Charlize Theron is an action star in the trailer for this summer’s “Atomic Blonde.” Frankly, do we need to say more? But the ad also confirms that two recent, very, very welcome trends are real. 1) “Mad Max: Fury Road” showed us that Theron kicks ass, more than even nominal star Tom Hardy. And 2) “John Wick” may have officially, thankfully shifted action cinema away from lots of visceral cuts to long takes where, you know, we can actually see the action.
As it happens, “Atomic Bride” was directed by David Leitch, co-director of the first “John Wick.” For the (even better) sequel, he and colleague Chad Stahelski split ways. But it appears to be the best kind of break-up: It just means we get double the action. And so “Atomic Blonde” trailer gifts us with a good, herculean 40-second shot of Theron getting out of an elevator and kicking the crap out of a bunch of baddies — all done live, all totes rad.
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Without looking up the synopsis, it looks like an excuse, a good excuse, to let the Oscar-winner hurt as many people as possible, playing some kind of government assassin trying to stop something or other. It doesn’t matter. John Goodman, Toby Jones and James McAvoy are in there, too, none of them upstaging our Amazon star.
Of course, unlike “Wick”’s Keanu Reeves, Theron is a woman, which means she gets sexualized: rolling up lingerie, sitting astride a tub in her birthday suit, making out and getting it on with “Kingsman”’s Sofia Boutella. Was Keanu even shirtless once in either “Wick” movie? In this case, we’ll let it sort of slide: Charlize is a god, and we’re so glad she’s doing action again that we’ll forgive that the trailer also exacerbates a less welcome trend: covers of pop classics that slow them down and make them all emo. Here, it’s New Order’s “Blue Monday.” At least this one’s only slightly slowed down. And at least there’s Charlize.