DVD Review: Atomic Blonde

STUDIO: Universal | DIRECTOR: David Leitch | CAST: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, Bill Skarsgard, Toby Jones, Sofia Boutella, John Goodman
RELEASE DATE: Nov. 14, 2017 | PRICE: DVD $17.96, Blu-ray/DVD Combo $19.96, 4K Ultra HD $22.96
BONUSES: commentary, deleted/extended scenes, featurettes, motion storyboards, Anatomy of a Fight Scene
SPECS: R | 115 min. | Action thriller | 2.40:1 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1/DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 | English, Spanish and French subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  | Audio | Video  | Overall

With an in-your-face factor that’s high, Atomic Blonde goes for the jugular, scoring solid grades for action, violence and stylized kinkiness.

Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road) plays Lorraine Broughton, an MI6 agent who recounts her frenzied adventures in espionage in Berlin in 1989 while being interrogated by her superior (Toby Jones, Anthropoid) and a CIA official (John Goodman, Trumbo).

The story she relates involves her attempts to retrieve a dossier swiped by a KGB agent and the efforts made to uncover a double agent. Playing a part in her mission are a Berlin operative (James McAvoy, Split), a French liaison (Sofia Boutella, The Mummy) who takes a romantic interest in Lorraine and an East German turncoat (Eddie Marsan, Jack the Giant Slayer), along with assorted KGB-affiliated hoods.

Kudos to stunt specialist-turned-director David Leitch, who did uncredited directing chores on John Wick (and is behind the camera for the upcoming Deadpool 2), for keeping things fast and furious. But the plentiful action that’s slickly shot and smartly staged will make even dogged skirmish admirers exhausted after a while—or at least until later on in the film when an extended fight sequence in an apartment building dazzles with its no-holds-barred execution.

Based on the graphic novel “The Cold City,” Atomic Blonde also deserves credit for placing its “(wo)mano a mano” altercations in its historical “Cold War” context. But the film’s noirish moodiness seems at odds with its gung-ho willingness to go to gut-punching extremes, and doesn’t make its convoluted, multi-character storyline any easier to follow. Ultimately, it’s Theron’s show, and she impresses with her physical dexterity and imposing presence in stiletto heels. She’s game—as is this movie…perhaps too much so.

Made for a reported $35 million, Atomic Blonde brought in a decent $52 million domestically and another $40 million overseas. Whether there’s a sequel is anyone’s guess at this point, but strong DVD and Blu-ray returns will definitely bolster possibilities of more lethal Charlize in the future.

Buy or Rent Atomic Blonde

About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.