ATOMIC BLONDE — Review by Linda Cook

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Watch Charlize Theron kick some class in the stylish, violent “Atomic Blonde.” This no “PG-13”-rated Bond movie. It’s an “R”-rated, bone-crunching rampage, a la “John Wick,” with a well-dressed female protagonist. Sometimes, its double-crosses and triple-crosses are hard to follow, but that’s not a big deal, because the fight scenes never disappoint. Continue reading…

Based on “The Coldest City,” a graphic novel, the show is directed by David Leitch, a stunt man who understands how important it is for the audience to see what’s going on – especially during those moments when fists and jaws connect in this spy thriller.

Theron is agent Lorraine Broughton, an M16 agent who is being briefed throughout the film, which unfolds as the narrative she tells her superior (Toby Jones). The time period is just before the fall of the Berlin Wall.

A British agent with whom Lorraine was involved is killed, and she is dispatched to East Berlin to get her hands on a list of undercover agents. She also is assigned to find and eliminate a double, make that triple agent.

Theron is enjoyable in this role – she’s a great action lead; she’s so good, in fact, that I hope we see her in more actioners. One of the finest scenes involves her riding an elevator and coming to grips with the fact that she will need to exit shooting. It’s a fantastic action sequence.

James McAvoy is wonderful as her Berlin contact whose motivations rarely are clear, and John Goodman is on hand for a smaller but entertaining role. Sofia Boutella (“Kingsman: The Secret Service” and “Star Trek Beyond”) is a standout as a French operative who seduces Lorraine (or is it the other way around?)

The look of the movie is one of the stars. Its washed-out, gritty appearance enhances its Cold War environment, which includes Theron’s appearance in stiletto heels and black-and-white outfits and her almost-white hair that sometimes ends up spattered with blood that’s not always her own.

The film also boasts one of the finest soundtracks this year, with 1980s Europop that ranges from Der Commissar’s “After the Fire” to “99 Luftballoons” and “Voices Carry” by Til Tuesday.

Leitch does a commendable job of directing, never pulling any punches, so to speak, when violence erupts, which is often. He is, not so incidentally, directing “Deadpool 2,” a hotly anticipated sequel.

This solid flick will be great fun for aficionados of “R”-rated action, and for those who will appreciate Leitch’s stylistic approach to filmmaking.

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Linda Cook

Linda Cook earned bachelor degrees in English and elementary education from Monmouth (Illinois) College, She's a reporter and film critic at the Quad-City Times, and reviews films for NBC affiliate KWQC. She earned a master of criminal justice degree at St. Ambrose University, Davenport, and has been an instructor there for many years.