Starring Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, John Goodman, Toby Jones

Three years ago two stunt directors came together to make John Wick. The stylish, narratively simple, stunt-heavy film was a hit, breathing life into the American action genre which had become complacent over the years. One of these directors, Chad Stahelski, went on to make John Wick 2, an even better action flick; in fact, probably the best American action flick over the past ten years. The other director, David Leitch, made Atomic Blonde. Like John Wick, it’s heavily stylized, with outstanding fight choreography and camerawork. Unlike John Wick, it has a challenging, sometimes convoluted plot that is alternately intriguing, confounding, and distracting. Set in the ’80s East Germany, agents from all over compete for an informant’s top secret information. Spying for the British, Charlize Theron is told to also be on the look out for a British rat as she teams up with the roguish James McAvoy. There’s a fight sequence in the middle, more towards the end, that is stunning. It’s handled in what appears to be one long, impressive take over a stairwell and ending in a car chase. That scene is masterful. The soundtrack is full of cliché choices for ’80s music that all somehow still works tremendously. Theron is excellent. The pacing is possibly too slow at times for an action movie, but overall, this was a strong film. Better than the first John Wick film, although not as great as the second.

 

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