Theron fights, punches, kicks, and shoots her way through this beautifully choreographed, narratively complex, but slightly sluggish action movie from one of the makers of John Wick. Former stuntman David Leitch produced and co-directed (without credit) that Keanu Reeves film; given that it and Atomic Blonde are the same kind of nonstop, action-based stories, it's hard not to compare them. But when you do, this film comes up a little short. While John Wick was tightly constructed, visually playful, and stripped down to the point of existentialism, Atomic Blonde runs a bit too long, hits some slow patches, and requires quite a bit of work to follow.
Nevertheless, it stands head and shoulders above most shaky-cam action movies with its gorgeous fight footage. A scuffle involving a yellow garden hose is amazing. Another sequence, in which Lorraine must whisk away a wounded Spyglass and defend him from armed attackers, takes place in extremely long takes with combatants working from all kinds of angles, with all kinds of props, getting realistically exhausted as the fight rages on. It's also heartening to see Theron taking punches, collecting bruises, and still getting back up on her feet. She's no Wonder Woman, but she's still pretty awesome.