David Leitch's first solo shot at directing a feature film could and should be titled "Man, Can This Woman Take a Beating!" He cast Charlize Theron as the protagonist Lorraine Broughton, a spy ostensibly working for MI6 under Eric Gray (Toby Jones) who gets into a lot of fights.


When we initially meet her, she is wrapping up a ice-water bath to ease the aches and pains of the thousands of bruises and cuts covering her body. This is Miss Theron in her non-glam "Mad Maxx: Fury Road" and "Monster" mode. Only a desperate junkie would find her attractive!


She must meet with her boss and others to debrief a mission to Berlin that went miserably bad. In the meting is Gray, CIA boss Emmett Kurzfeld (a very toned down John Goodman) and MI6 Cheif "C" (James Faulkner) hiding behind a two-way mirror. they want to know what went wrong in Berlin and why they shouldn't hang her for blowing the assignment.

The assignment was to get a list of agents from an operative named Spyglass (Ed Marsan) and bring it back to the West from a Cold War East Berlin. The mission is framed around the days before and during the Berlin Wall's demolition. Time is of the essence because if the list gets into the wrong hands, for some reason the Cold War will go on for another 40 years.


In flashback, her mission starts out with her claiming the body of another operative who was fished out of the Spree River after being killed by KGB henchman Yuri Bakhtin (Johannes Johannesson). We know this because his death is actually the opening scene - but I'll get back to that.


After claiming his carcass, she is supposed to meet her contact Dave Percival (James McAvoy) but is instead grabbed by two KGB agents who knew she was there. This is when Lorraine shows us what a bad ass she is, especially with a pair of Christian Louboutin 5" pumps! The question is how did the KGB know she was there? Could it be that hot little gal following her with a camera whom we'll meet her later as Delphine (Sofia Boutella)?

It turns out the list has been supposedly disposed of and memorized by Spyglass, so now it's important to keep him alive and get him out at he same time. Allegedly, this is something that Percival has already started working on, but first there must be several more fights and a couple of double crosses.


In fact, there is a lot of double crossing going on, but it doesn't seem to involve Delphine as she is mostly interested in Lorraine as a lover (and grossly underdeveloped as a character). But every other character has been put into play as someone not to be trusted, including Percival who tends to never be where he needs to be.


Director Leitch is also a stuntman and stunt coordinator having choreographed fight scenes in "The Mechanic", "The Bourne Legacy", "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters" and "Hitman: Agent 47" as well as other films. He also directed a fight segment for the exciting "John Wick" and unit director for several other films including "Jurassic World" and "Captain America: Civil War". So it is safe to say that he knows a little something about fight scenes - and yes the fight scenes are fantastic. Granted, over-the-top, but fun to watch nevertheless.


Not to be overlooked is the kick-ass soundtrack that easily rivals that of recent film "Baby Driver". Most of the fight scenes are choreographed to the songs including "99 Luftballons", "Under Pressure", "Killer Queen", "Personal Jesus", "Father Figure", "Major Tom", "Fight the Power" and others.


However, the details after the fights are bothersome, even if you're not looking for flaws. Right from the beginning after the agent gets killed by Yuri, his legs are crushed. Yet when his corpse is tossed into the river, they aren't dangling or messy at all! Come on, even the sit come Married with Children had sense enough to sub one of those dummies for a body! There are tons of errors throughout the film that become quite annoying. Moreover, there are so many fight scenes in the nearly two hour film, they start to become boring.


Granted, this is based off a graphic novel and is heavily stylized, but lets have some continuity. A broken bone or two would have been nice; you bandage it up and good as new right? And how about defining a few of the characters?


"Atomic Blonde" comes in at the right time as a follow-up to "Wonder Woman", but has far too many flaws to call it a good film; it's mostly just a blood and guts entertainment film that has moments...then loses them!   -- GEOFF BURTON