Review: Dressed to Kill, ‘Atomic Blonde’ Also Shoots to Kill

“Atomic Blonde” is going to make an excellent highlight reel. It already is one, in a manner of speaking, given that its strengths are lavishly violent, inventively choreographed fights that have been glued together by nonsense and Charlize Theron. The nonsense involves spies chasing secrets in Berlin just before the fall of the wall, which may suggest John l e Carré but plays closer to a dumb and dumber take on Boris and Natasha . Mostly, the movie is an excuse to watch a beautiful, deviously clever female avatar as she is stripped naked, dolled up and repeatedly beaten down only to rise again. This sort of spectacle — dress her up, dress her down, smack her around and wait for payback — isn’t new, even if moviemakers like to insist otherwise. What’s moderately different here is the sexed-up packaging of the violence in combination with Ms. Theron, who plays Lorraine Broughton, a spy in her Majesty’s Secret Service with a blond bob and a fondness for lethal heels. Like James Bond, Lorraine shoots to kill while remaining fabulously dressed to kill. This means she gets slammed around a lot, and takes almost as much punishment as she metes […]

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