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Sunday, August 13, 2017

Darkmatters Review: Atomic Blonde



Atomic Blonde (15)

Dir. David Leitch

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Read the newspaper version of this review: The Observer

“I chose this life, and someday it’s going to get me killed. But not today…”

In the mood for some stylish violent spy action?

Good, you’ve come to the right place…

It’s 1989, just before the end of the Cold War and the Berlin Wall coming down. Top MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton (Charlize ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ Theron) must use her expert killing skills to recover a leaked list of operatives which could wipe out most of the agents in the field.

Based on a graphic novel called ‘The Coldest City’, Director David ‘John Wick’ Leitch brings some of the most brutal and exciting spy-em-up action for years to the big screen and Theron is an absolute force of nature kick ass in fine style.

'Kicking ass'

Fuelled by a fast paced twisty plot which sees a Russian killer trying to sell the list of agents whilst both East and West try to recover it for themselves – by eliminating anyone in the way. Lorraine – who is the Atomic Blonde of the title – teams up with British Station Chief David Percival (James ‘Split’ McAvoy) in order to find out who stole the list and killed her friend in the process. However the two do not know if they can actually trust each other which makes for a dangerous game.

Also on hand is foxy French agent Delphine Lasalle (Sofia ‘Kingsman’ Boutella) who takes a bit of shine to Lorraine but again – despite the two becoming lovers - can anyone actually be trusted in the Cold War paranoia?

'Making friends'

Quality support is also on hand from John Goodman and Toby Jones who are the US and UK debriefing team tasked with finding out exactly what happened in Berlin and just why the body count is so large…

Everything about Atomic Blonde is super stylish, and the ‘80s music soundtrack is just superb – from the second New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’ kicks in at the start through to use of Siouxsie and the Banshees and Depeche Mode with one of my all time favs ‘Behind the Wheel’.

'Truth or lies?'

If you want to quibble you could complain about the bad language or the amount of time the females spend in their underwear but overall this is a very strong new potential action franchise.

The action is frenetic and crunching – think John Wick at his best but female and every bit as cool… Theron has created a girl power action icon in Atomic Blonde – let’s hope there is a sequel!

Out of a potential 5, you have to go with a Darkmatters:

ööööö

(5 - Tasty action violence spy thrills - delivered in style)

Awesomeness ööööö – Some incredible action

Laughs ööö – Darkly comic

Horror ööö – Gets bit grim in places and lots of death

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Blondes do have souls

Darkmatters Review: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets


Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (12a)

Dir. Luc Besson

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

Read the newspaper version of this review: BOSTON HERALD

“After centuries of peace and prosperity, an unknown force wants to destroy all we have created…”

This summer’s latest big space based adventure is brought to us by director Luc ‘The Fifth Element’ Besson, who has made some classic films like ‘Leon: The Professional’ but also some pretty terrible efforts such as ‘Lucy’.

'City of blinding lights / 1000 planets'

Based on a French comic book series set in the 28th century, the plot sees hotshot heroes Major Valerian (Dane ‘Chronicle’ DeHaan) and Sergeant Laureline (Cara ‘Suicide Squad’ Delevingne) as a team of special operatives charged with maintaining order throughout the human territories of the galaxy.

When the Galactic Minister of Defense send the two on a mission to the city (of a thousand planets) called Alpha - an ever-expanding metropolis where species from all over the universe have converged over centuries to share knowledge and live together – a dangerous mystery unfolds…

'Shape shifting'

If you like your sci-fi of the eye-popping, wildly creative kind then Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets will blow you away. There are so many ideas hitting the screen and such a diversity of alien culture, all brought to vivid life through some of this year’s best special effect that you’ll likely be overwhelmed. Think Star Wars prequels but more exciting and richer in imagination.

'Your designated heroes'

If you like your plots ordered and your acting decent though then you may be left wanting as this is a film that rolls along on a wild rollercoaster of cool set pieces loosely tied together by some dodgy narrative. DeHaan and Delevingne look good but their banter feels a bit forced and despite rocking some kick ass space armour, they are unlikely to become cult icons.

So, Valerian and Laureline race around getting into fights and risking everything to try and identify the dark plan which threatens not just Alpha, but the future of the universe. Along the way there is mixed support from Clive Owen as ‘Commander Arun Filitt’ and Ethan Hawke as ‘Jolly the Pimp’ but the most memorable performance comes from pop star Rihanna as ‘Bubble. Yes, it seems that an alien who can transform into anything chooses to make a living as a Rihanna pole dancing tribute circa her Umbrella look – and why wouldn’t they?

'R and R in VR'

Overall Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets delivers a good time for those looking for some out of this world entertainment. And if you enjoy it there are several sequels being planned already!?

Out of a potential 5, you have to go with a Darkmatters:

öööö

(4 - In space, no-one can hear your jaw drop)

Awesomeness öööö – Strong set pieces and crazy imagination at play

Laughs ööö – Some laughs and comic relief

Horror öö – Not too nasty but some violence

Spiritual Enlightenment ööö - Galactic heroes required

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