“I’m My Own Bitch Now…”
If ever there was someone in Hollywood who is the epitome of kick-ass action, Charlize Theron undoubtedly takes that prestigious award all the way home, with recent releases such as Mad Max: Fury Road and The Fate of the Furious in particular showcasing that it’s not just the male fraternity of actors that should get all the explosive fun when sometimes their female counterparts can do it so much better. With Atomic Blonde therefore, the latest release from John Wick director (albeit strangely uncredited) David Leitch, a filmmaker renowned primarily for stunt work on a wide range of cinematic releases including the likes of V for Vendetta and The Bourne Ultimatum, it comes at no surprise that many could simply regard Theron’s latest as somewhat of a John Wick-infused cash-in, yet with a cast which features the likes of Eddie Marsan, James McAvoy, Toby Jones and John Goodman, Atomic Blonde on paper has the groundwork to be it’s own beautiful beast. Unfortunately, this is most definitely not the case, with Leitch’s latest suffering way too heavily from fundamental script issues and mind-bashing plot twists to be classed as a film in which I could safely say I enjoyed from beginning to end, and whilst there are certain elements which are delicious in their execution, for the most part, Atomic Blonde is a vicious let down.
Whilst the late 1980’s, fall of the Berlin era is effectively flashy enough, the underpinning of a narrative which hinges on flashbacks is fundamentally at the heart of the problem of the film, one which uses a script which comes across stinking of a seeping air of sanctimony in it’s belief regarding how clever and slick it is, and too a picture which revels in the exploitative use of undeserved levels of profanity and violence which comes across much too jarring and distracting throughout pretty much the entirety of the film. With the back and forth nature of the story much too convoluted for anyone to really care what is actually going on, the film isn’t helped either by Atomic Blonde having arguably the worst plot twists since the stupidity of Now You See Me 2, and whilst Theron makes the most of what she has handed, style alone in the form of costume design and makeup doesn’t form a memorable character, resulting in a heavy heart when realising I forgot the lead character’s name as soon as I exited the foyer, something of which doesn’t normally happen when the film has truly engaged me. Jarring more than enjoyable, Atomic Blonde is mediocrity incarnated and too not the first film to use stairways as the backdrop to a decent fight scene. DAREDEVIL DAMMIT.
Overall Score: 5/10
“I’m Starting To Feel Like Myself…”
Oh nepotism, how we love you. It is regrettable that after losing track in recent years when it comes to replicating the real quality of his earlier projects such as Blade Runner and Alien, director Ridley Scott has somewhat diminished in terms of reputation, particularly when examining his recent work such as Exodus: Gods and Kings, Robin Hood and The Counsellor. Yes, The Martian was pretty solid and a welcome return to some kind of form, yet it is still rather disheartening to think films as radical as Blade Runner may indeed never break out onto the big screen ever again. In the meantime however, Ridley’s knack of tackling sci-fi genre conventions has seemingly passed on through the gene pool and onto Luke Scott, whose directorial debut in the form of Morgan, no, not a documentary on Morgan Freeman, is the canvas to showcase whether the son has even half of his father’s early talent. Part Ex-Machina, part Terminator, Morgan has the necessary blueprints to regard itself as a work of science fiction, yet its’ ridiculous plot and complete lack of subtlety, particularly in its’ shambles of a final act, means Morgan is a lukewarm start to the ventures of baby Scott.
Although Morgan boats an extensive amount of talent in terms of its’ casting, with Kate Mara, Toby Jones, Paul Giamatti and Brian Cox all managing to squeeze in to the films’ 100 minute run-time, The Witch’s Anya Taylor-Joy takes the titular role of the synthetic-based humanoid in her stride, pulling out a performance that if served by a sharper and tighter script, may have been something of better consequence. Although the film does hark back to classics of the genre, some even made by father, Ridley, Morgan fails on some level by not entirely deciding on what it really wants to be, much like its’ titular character. Is it a horror? Is it an action thriller? Is it a bit of both? Who knows, and with the fast-paced editing of the latter act of the film not allowing one frame to settle, you leave the cinema with not only a head-rush bit with a sense of something that could have been better served if not for a more careful design. The main talking point of the movie may indeed be the final revelation, yet for anyone with a brain cell, it can only be regarded as wholly predictable, so much so that it shouldn’t even be regarded as a full 360 degree twist. Maybe a 40? Anyhow, Morgan isn’t the decades’ Blade Runner and although guided by the no-how of his father, Luke Scott’s debut is unfortunately one to forget.