Sunday, day three of Austin’s annual SXSW Conference & Festivals, saw the world premiere of Atomic Blonde, the campy new spy thriller starring Charlize Theron as MI6 super-spy Lorraine Broughton, ready to kick some ass, take some names and get naked with a rather hot lady — in no particular order.
The film won’t make it to theaters until July 28, but here’s our best attempt at filling you in before then.
Here are the 5 things you should know about Atomic Blonde:
1. Atomic Blonde was directed by David Leitch.
You might know Leitch’s work from his (uncredited) work on another shoot-’em-up flick, John Wick, the 2014 movie starring Keanu Reeves. Like that one, this one centers around a singular assassin, but instead of a tall, dark and handsome man, it’s a leggy, blonde and drop-dead gorgeous woman.
Leitch is a dead giveaway that you can expect some killer fight scenes, a lot of blood-spitting and brain matter on walls. (He was Brad Pitt’s stunt double in Fight Club, for chrissakes.) He’s also the director behind next year’s much-anticipated Deadpool 2.
2. Atomic Blonde takes place in 1989 Berlin …
The entire film takes place on the cusp of the Berlin Wall coming down, which means you get a bird’s-eye view into what was going on in both East and West Berlin at the time. While the Berlin Wall’s demise is little more than a backdrop for the film’s real story — which centers around every country’s intelligence agency trying to get its hands on “the list,” a codex of every agency’s undercover spies — the film does a great job of capturing the overall feel of the city at the time.
We’re talking graffiti, neon lights, German haircuts of the ’80s and a boom box or two.
3. … and it has the soundtrack to match.
It’s been ages since a film had a soundtrack so epic. 1989 Berlin is captured perfectly through the synth-based ’80s tunes that were popular at the time. Bowie, Queen, Til Tuesday, Falco and Nena — does it get any better than that? Oh, and did we mention one of the film’s slinkiest fight scenes is set to George Michael’s “Father Figure”? Yeah, this is that type of movie.
4. In Atomic Blonde, Charlize Theron kicks major ass.
Well, this one should come as no surprise. Theron picks up where Angelina Jolie left off, as an ass-kicking, sex-personified spy who — naturally — seems to have a thing for both men and women.
We went into the film craving a between-the-sheets scene with Theron and co-star James McAvoy (who plays fellow MI6 operative David Percival), but while we didn’t get that, we did get a rather saucy scene between Theron and relative newcomer Sofia Boutella (the Algerian actress who will play the big baddie in Tom Cruise’s upcoming The Mummy reboot).
Best of all, as Theron is wont to do (remember Monster?), it’s not all perfectly applied eyeliner and stilettos (though there’s a lot of that, to be sure). Leitch isn’t remotely leery to show a woman get clocked in the face — and it happens quite a lot in Atomic Blonde — and Theron has no qualms looking like she’s been run over by a dumptruck. Of course, even with a black eye and full-body bruises, Theron is an Amazon.
5. And, yes, it’s potentially the coolest name for a film … ever.
So, there’s that.