Sounds about correct.
Watched Atomic Blonde and I wonder how Kermode felt about that one… because as a piece of cinema it’s very well made, but as story it’s awful.
Cinematically it looks very nice, if a little over-done in the 80s style department. As you’d expect from the director of John Wick, it has some great action scenes*.
But, unless my brain crapped out on me, the story is an incomprehensible mess of double/triple/quadruple-crosses (and not in a good way) where we have no idea who is doing what and why, and so even the twists/crosses don’t land because if it’s not that shocking when it turns out that A wasn’t actually working for B, but actually for C when I thought A was working for D anyway.
Plus, I haven’t actually sat down and worked it out, but i can’t imagine that the plot actually makes any sense when you do know who is working for who.
*Back to the action scenes. Knowing it was from the director of John Wick might have colored my expectations a bit, but there’s not actually as much action as I was expecting. There are a couple of short hard fights near the beginning, but they don’t stand out above other shows, movies (except having a female protagonist).
There’s a John-Wick-ish gun fight near the end, but it’s short.
However there is a ridiculously awesome brutal one-shot take fight (involving a stairwell of course) in the middle of the movie that basically makes the entire movie worthwhile. (in the same way the one-shot stairwell fight in Daredevil S2 saved that season).
I assume there’s some CGi/editing trickery in there as I can’t see how they could have actually done it all in one take.
Charlize Theron is awesome and very game as usual.
Oddly, it made me appreciate the “Bad guys killed my dog” approach of John Wick, as imho the film would have benefited from dumping all the complex cross-plotting and flashback stuff and just being a simple “Bad guys killed my boyfriend and I’m going to go to Berlin and kill them all” movie.
You can kind of ignore all the plot stuff, but it’s difficult.
So yeah, watch it for Charlize Theron and the middle fight scene.