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Atomic Blonde Review (2017) | Outstanding Action with a Weird Plot

Atomic Blonde is atomic to a certain extent, not so much with the story it tries to build itself upon. The flick fills you up with extreme indifference for its character building part that runs till we almost reach the ‘half-time’. You wish for the real action to begin, as promised and sold in the trailers, but unfortunately, it is holed up in its later section. By the time you are there, you are already knackered by its punishing story-line, its unusual pace, and impoverished editing style that leaves you parched for some real thrill. But the good news is that the action bit finally arrives, and when it arrives, you realize it is outrageously dope!

David Leitch‘s latest is based on the graphic novel The Coldest City by Antony Johnston. Atomic Blonde is trying to sell itself as an action flick. Unfortunately, the number of times you see our lead protagonist Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) fighting the bad guys – Next to three or four times max! That’s it. The movie then runs nay rambles with Theron trying (no she doesn’t have to try) to look badass in her cool getup as she saunters on the roads of Berlin.

Plot of Atomic Blonde (Spoilers Ahead)

There is nothing out of the extraordinary that the plot of Atomic Blonde offers. In fact, what makes it really confusing is the whole setup, the way its stories oscillate back and forth in two different timelines. Events of the actual plot is narrated by Lorraine herself and we often come back to her every now and then for doubts and confusion raised in by an MI6 guy Eric Gray (Toby Jones) and CIA agent Emmett Kurzfeld (John Goodman). What might vex some is ‘their’ placement in the story. It is not intelligently crafted or edited as it might sound from the sound of it, and ropes in the first sign of bewilderment.

movie scene from atomic blonde

For those who might have accidentally dozed off while watching, I have decided to sum up the plot of Atomic Blonde for you. The story begins with the prologue of MI6 agent James Gasciogne (Sam Hargrave) being shot by a KGB agent Yuri Bakhtin (Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson) for a list that’s on a watch. The list is the name of all active agents in the Soviet Union. So whoever has that list clearly has an upper hand in the entire Spy Industry, not to mention any moron could sell that list for an insanely huge price to whoever he thinks should stay ahead of the curve.

Lorraine Broughton, another MI6 agent is ‘brought in’ by the authorities for questioning about her Berlin mission. Her mission was to recover the list and slay a double agent Satchel who has been a constant itch in the crotch selling their secrets to the Soviets.

Lorraine’s Story

The story that’s been narrated is Lorraine’s story reaffirmed by Eric and Emmett as the events unfold. According to her story (the story we witness), Lorraine is set up to meet David Percival (James McAvoy) another agent already in action in Berlin. She is ambushed there by the KGB associates of hooligan Aleksander Bremovych (Roland Moller). Percival swoops in to aid her after. After visiting the dead man Gasciogne’s house, she begins to suspect Percival to be Satchel, when she is made by West German police, since he was the only guy who knew about her whereabouts. Meanwhile, she encounters Delphine Lasalle (Sofia Boutella) a French agent who is like the Jon Snow of the movie. She knows nothing!

There is this really busy Watchmaker (Til Schweiger) who sets up meetings with agents and stuff. Bakhtin approaches him with his intentions to sell the list, but as he is making his way back he is killed by Percival who retrieves the list. Percival meets Bremovych with intentions to sell the list but is photographed in the process by Delphine. There is this Percival’s contact code-name Spyglass (Eddie Marsan) who has memorized the list and he is to be transferred along with his family across the border. Percival kills him and sends Bremovych’s man after him which Lorraine theatrically fights off in one of the most amazing fights of the entire flick. She is unable to save him though. Percival kills Delphine but ends up hunted down by Lorraine. She kills him and retrieves the list from him, although doesn’t admit so in front of authorities she was narrating the tale to.

The Ending Explained

Percival is painted as Satchel with the help of Delphine’s photographs by Lorraine and the case is closed. However, after a few days, we see a meeting being set up with Bremovych revealing Lorraine as Satchel. She doesn’t give him the real list though and before killing him admits that she had been manipulating everything right from the beginning. So right when you feel that Lorraine was always ending up getting the short end of the stick, we realize that she was, in fact, duping everybody. Okay!

On a private jet with Kurzfeld where we find him holding the watch with the list, it is revealed that she wasn’t just a double agent but, in fact, a triple agent! Whoa! That escalated pretty quickly.

The Amazing Fighting Scene in Atomic Blonde

Let’s talk about that peerless mind-boggling fighting scene in Atomic Blonde. The real talent of David Leitch as a great stuntman cum action director is revealed in that relentless breathtaking fighting sequence where Lorraine tries her level best to save Spyglass from Bremovych’s men. It is one continuous shot of an epic showdown that stops you from actually regretting to watch the movie. The sequence will make you jump on your seat. It is so good!

atomic blonde movie still

There is a certain rawness in that scene, where you feel the real exhilarating adrenaline rush. Walls get painted, Gore gets reworded, as Leitch moves alongside the demolished actors, shooting them nevertheless, as they literally rip each other apart piece by piece. It is hard not to applaud him for letting us achieve a theatrical action orgasm.

Watch out for that bit!

You can order Atomic Blonde from here:

The Fuming Questions

If you have watched Atomic Blonde, I know the first fuming question you must be having secretively at all times in the back of your head – “Who really cares about the list?” I know coz I didn’t really care at one point. And I often said, “Oh Cmon!” when the story didn’t ever come across a subtlety meter. While the creators decided to rotate an entire story around a watch that has the list, you can’t help but wonder why it is such an ingenious thing to do.

Why is there such a childish climax?

Just when you thought there was a good climax at the end revealing Lorraine as Satchel, in comes another one – she is a triple agent too. Paul Goodman, the good man he pretended to be, turns out he was just feigning it all, just like Lorraine trying to be super dumb in her tale, playing too dumb for a spy.

Then there is the question about being the smart one.

There is Lorraine’s unconvincing story you know. For the better part of the movie, we see Lorraine moving about the city of Berlin in shades, literally beating about the bush for her mission, falling in love with Delphine and doing really nothing to get closer to the truth. She is waiting for the truth to be delivered to her. She was failing her mission at all junctures. It makes her character really implausible to watch.

The Final Verdict

Atomic Blonde bores you in the beginning but when it tries to delve into action it becomes really exciting to watch. By the time you reach one of the most rad action scenes of all times, you realize you are thoroughly enjoying it. If it were not for its weird storyline and the indifference that it fills you up with owing to its yawning start, this movie could actually be called a good action flick.

With David Leitch’s involvement here, comparisons to John Wick are only quite natural. The good thing here is that at least Leitch worked on the story here, clearly, he didn’t do enough or maybe overdid himself au contraire to the first John Wick part. While a lot of people argued on the lines that you don’t need a story when you are trying to show just action, when the first part was shown, I would love to hear what they have to say about this movie where the action is quite frankly limited and the story building is just too much of building.

Check out the trailer of Atomic Blonde movie:

Kong Skull Island Review (2017) | Solely Fuelled by Visuals and Theatrics

Every era has its Kong. Following that dictum comes our very own version of it, but Kong Skull Island comes nowhere close to what Peter Jackson had managed to accomplish in the year 2005. It was an epic film, brimming with emotions, and unpredictable action. Timeless, that can never be forgotten. Au contraire, Kong Skull Island is quite the opposite when it comes to story building. You feel it rushing towards the action front, banks on only visuals and theatrics to wade through and even though it manages to be something, it ends up becoming nothing but an adrenaline shot that fades away the moment you leave the theatres.

Kong Diaries: The Primal Theme

Kong Skull Island rushes in without a good story to balance it properly on rails of sobriety. It is storming off at a huge pace to meet the action part just so we reach the fruition Legendary expects of it. Kong Skull Island is definitely going somewhere, and we know where (to defy Godzilla openly in the future releases) but you could read that desperation in it, and that’s what makes it highly ambitious. In that skittish attempt to reach an end, it decimates our age-old superhero into nothing but an ass whopping monster. But it is so much more. You know it, I know it, and everybody who has ever seen King Kong on the big screen before is well aware of it.

If you take a look at the action part, it has been brilliantly depicted. It’s what you expect a good action movie to pack in. But the frail storyline forces you to squelch your way towards all the action. What’s that, you ask? Well read on to find out.

still of kong from kong skull island movie

Plot of Kong Skull Island (Spoilers Ahead)

As the title gives away, the flick wasn’t meant to be shot at home ground (just yet). So it was naturally the Kong Land where all the action was supposed to happen.

Enters Bill Randa played by John Goodman trying to convince senator Willis to get them to a wretched ill-fated island that’s also shaped like a skull. He has Houston Brooks done by Corey Hawkins by his side who successfully convinces Willis to pursue their mission on the grounds of “something fishy going on there”, and that the unexplored could house hidden treasures which their country should be the first to exploit.

Slapped on a mission that could use some adroit help, they pay up Captain James Conrad played by Tom Hiddleston good to accompany them in their adventure. They manage the escort Sky Devils, which is a helicopter squadron headed by Preston Packard (who else but our very own Samuel L. Jackson).

Mason Weaver played by Brie Larson who is a pacifist photojournalist joins them after, and their little family thus feels complete.

A camera does a lot more damage than a gun.

The Skull Island

They storm into a storm, the only thing stopping them from seeing what’s hidden, as Preston delivers a confident speech on how their choppers are capable of going anywhere come what may. On reaching there, the seismologist Houston Brooks begins his science experiment by dropping bombs to check if the ground is hollow. That’s when they encounter a flying tree that takes one of the choppers down.

Is that a monkey?

Amidst theatrics and slo-mo enters the king, the one and only Kong. Drums please!

He delivers his fury on the remaining flyers, as they crash and split into two groups. Their last hope is to escape the island by visiting the resupply team at the northern end in three days. But to Packard, for whom everything is personal, (he has, by the way, looked into the eyes of Kong after all) slaying the monster is somehow of paramount importance. Bill Randa spills the beans to a gunpoint saying his real motive was to prove to the world that monsters exist, and that they are waiting for their chance to re-claim earth.

Skullcrawlers

The rest of the flick tries to bring us up to speed to the real monsters, Skullcrawlers thus showing Kong as a Good Samaritan, the king of the Island who is willing to do whatever it takes to help creatures in need. We meet Hank Marlow played by John C. Reilly a crazy American pilot who had crash-landed on the Island in the 40s.

I guess no man comes home from war, not really.

He tells them about the local natives Iwi, who had built walls to keep Skullcrawlers at bay. They used to worship Kong, the only God they had ever come across, who took care of anything that threatened their existence.

Marlow also tells them about “The Big One” preparing us for an imminent Boss fight of course. He tells them the Big Skullcrawler could have awakened if those bomb shenanigans were not stopped by Kong.

Forbidden Zone

In hopes to find another one of their members, the team ends up reaching the Forbidden Zone, where Kong’s parents had once fought Skullcrawlers ages ago. They are attacked by a Skullcrawler there, with a lot of deliberate theatrics to give you the feels of how tough defeating a Skullcrawler really is.

still of tom hiddleston and brie larson in kong skull island movie

A vengeful Packard with hopes to lay the simian down uses all the seismic bombs to trigger multiple explosions luring Kong into a trap.

It’s time to show Kong that man is king!

After bringing Kong down to his knees, he is busy preparing charges to blow up the beast, when Conrad intervenes to stop him. Owing to all that kabooms, “The Big One” aka “Ramarak” appears from the ground decimating everything and everyone that came in its way.

Kong tries to fight it off but fails in Round One. But in the final stand-off theatrically rips the monster’s guts out scoring one for Team Kong.

When the remaining people are trying to escape the Island, we find a furious Kong eyeing resupply choppers that are coming to help the stranded.

When the curtain drops, we find Hank Marlow reuniting with his family. There’s also one post credit scene in the movie that makes an allusion on the presence of other monsters on our planet. Cave paintings depict images of Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan and King Ghidorah, other monsters that Legendary had painted and will paint on the big screen in their upcoming releases.

You can order Kong Skull Island here:

Theatrical Hoot

Visuals of Kong Skull Island are pretty great. For a film that is literally thriving on it and being driven by it, I think its one of those crucial factors that the producers spent on plenty.

Toby Kebbell‘s Kong even though easily identifiable looks pretty badass on screen. The 100 foot tall simian is beastly and angry. It almost becomes successful in filling the shoes of what Andy Serkis had left us with. Pretty hard to beat, huh?

At times the screenplay becomes pretty good too. It keeps on delivering us lines that make you ponder.

Hank Marlow: Who’s winning the war?

James Conrad: Which one?

Hank Marlow: That makes sense.

Other Major Issues

Apart from the cardinal issue of not banking on a befitting story for us to feast on, Kong Skull Island doesn’t retain focus. Its nimble frames spoil your mood, and in that ambitious subtlety of Jordan Vogt-Roberts it becomes nothing but a fast forwarded wrestling match. It only stops, whenever it stops, to display a rad chopper shot in slo-mo or an angle that Jordan deemed necessary somehow to shoot because in his head it must have mattered beyond limit.

ramarak skullcrawler the big one in kong skull island

I think Brie Larson and Tom Hiddleston were nothing but wasted talents in a flick that only cared about theatrics. There’s no fitting stop, pause or breathe-moment where you get to actually see and feel for its characters.

They shouldn’t have agreed to do this flick in the first place. Whilst Tom’s shoes were easy to feel, anyone could have done what he did back there, Brie seems out of place too. She ends up becoming nothing but an irritating selfie woman who has to take photographs no matter how fatal the situation appears to be.

Death happens in a jiffy, without giving you time to experience grief. It’s been written like a glib with dispensable characters.

The Final Verdict

If you are planning to put Kong Skull Island up for comparison against the previous one, just a request – simply don’t! The movie doesn’t retain even an ounce of gravitas. It is merely for visual and theatrics, and to thrill you with its fight scenes, and to of course pave way for future sequels.

Legendary is obsessed with their monsters. They were promising us a monster hopscotch, and so we are going to get one. Just be patient. I think it must be around the corner.

You can watch the trailer of Kong Skull Island here:

 

10 Cloverfield Lane Review (2016)

An invigorating joyride like you have never experienced before! Extraordinary thriller!
10 Cloverfield Lane lets you get into the shoes of the protagonist Michelle played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead to experience a nail-biting gut-wrenching thriller that doesn’t even lag a bit. With a superb editing to do it justice that is all over its beautiful pace, it keeps you on your toes whilst the excitement lasts.

DIRECTION AND STORY OF 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE

Dan Trachtenberg’s fully-fledged debut is an exceptional dig into a theory that starts off a bud, only to reveal itself into a bigger plot at play. The way it slowly opens in psychosis is similar to a crime flick, and will leave you wondering if that is all to the tale. But no, Josh Campbell and Matthew Stuecken’s story is brimming with enthralling twists strewn all across per se to keep you wondering about the veracity of the storyline. It is just that impossible to see through it.

SPOILERS AHEAD IN THE REMAINING LANES

The most exciting thing about 10 Cloverfield Lane is the way the story picks up. One moment you are wondering it is an abduction, but then suddenly you see an affected zombie-like person smiting at the door. You are forever thinking akin the character Michelle, which further makes the story very tangible. A possibility that reeks of both fantasy and palpability.

Howard played exceptionally well by John Goodman keeps things interesting as it is difficult to get a read on him. One moment things seem ugly, the other fine, and then the perversion returns. You will keep questioning yourself has the world really gone kaput or is that psychotic villain just feeding you a shitload of bull. That is what the 10 Cloverfield Lane thrives on. But the beauty lies in whether or not to believe Howard, a blemished soul with a twisted head, who will do anything to stay indoors and slap judgments.

PROBABLE DOWNSIDE OF 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE

The only problem with the movie is that it bashes into an unpredictable climax something which the spectators weren’t really prepared for. For me it was a welcome twist. But I realized some people got miffed in the theater. For some it was too much to handle.

Then things kind of start sprinting and the movie loses its focus. There is little time for Michelle to grab a breath, which makes her character harder to believe and relate to. If I would have been there I would have pissed my pants, or died would be your first thought. But no, Michelle is a ballsy player. When cornered she does everything in her hands, to survive. You could say the aforementioned but then Mary Elizabeth Winstead looked a little out of place to ace those cornered emotions.

We get to see that it is an alien film that finally sieves in place as all the psychosis ends. Yes, it stands against some elite alien films helmed till date.

THE FINAL VERDICT

Whatever that little put off might have been for you, you have to establish 10 Cloverfield Lane certainly had a unique concept, a very disparate way of showing it just like the movie Room, with an outrageous stunning plot and a mind-boggling twist in the end. It kept us forever rooted. Isn’t that what a good movie is supposed to do?