt performers. He had a hand in a bit of the direction in John Wick, and that's pretty obvious with the way the action plays out here. Music choices are spot-on and provide a flawless soundtrack for a fast-paced, frenetic movie. THR is reporting that Atomic Blonde managed to beat The Emoji Movie in its preview screenings after raking in a total $1.5 million, significantly higher than the $900,000 that Emoji scored. Theron does all her own fight scenes, wow, besides acting.

But let's be honest, we're here to see Charlize Theron and she delivers a fascinating image of a professional at the top of her game. HEALTH's version of the New Order hit is like, something I want to smother all over my body if a song were in liquid form - it's so broody and sexy, and I just want to listen to it until the end of time with some sunglasses and a swipe of piercing red lipstick on.

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