Ivey: This week the Richmond Reviewers screened 'Atomic Blonde', starring Charlize Theron as Lorraine Broughton, British super spy.
Fonseca: This movie had me interested as soon as I saw that it was an action movie starring Charlize Theron.
Ivey: What interested me was that it was a stylishly-photographed action/spy thriller with Theron, one of the best actresses of our generation.
Fonseca: At first it seemed she was just another pretty face, but Monster and many other roles proved that that was not the case.
Ivey: What I didn't realize about this film was that it was set in 1989, with the fall of communism as a background plot.
Fonseca: The trailers led me to believe that she would be a female James Bond, but it didn't have that feel. I didn’t know about the time period or the locations either, although the time period lends itself to a great soundtrack of 80s tunes. I love that it uses New Order, Depeche Mode and others from the New Wave era.
Ivey: Along for the ride is James McAvoy as a sneezy/maybe double agent. Toby Jones and John Goodman round out the names that most fans would recognize
Fonseca: There are few other actors people would recognize, but not know the actor's names, like Eddie Marsan.
Ivey: I enjoyed seeing Til Schweiger, who some may recognize from Inglorious Basterds
Fonseca: The film is based on a graphic novel, but like many of these movies, its based on one Ive never heard of called Coldest City.
Having just been to Berlin recently, I thought it was cool that most of the movie takes place in Berlin before the wall came down.
Ivey: I think they did a good job showing both sides of the wall, however it quickly became confusing which side was which. They attempted to keep the audience abreast with spray-paint geographic designations, but I think they could've used another device to add clarity.
But I'm not surprised since this is just David Leitch's third film... ever!
Fonseca: The cinematography was good, but I was annoyed by the dark filter over everything. I wondered if Zack Snyder had directed this. Maybe if it had just been in certain scenes, but I found this obscured a bit too much.
Ivey: Well, the DP did work on Max Payne and the latest Transformers movie...
Fonseca: Apparently Leitch has more experience as a stunt man in the movies than anything else.
His stunt work may explain how well the action and fight scenes came off in this movie.
Ivey: Yes, including an incredible action sequence that was helped by a few camera tricks and CGI. It's probably the worth the price of admission alone. It certainly garnered the most amount of emotion from the audience during the whole film!
Fonseca: Yes, a few of the scenes were very well done without having to resort to the dreaded "shaky cam". Some might think it adds to the realism, but I usually find it more obnoxious than anything. The fight scenes in general are a highlight. I applaud the director, Charlize, and her stunt woman on these.
Ivey: I expected nothing less than the folks who worked on John Wick, one of the better action films in the last few years.
Fonseca: I am embarrassed to admit that I haven't seen John Wick or John Wick 2, yet. They are on the top of my viewing list, though. So how do you rate Atomic Blonde?
Ivey: Everything was firing on all cylinders except for the story, which wasn't the same quality as the rest of the film.
Fonseca: It makes me wonder if that is the fault of the screenwriter or if that is how the original story went?
Ivey: I guess the only way to find out is to get a white-page copy of the script.
Ivey: Sometimes it reminded me of Drive, other times Confessions of a Dangerous Mind... but lived up to neither. Drive for the music, Confessions for the cold war feel. Regardless, I'll give Atomic Blonde a 3 out of 5. How about you, Mike?
Fonseca: This movie has all the ingredients, but rather than being greater than the sum of its parts, it just struck me tha it was missing something. Paprika, perhaps.
Ivey: Maybe a twist of lime with the Stoli on the rocks?
Fonseca: I suspect men will enjoy it more than women. Between the violence and the Charlize dialed up to 11, I suspect this movie will do well. I also give it a 3 out of 5.