Watching Atomic Blonde I suddenly notice that I’m following the shot rather than the action. The shot, a prolonged single(ish)-take fight scene, is impressively staged but I’ve lost the drama within it because it isn’t captivating. The problem is that the central MacGuffin, a list (sigh), is duplicated in function and form with no real sense of priority, deadline or consequence. No amount of 80’s pop music, neon, face smashing or ‘and Toby Jones’ can hide that.
On a positive note, Charlize Theron outclasses the film she’s in and McAvoy hints at a more interesting Heart of Darkness tale buried under the surface. Also, the opening ten minutes have a great comic book feel but, alas, the film is intent on not being its own thing and jettisons this in favour of uncomfortably sitting somewhere between John and Jason, unable to mesh the two together.