Atomic Blonde

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Atomic Blonde Movie Poster Image
Powerful woman at core of stylish, very violent spy story.
  • R
  • 2017
  • 115 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 13 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 5 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The main message seems to be not to trust anybody -- and that spies can never get close to anyone.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Lorraine isn't wholly admirable, given that she kills without consequence and lies, but she's certainly a strong female character who more than holds her own against her opponents -- and in comparison to similar male characters in other movies. Some diversity in supporting cast.

Violence

Violence is extremely intense and frequent, albeit unrealistic. Guns and shooting. Multiple stabbings. Blood sprays and spurts. Ambushes, tons of fights (some brutal). Punching, kicking, bashing with blunt objects. Car chases and crashes. A man is stabbed in the face with a set of keys; they dangle from his cheek, tingling. Drowning. Strangling.

Sex

Several brief scenes of partial nudity (a woman is shown topless; her bare bottom is also seen). A man wakes up naked in bed with three naked women. Two characters have fairly intense sex, with naked bottoms and grinding.

Language

Many uses of "f--k" and "f---ing." Also "c--t," "c--ksucker," "pr--ks," "s--t," "damn," "ass," "crap," "hell," "bollocks," and "buggered." 

Consumerism

Stolichnaya vodka featured regularly. Jack Daniels, too.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Main character regularly drinks Stolichnaya vodka, but she never seems drunk. She also takes pills (for pain?) in one scene. Another character favors Jack Daniels but also never seems drunk. Characters smoke regularly.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Atomic Blonde is a spy film set in the late '80s and that it's intensely violent, with lots and lots of fighting. It's similar to John Wick but with a woman (Charlize Theron) as the main character. Teens may well be interested, but be ready for mature content of every stripe. Characters shoot and stab each other, blood spurts and sprays, and there are dead bodies, car chases/crashes, people getting strangled and bashed with blunt objects, and much more. There's brief but repeated partial nudity (a woman's bare breasts and bottom are seen), a man is shown in bed with three women, and two women have fairly graphic sex. Language includes "f--k," "c--ksucker," and "s--t." Stolichnaya vodka is featured prominently, and the main character drinks it frequently, though she never seems drunk. There's also frequent smoking. While the main character is unquestionably equal to her male counterparts, she also kills without consequence and lies, making her a complicated (at best!) role model.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byDJSUTT0N July 26, 2017

Can't be compared to John wick or baby driver

Common sense media completely miss fires for this review as according to them this movie is either just as good/as terrible as John wick/baby driver which is wh... Continue reading
Adult Written byHelen M. July 27, 2017

DEFINITELY not for kids...or anyone with a weak stomach...

Since female leads who actually bear the scars of their profession, and fight more like their male counterparts are a rarity in the action movie genre, its unfo... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byHarleyQuinn August 2, 2017

It all depends on the maturity or your child

I am thirteen years old and at some points the violence did seem a bit excessive but I was OK. Personally I am very mature for my age so I might not recommend i... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byTom04 January 2, 2018

Bloody great fun

This is a Cold War thriller I thought that this was a lot of fun. There parts to the story which are quite complicated. The age for 12 and up is that the violen... Continue reading

What's the story?

In ATOMIC BLONDE, bruised MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) meets with her superiors to tell the story of her most recent mission. It's 1989 in Berlin, just before the wall comes down, and a secret agent has been caught and killed. He had a list with the names and sensitive information of every MI6 agent; it has presumably been stolen by the killer. Lorraine is sent to Berlin to meet with David Percival (James McAvoy) and find the list. There are many complications, including the presence of a man called Spyglass (Eddie Marsan) who has memorized the list, as well as a mysterious woman (Sofia Boutella) who seems to be following Lorraine. And perhaps even Percival can't be trusted. There are many fights and chases, but the question remains: Who's the double agent who's been leaking MI6 information?

Is it any good?

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

Movie details

For kids who love action and thrills

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