An undercover MI6 agent is sent to Berlin during the Cold War to investigate the murder of a fellow agent and recover a missing list of double agents.
Genre : Action/Thriller
Country : Germany/Sweden/USA
Charlize Theron : Lorraine Broughton
James McAvoy : David Percival
John Goodman : Emmett Kurzfeld
My opinion on “Atomic Blonde”
“You know those movies where the picture just starts to slow down…
Then catch fire?
Well… that’s Berlin.”
What was the overall feeling after watching “Atomic Blonde“? For me it was a mixture of confusion and excitement at the same time. Confusion because of the complex story with a multitude of twists and spy related mumbo jumbo. To be honest, I always have that with this kind of movies. So you can assume that I’m not a big fan of espionage movies. Not even James Bond movies. Even though these story lines are rather straightforward and simplistic in my eyes. “Atomic Blonde” on the other hand is in a different league. At a certain point I didn’t know anymore what was going on and what role the main characters played. I even forgot the main goal. The only things I still could reimagine in the end, were the fierce action scenes and the appetizing looking curves of Charlize Terron. Should all female spies in a movie use the same wardrobe as Terron did here, I instantly would become a fervent fan of this genre. There’s nothing so exciting as a blonde shrew, wearing sensual knee-length boots and sexy suspenders, who gives her male opponents a solid kick in their glockenspiel.
The one responsible for putting together the playlist, is a genius.
Guess what. I was more excited about the soundtrack used here. Perhaps this was disruptive to some but personally I thought this was pleasant addition. Well, maybe it’s because I’m a hard-core fan of music from the 80’s. And I’m not talking about boysbands or disco music, but the underground and alternative kind of music. Unfortunately, they had to choose the most annoying song from the entire Neue Deutsche Welle repertoire. During that period I often wished for Nena to disappear with her 99 air balloons beyond the horizon. It would have been way better to include “Stunde des Glücks” from Fehlfarben or “Schlachtet!” From Grauzone. But besides this weak moment, I was pleasantly surprised to hear “Cities in dust” from Siouxsie & the Banshees, “Cat People” by David Bowie and “I ran” from A flock or seagulls. In terms of mood, this musical framework certainly made for a positive feeling. In retrospect, I’ll remember this playlist more than the movie itself.
Spies and ultra-secret lists. Not a healthy combination.
It’s all about an ultra-secret list (hidden in a wristwatch) with names of spies who are actively working in the Soviet Union doing … uh … I suppose spy-work. The entire film is situated in dark Berlin of the 80’s, where the ultimate symbol of the cold war still stands. The Berlin wall. It’s in the shadow of this gray decor where this spy movie takes place. In this post-war city, Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) tries to get the list back together with colleague spy David Percival (James McAvoy), who has his own agenda apparently. The fact there are other sharks in this spy-pond who are interested in getting that list, is something Lorraine experiences real soon. The entire story is displayed in flashback mode. The whole story is being told by Lorraine during a debriefing in the presence of Eric Gray (Toby Jones), some superior at MI6, and Emmett Kurzfeld (John Goodman) from the C.I.A. What follows are some badass action sequences that’ll thrill you. Unfortunately, these impressive, action-filled scenes are no guarantee to make it a memorable movie .
A limited number of action scenes, but they are sublime choreographed.
Perhaps it was the intention to make a female “John Wick” spin-off. But unlike the latter, where action scenes followed eachother in a breathtaking pace, this movie only contains three (sublime choreographed) violent and action-packed scenes. First the German Polizei notices that the colour of their green uniforms is replaced by the colour of emerging bruises and dripping blood. And as icing on the cake you’ll be presented with a damn elongated scene where KGB agents are being banged up pretty bad. Next you’ll see an intense car chase across Berlin. And then you’ll get a plot twist involving double agents and counterespionage shizzle. And that’s where I suddenly lost the thread. To be honest, that’s it in a nutshell. Even the lesbian it’s-supposed-to-be-a-hot scene wasn’t interesting enough to get me ecstatic. In my view, this was added just so the presence of Delphine Lasalle (Sofia Boutella) seemed functional again.
Nope, it’s not the female “John Wick”.
In terms of acting, it was quite all right, although Charlize Theron impressed me more as Furiosa in “Mad Max: Fury Road“. James McAvoy was sublime. But then again, I thought he was more convincing as the guy with a split personality in “Split“. Eddie Marsan, John Goodman and Toby Jones complete the rest of the cast and showed once again their acting skills. But despite the brilliant acting, the violent and furious action, the atmospheric images and a soundtrack which made me feel young again, I thought the storyline was incoherent, quite inconsistent and superfluous. You can’t call it the counterpart of “John Wick“. And for those who say this film is amazing because of the fact that it’s an action movie with a female action heroine in it, I suggest to look up these movies and rewatch them : “Alien“, “Terminator“, “Salt” or “Kill Bill“. You’ll also see an action heroine with giant cajones, who’s filletting the other sex (or species) without blinking an eye. But still, highly recommended.
My rating 6/10
Links : IMDB
The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard | Review
The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is everything you’d want from a big summer blockbuster action-comedy. There’s plenty of gunfights and car chases and Samuel L. Jackson’s dropping f-bombs like there’s no tomorrow. Whilst the plot is a bit ridiculous, and it moves at such a fast pace that you’ve probably got whiplash by the end of it The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is a really entertaining and fun film. It’s the sort of thing you can watch and switch your brain off for a few hours and just enjoy.
When The Hitman’s Bodyguard was first released in 2017, I don’t think there was anyone desperately calling out saying they needed a sequel but in all honestly, the follow-up is better than the first film. Everything‘s bigger this time around- including the title which is now a real mouthful! The stakes have heightened, the action scenes are bigger, and the cast has increased too with Antonio Banderas and Morgan Freeman joining Salma Hayek, Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds this time around.
Ryan Reynolds’ Michael Bryce has been stripped of his bodyguarding licence and has been roped into helping hitman Darius Kincaid (Sam Jackson) by his wife Sonia (Salma Hayek) and all of a sudden, they’re the only ones that can stop the whole of Europe from being destroyed. If you’re going to see this film, the chances are that you’re not going to see it for the plot and that’s completely understandable. Antonio Banderas plays a man called Aristotle Papadopoulos and if you can’t guess from the name alone, he’s the utterly ridiculous, over-the-top evil mastermind. But much like everything else in this film which is incredibly OTT, we don’t necessarily care much about his plan and the stakes don’t really feel very real, but it all still unfolds in a really entertaining way.
The film is quite generic, with Ryan Reynolds playing his usual wise-cracking self and Samuel L. Jackson probably swearing more times than there are minutes in the film but the reason why it all works and you can forgive its misgivings is because it’s funny and it’s entertaining. Granted there were no stand-out jokes or lines that will still have you laughing in the car on the way home, and overall the film is generic and somewhat forgettable, but being sat there in the cinema in the moment, you can’t help but have an absolute blast of a time.
The fim’s pretty relentless in its pacing as it picks you up right at the start and doesn’t let go until the very end. It moves so quickly from one action scene to another as we journey around Italy waiting to see in which city the next destructive shootout will take place in. It’s quite shocking that the film’s only 100 minutes long because by the end, it certainly feels like a lot more has happened because of how quickly the film moves.
The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard won’t win any Oscars- unless they introduce a new one for most swearing- and it doesn’t break new ground for action comedies but it’s great fun. It’s full of laughs, swearing, explosions and just about everything you’d want from a summer blockbuster. It’s better than the first film and I really hope we see these characters again soon because it’s a really solid formular for a great time.
The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard is in cinemas now.
Infinite | A Michael Bay Imitation Film
Infinite Desperately Wants to Impress With its Style, But Has No Substance.
Paramount wanted to get ahead in the streaming game with Paramount+ but made the novice mistake of selling most of their titles, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to other streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video and Netflix instead of…I don’t know…growing their own. With barely any content left and keeping their big tentpole releases such as A Quiet Place: Part II and Top Gun: Maverick in cinemas, Paramount is finally saying “Ahhhhhh! I get it!” after every other major streaming service, especially Disney+ and HBO Max, used the pandemic as a pretext to grow their subscriber base. However, having sold most of its upcoming films to other streaming services, the studio only seems to have duds in the hopes of growing its subscriber base. Enter Antoine Fuqua’s latest film, Infinite, which strangely never feels like something the director of such visceral action pictures like Training Day, Bait, Tears of the Sun, Shooter, Brooklyn’s Finest, and The Equalizer, but Fuqua desperately wanting to emulate Michael Bay’s signature style.
There’s only one problem, however: even if you want to do Bayhem, and you intend to replicate it as accurately as you can, there’s a sole filmmaker that can do it right—and that’s Bay himself. But it doesn’t matter for Fuqua; he starts his overtly aestheticized action amazingly quickly, with an upbeat car chase staged to the rhythms of Campfire’s Legends Never Die, with Heinrich Treadway (Dylan O’Brien) being pursued by Bathurst (Rupert Friend), who looks for a thingamajig aptly named “The Egg” (because it’s shaped like an egg, of course!), which has the power of destroying…the entire world (how original!). Treadway dies without giving away The Egg’s location. Suddenly, a man named Evan McCauley (Mark Wahlberg) wakes up from his Treadway nightmare. We progressively learn that McCauley has schizophrenia who constantly remembers things from past lives he seemed to have never experienced before. He is what the “Believers” call “Infinites,” whose souls constantly get reincarnated inside a different body. He is quickly apprehended by Bathurst (now played by Chiwetel Ejiofor) after using a hand-crafted sword in a drug deal gone bad. His “life” changes drastically once Evan learns that he possesses Treadway’s soul and must reawaken his memory to quickly find The Egg before Bathurst does and destroys the entire world.
Let’s be honest: movies that center on thingamajigs (or MacGuffins as academics would call them) are amazingly tiresome and can only go so far before it veers off in predictable territory. Thankfully, Fuqua’s emulation of Bayhem makes many of its central action setpieces move at a somewhat entertaining pace. The car chase at the beginning involving Dylan O’Brien’s Treadway is filled with Bay’s rapid editing and an over-reliance on a moving camera that always, and I mean, always acts like a paintbrush to produce a copious, almost gratuitous amount of flashy style. And by flashy style, I mean excessive use of slow-motion, flares, and explosions or low-angles during 1-on-1 fight sequences. The explosions in this film are particularly reminiscent of Bay’s pictures, though not as big in scale, but produce the same cathartic effect. One scene in which Evan and Nora (Sophie Cookson) try to run away from Bathurst’s robotic henchmen inside a buggy has a precise explosion that, in its staging of using slow-motion at a pinpoint moment, feels as if it’s been directed by Bay. I mean, heck, if the end credits said “Directed by Michael Bay” instead of Antoine Fuqua, I’d believe it.
By doing this, Fuqua prevents the film from being a total dud than it is, since the script is filled with so many ineptitudes on:
- The world of the Infinites. The difference between the “believers” and “nihilists” is barely explained in two throwaway lines that almost feel unimportant. I can only explain the nihilists, who want all life to cease existing so they can stop reincarnating themselves, which adds a weird ineptitude on:
- Bathurst’s motivations. He wants to stop reincarnating himself and has developed a bullet that prevents believers from doing so. Ok, so if you’ve developed a bullet that grants your sole motivation…why not shoot yourself with it instead of bringing the entire world down with you? I’m sorry, but we never know the why behind Bathurst’s plan to destroy the world, aside from the overly used “humans are stupid, so I guess I need to bring them down with me” line, after torturing Toby Jones’ character by shoving…*checks notes*…honey down his mouth…interesting.
These two main problems falter its extremely stylized action for a sci-fi picture that’s as smart as Mark Wahlberg’s previous tenure in that genre…with Michael Bay in Transformers: Age of Extinction and The Last Knight. Hell, here’s another thing: if you would’ve told me that this is set in the world of Transformers that Wahlberg reprised his role as Cade Yeager through a new alter-ego, who now has the memories of somebody else (through unbeknownst reasons), then guess what? I would’ve believed it too. Wahlberg’s performance is no different than his exploration of the Transformers universe: half-charm, half-cluelessness, which equates to accepting every preposterous explanation on “Infinites” as “fact” and tagging along with people he’s never seen before and pretend everything’ll be fine, even if he is now tasked to save the entire world, in the same sense he had to do it (twice!) with the Autobots.
His character progression starts by being the only character that asks questions to the Infinites, who will then explain the film’s facile and underdeveloped plot in hackneyed detail, until he becomes the hero we deserve, but didn’t know we needed, as he uses a sword à la Morpheus from The Matrix Reloaded to bring down an entire plane and fight with Bathurst in the air, without any parachute, in the craziest, most bewildering action scene I’ve seen that defies all sense of logic and paints their characters as God-like mythic figures since The Fast and the Furious franchise said “no more logic” when Dom Toretto destroyed a parking lot with his feet.
Speaking of Bathurst, Chiwetel Ejiofor, a usual powerhouse, is completely miscast here and delivers his worst performance to date with an indescribable accent that makes everything about his antagonistic presence feel terribly cartoonish and over-the-top. He’ll refine his antagonist chops, most likely in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. I truly hope he’ll return to a more natural state of acting as he did as Mordo in Scott Derrickson’s 2016 film (or even when he compellingly portrayed Scar in the 2019 remake of The Lion King), instead of doing whatever the hell he’s doing here. I can barely explain, or comprehend, if you will, what Ejiofor even attempted to do in Infinite to render his antagonist menacing…but it clearly didn’t work and made every scene he’s in feel unintentionally hilarious. Look at the scene in which he tortures Toby Jones with honey and how he tries to make his awfully written lines serious and menacing and yet does the exact opposite. It’s quite a feat to see, but it needs to be forgotten sooner rather than later.
This is probably why Paramount dropped Infinite on a streaming service no one is subscribed to, so it can be easily forgotten and buried inside an ever-growing algorithm that “curates” films on content rather than quality. While Infinite contains a hefty number of fun action sequences that imitate Michael Bay’s unmatched style, it, unfortunately, does not overshadow its terribly facile and underdeveloped plot and caricatural lead performances from Mark Wahlberg and Chiwetel Ejiofor. If you’re a fan of Antoine Fuqua, you won’t watch this and go through his previous films instead, which would be for the better. Let’s hope his remake of The Guilty, set to release later this year on Netflix, will be better than Infinite (spoiler: it likely will).
Infinite is now available to stream on Paramount+.
Netflix | Masters of the Universe: Revelation – Official Trailer
Animated reboot of the classic Masters of the Universe franchise focusing on unresolved stories of the iconic characters, picking up where they left off decades ago.
Animation, Action, Adventure
Mark Hamill, Chris Wood, Diedrich Bader, Kevin Conroy, Liam Cunningham, Susan Eisenberg, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Lena Headey, Griffin Newman, Kevin Michael Richardson, Alicia Silverstone, Harley Quinn Smith
Animated reboot of the classic Masters of the Universe franchise focusing on unresolved stories of the iconic characters, picking up where they left off decades ago.
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