More stripped-down action thrillers is a good thing; more opportunities for women to lead those thrillers, also good. But what sounds good in theory only carries things so far in this graphic novel adaptation about MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) trying to track down a valuable list of covert agents in 1989 Berlin. Veteran stunt coordinator and John Wick contributor David Leitch directs with a clean focus during long-take fight sequences, a sense of restraint that might have served him when choosing his on-the-nose 1980s needle-drops. As viscerally effective as the movie is, however—flashing back to how Lorraine earned every bruise and cut we see at the story’s outset—Theron never quite becomes the same charismatic center she provided for Mad Max: Fury Road, leaving James McAvoy’s high-strung maybe-an-ally-maybe-not to do much of the heavy lifting. The framework of violent Cold War espionage ultimately seeming futile as the Berlin Wall prepares to fall over-complicates the narrative needlessly, when all we really need is the forward momentum of a badass doing what we come to see badasses do.
Director: David Leitch
Producer: Charlize Theron, A.J. Dix, Beth Kono, Kelly McCormick, Eric Gitter, Peter Schwerin, Nick Meyer, Marc Schaberg, Joe Nozemack, Steven Scavelli, Ethan Smith, David Guillod and Kurt Johnstad
Cast: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, Eddie Marsan, John Goodman, Toby Jones, James Faulkner, Roland Møller, Sofia Boutella, Bill Skarsgård, Sam Hargrave, Jóhannes Jóhannesson, Til Schweiger and Barbara Sukowa