Atomic Blonde (2017)

★★★

David Leitch’s Atomic Blonde is a confusing John Wick (2014) (another one of the films he has directed). And what I mean by that is that the plot is much too convoluted for its own good. Don’t get me wrong, it is still awesome, but it’s a shame that they didn’t attempt to make it more focused of a film than what turned out in the end.

Atomic Blonde is violent. Beautifully violent. The various color filters blanket the terrifically choreographed fight sequences, filled with 80s music. (murder to “Father Figure” by George Michael anyone?). This is expected from director David Leitch, as he had over a decade-long career in stunts before deciding to direct. And the way the film looks also stays very true to the fact that the source material that it was based off of was a graphic novel. It may not be as obvious as how much Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (2010) was inspired by the graphic novel that it was based off of, but certain scenes like the fight scene during a screening of Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker (1979) (sweet reference by the way!) it can be obviously seen. Then there are scenes like the fight scene on the stairs; which is a whopping nine-minute continuous shot. It feels much more realistic as if it was more from a Bourne movie rather than the over-the-top action shown prior. It was still an enjoyable scene but it did feel jarringly different from other action.

Charlize Theron kills it as the lead character, Lorraine Broughton. Theron really succeeds as playing the part of a heartless and kick-ass secret agent. Delphine (Sofia Boutella) is the only character that felt a little pointless to have in the film. James McAvoy plays an archetype of character that he portrayed in Filth (2013), for those who have not seen that film, McAvoy plays a run of the mill, wild card/crazy guy as agent David Percival. All I can say that if you have seen McAvoy in other things that don’t include X-Men then you know what you are going to get. John Goodman is also there, and just does what he does best, at least for the role he was given.

Now to get to the problem that I had with Atomic Blonde, the plot. It starts out strong as a heavily stylized spy-thriller but, it slowly becomes more perplexing as the plot thickens and then the “big reveal” at the end feels cheap and unearned for what the film was trying to go for. This could also be because of the weird pacing at the end of the movie. But a re-watch may confirm my suspicions about that being the main issue.

So basically, if you wanna see cool shots of cool violence and watch Charlize Theron wear a bunch of wigs and fancy outfits, then Atomic Blonde is the movie for you. The plot may be a bit of a jumble, but it still is just really cool, and I think that point alone counts it as a movie that is definitely worth watching.

The Mummy (2017)

Before setting up this “Dark Universe” and planning out all the future installments, Universal should have just focused on making a good film and going from there. While The Mummy was only directed by Alex Kurtzman, it was written by six different people. You can very much tell, as it is tonally uneven and poorly paced.

Nick Morton (Tom Cruise) was not really likable nor provided anything interesting other than make goofy faces and scream awkwardly. This is surprising, because Cruise has picked mostly good movies to star in in the past. But, at the center of the “Dark Universe” we have Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russel Crowe) which, while being by far the strongest performance of this film, is mainly just there to provide exposition and set up more movies. The idea that Jekyll has a museum and tries to stop all of these Universal Monsters just makes us want to focus on what he does instead of focus on just the mummy. And as for the actual mummy (Sofia Boutella), was more or less, dull and uninteresting compared to the previous incarnations of the character. The mummy just felt very nonthreatening. Imhotep (the previous mummy) in The Mummy (1999) seemed to have much more interesting abilities other than just sucking the life out of people.

The Mummy also thinks its audience is stupid. Title cards of where we are flash at the beginning of the movie which is unnecessary. If the set design is good enough and the script is tight enough, viewers will figure out the setting without needing it spoon-fed to them. Flashbacks are also provided to scenes from earlier in the movie as if we forgot what had happened. It could be because they too know that The Mummy is forgettable drivel.

The Mummy is like if they took all the problems and tropes plaguing blockbusters and decided to make it a movie. Taking the horror-based source material and turning it into the most cliched of action-blockbusters. Caring more about setting up endless sequels rather than the actual central plot, overusing CGI, and falling back on dream sequences to create much more interesting imagery than what is actually happening in the film. Or in other words, The Mummy is terrible.