Atomic Blonde

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Director David Leitch has already worked on a film that expertly captured the look and feel of the ‘80s (or at least ‘80s movies): the straight-ahead revenge-on-the-Russians gun-show John Wick. He's at it again here, from the contrast of gaudy neon and severe concrete in late-Cold War Berlin, to the expert deployment of synth-y pop hits, to the slyly gratuitous sprinkling of nudity. The humor is cheerfully dated as well, full of record-scratch cuts from hot-n-heavy action to a dispassionate post-mission debriefing. And as with Wick, he serves up a bruised and bloody heap of lovingly crafted, viscerally felt, cleanly presented violence. But that’s just the structure; for the content, he’s reaching further back — to twisty spy thrillers like 1965’s The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. Perhaps it’s not surprising that he winds up with something that feels like a tough-minded drama rejiggered into a hard-bodied action-adventure. But it is a bit disappointing. Still, there are consolations, chief among them the committed star turn from a buffed and buff Charlize Theron, who makes a supercool entrance as she emerges from an ice bath and never lets up. (2017) — Matthew Lickona

Rated R | 2 hours, 35 minutes
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