"I didn't just want to play a girly spy who depends on her flirty ways", she says.
But the details that make it a real movie, a narrative you can get behind with characters you understand, are lacking.
And the action is undeniably better than just about anything else out there with maybe the exception of the John Wick movies.
Set in the days leading up to the fall of the Berlin Wall, Atomic Blonde takes place in an underworld where the Cold War is over but the conflict continues, like the throbbing of a vestigial limb. It offers a frenzied political backdrop, a ticking clock, and a robust sense of energy and urgency to "Atomic Blonde". Action fans will surely get a kick out of what Leitch and Theron have in store, hoping that the director will handle the set pieces for Deadpool 2 with similar panache. The fight scene is fluidly edited, so it looks like one continuous take, with wild camera pans allowing for different shots. If that film didn't prove that Theron is today's most badass action star, "Atomic Blonde" - while not anywhere near the kinetic explosion of "Fury Road" - will certainly make it official.
There are fleeting moments of personality shown, such as the under-her-breath invectives directed at her MI6 boss (Toby Jones) and an assisting Central Intelligence Agency chief (John Goodman) during a post-mission debriefing.
"When we do movies like this or 'John Wick, ' any one of these medium-sized budget genre movies, our company brings in the actor and does an evaluation of their ability to do action", Leitch explains. Despite being one of the most attractive women in Hollywood for the better part of 20 years, Theron projects a smoldering intensity, bordering on menace, that would not fit the typical mold of "love interest" that needs to be won over by James Marsden. Directed by former stunt man and "Wick" co-director David Leitch, "Atomic Blonde" is a cool bit of eye candy with incredible stunts and a killer soundtrack, even though it falters on the story itself. The exhausted, uninspired dialogue slows "Atomic Blonde" too often, and the movie would've been better served by a leaner screenplay and edit.
Are you psyched to see some serious butt get kicked this weekend when Atomic Blonde hits theaters on July 28?
On the Bond question, posed in a statement by her old co-star Chris Hemsworth, Theron said she's "all for it", but is fine "leaving that one over to Daniel (Craig) or Idris (Elba)". The role is based on a character from the graphic novel, "The Coldest City" and affirmatively, is not your average female hero. The Cold War is still in effect and she's sent to East Berlin to investigate the murder and recover a list of covert agents, one of whom is a double agent that's been causing lots of trouble.
Leitch was a career stunt man before getting into directing, so the guy knows how to stage impactful action sequences like few others. The movie treats this as no different from the many outings where James Bond seduces a lovely woman as part of the mission, and for a popcorn thriller, this is quite enlightened. And a nearly-10-minute, apparently uncut fight-and-flight sequence is an eye-popping wonder, made all the better for not portraying Broughton as some invincible warrior or her foes as susceptible to being rendered unconscious by a single blow. Until everyone shoots at her in an extended chase/face-off sequence, no one shoots at her, preferring garrotes, knives and insults. You are never again going to believe Jason Bourne's brutal beating in a European apartment where he finally throws the attacker off the balcony, then washes his bloody hands and catches a plane to Budapest. He lets editing and music serve as twin pistons that keep "Atomic Blonde" purring charismatically from beginning to loop-de-loop end.
What do you think of this trailer? For better or worse, Atomic Blonde is Theron's show through and through.