Charlize Theron is certainly now one of those bankable stars and somewhat a chameleon who can deliver the goods in a wide variety of roles. Following her action-star making turn in Mad Max Fury Road previously, carrying her own action vehicle seemed an obvious progression (as long as we forget Aeon Flux). So we get an 80’s set espionage thriller that see’s Theron as Lorraine, a highly trained spy who’s given the task of tracking down a stolen micro-film containing the real identities of tons of secret agents. Along the way she teams up with James McAvoy’s under-cover agent, with the backdrop of the fall of the Berlin wall as set dressing.
This felt like it was trying too hard to be cool, minus the director’s actual ability to marry cool looks and cool action with cool music (leave that to either Tarantino or Nicolas Winding Refn). However, with Theron’s obvious presence, an interesting setting with all that cold-war intrigue and political unrest … what we get is an energetic and at times gutsy thriller, somewhat in search of it’s own identity. You see, we’ve seen this plot many times, the story is basically Mission Impossible #1 and well, Theron’s Lorraine isn’t that far removed from Angelina Jolie’s ‘Salt’. McAvoy also didn’t add much, looking like Tyler Durdon and grimacing and doing his quickly grating McAvoy-thing throughout. The story wasn’t that easy to follow either, told mostly in flashback with a wealth of double crosses, twists and misdirection. After a while it gave me a bit of a headache.
Which is a shame as beneath it’s flaws and familiarity, there’s potential for a great movie here. We do get one incredible, superbly-choreographed sequence involving Theron, an army of bad guys and a stairwell, but when the story confuses and characters hide so may secrets and agendas, I just had difficulty caring. It’s worth a look for Theron and some decent action, but otherwise there’s better thrillers out there.
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