atomic blonde

Apparently Atomic Blonde is every bit as fun as it looks. David Leitch‘s (John Wick) first solo outing behind the camera premiered a few months back at the SXSW Film Festival and the folks in attendance went thoroughly nuts for Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron), including our managing editor Jacob Hall. After seeing a clip from the film, it’s easy to see why.

Below, watch the Atomic Blonde clip.

Based on Antony Johnston and Sam Hart‘s graphic novel The Coldest City, Theron plays a secret agent sent to Berlin after the death of another spy (also her former lover) leads to a list of agents and codenames getting in the hands of a KGB operative. That’s the premise of Atomic Blonde at its most basic.

Some of the reviews suggested the movie could’ve benefited from a little simplicity, as things supposedly get a little muddled and twists come and go fast, but everyone who saw the film didn’t seem to mind too much when things veered a little off track. The character, the action, and the mood was more than enough to make up for it. Atomic Blonde co-stars James McAvoy, Toby Jones, Eddie Marsan, John Goodman, and Sofia Boutell.

Even without any context for this fight, it’s a thrill to watch. No fast cutting and no talking, just a purely physical beatdown dished out by Theron. Like John Wick, Broughton seems to have impeccable style, too. Both Leitch and Chad Stahelski seem to know how to appeal to the eye through costume, set design, and color choices. They make some exceptionally good-looking movies, featuring equally pleasing to the ear song choices and scores from Tyler Bates. The use of “Father Figure” in this scene is the tip of the iceberg, as Atomic Blonde is filled with great ’80s tunes.

Another action scene to look forward to? A 10-minute long, real-time brawl, which was teased in the trailer. Jacob was blown away by the scene, partially for how it conveyed “how hard fighting someone to death must be”:

By the final stretch of this real-time brawl, Theron and her opponents are noticeably battered, panting, unsteady on their feet, and frequently backing away from each other to catch their breath and summon a second (and third and fourth and fifth) wind. It’s the alley fight from They Live, the street fight from that infamous Deadwood episode and any scene from The Raid were all combined into one of the most impressive action scenes…of the past decade? Hyperbole may be earned here.

Atomic Blonde opens in theaters July 28.

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