Tag Archive: Atomic Blonde


Before you go out and read the novel the movie Bullet Train is based on, check out my review here at borg from last year.  Perhaps the English edition is a poor translation of Kotaro Isaka’s novel Maria Beetle, but I’m thinking it’s just simply a dry novel with a good title.  Either way, for a title like Bullet Train, it was lacking in many ways.  Happily, the first trailer for the movie adaptation starring Brad Pitt looks nothing like the novel, which was an homage to Thomas the Tank Engine cartoons (seriously!).  In the movie trailer Pitt appears like he’s stepping back into the role of Cliff Booth, that badass brawler from Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (who was even better in Quentin Tarantino’s novel than in the film) So the good news is director David Leitch, known for actual action content like Atomic Blonde, Deadpool 2, Hobbs & Shaw, and John Wick, seems to be disregarding the book and focusing on what audiences would expect from that title: a big action movie.

Full of style and color (and action!) backed by a Japanese version of the BeeGees’ Staying Alive–check out the trailer for Bullet Train:

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Review by C.J. Bunce

The 355 is the latest spy movie, a team-up of agents from different nations, starring three-time Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain, Oscar winners Lupita Nyong’o and Penélope Cruz, and Bingbing Fan, winner of comparable Chinese awards.  It’s not a serious suspense thriller, and easier to compare–at least on paper–to the big-budget, all-star actress team-up of Ocean’s 8, but you may find The 355 more fun and executed better.  And although it boasts a lot of Academy Award street cred, it’s the co-star without the Oscar nods who really steals the show.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Fans of either of the three stars of Red Notice will probably flock to this latest direct-to-Netflix movie just to see their favorite star in their next picture.  But Red Notice, which arrived on the streaming platform this weekend, is another production that falls into the vibe of the old direct-to-VHS movies–it’s something you’d watch for free on cable but probably wouldn’t pay full movie ticket prices for it.  Going back to the first of Netflix’s exclusive production/distribution projects, Brad Pitt’s War Machine, subscribers began to see this trend, which, despite enormous box office budgets and big-name directors and actors, deliver only ho-hum content.  These include The Cloverfield Paradox, Extinction, IO, Polar, The Irishman, and Mank.  That isn’t to say Netflix never gets it right.  Roma, The Highwaymen, The Trial of the Chicago 7, Extraction, 6 Underground, and Rebecca are exceptions.

But how do you go wrong with Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot?  When that’s the only thing you deliver.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

You’ll want to check out the end of the first issue of Titan Comics and Hard Case Crime’s new series Gun Honey to learn how writer/creator Charles Ardai came up with the title.  Gun Honey is a new comic book series about a woman who can get the weapons you want for the right price.  The series is a mix of international locales a la James Bond, with the style movie audiences saw and heard in Guy Ritchie’s 2015 movie The Man from U.N.C.L.E.–you can almost hear the soundtrack.  She’s the latest of a long line of anti-hero, badass femmes fatales in comics dating back to Miss Fury.  And artist Ang Hor Kheng does the character and the genre justice, providing a sexy new character in a world of intrigue, duplicity, and the need for an alter ego.

Check out a preview of the first issue below, along with a preview of several of the series’ incredible cover variants from the likes of Bill Sienkiewicz, Robert McGinnis, Adam Hughes, Kendrick Lim, Jay Anacleto, Chris Wahl, Kendrick Lim, Ivan Tao, Warren Louw, Lesley Li, Fay Dalton, Andrea Camerini, and more.

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SMART GIRL COVER B

Review by C.J. Bunce

Spanish artist Fernando Dagnino (Superman, Resurrection Man, Suicide Squad) has designed the future of Blade Runner in the continuation series of Ridley Scott and Syd Mead’s future world for Titan Comics over the past few years.  Now fans of his artwork can see Dagnino take his work further in his own series.  In Smart Girl, readers will meet Yuki, a multitasking gynoid in the future called a Smart Girl, as in “smart phone” (the male Smartdroids are called Smart Boys)–human-like tools created exactly like the domestic assistant Synths of BBC’s Humans television series.  But like the Emergency Medical Holograms of Star Trek Voyager fame, the time comes when Yuki is no longer the latest, most advanced model, and it’s time for her to be replaced by the new androids and be deactivated.  Yuki becomes self-aware, and like the Replicants of Blade Runner, she decides she has more to offer the world and makes her escape before it’s too late.

Writer and illustrator Dagnino offers a black and white future noir comic that leans into what he does best–those shadows and layouts that feel like the stuff of 1950s pulp novels.  As much as I’d love to see his work in color, the black and white works for this tale of the bleak not-so-distant future.  Yuki is Atomic Blonde and Alita upgraded.  The story is tech-forward like Altered Carbon.  Dagnino’s style is familiar in a good way, mixes of Mike Grell layouts, Phil Noto characters, and the action and appeal of Jackson Herbert–the best of the modern Miss Fury artists.  If you like speculative science fiction, issue-driven narratives wrestling with timeless questions in the manner of the best of Alan Moore and Frank Miller, this should be your next graphic novel.

Check out our sneak preview of Fernando Dagnino’s new graphic novel, Smart Girl:

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Anna movie pic

Review by C.J. Bunce

Luc Besson, master of the spy movie and the female assassin, created perhaps his best work in the genre with his 2019 action thriller Anna Poor distribution and studio problems caused the film to get only a minor theatrical release, but it’s at last widely available, streaming to anyone free on iMDB TV.  If you’re like most movie fans and missed it, you’re in for a surprise that rivals many similar action thrillers by one of the greatest writer-directors of our time, including his 1990 film Le Femme Nikita with Anne Parillaud (and its English remake, Point of No Return with Bridget Fonda), and the 1994 movie The Professional (Natalie Portman, Jean Reno).  Besson also wrote the screenplays for The Transporter starring Jason Statham (2002), Taken starring Liam Neeson (2008), and Colombiana starring Zoe Saldana (2011).  So he knows action, and that’s several assassins, spies, and action sequences in Besson’s personal dossier in additional to his greatest feats, the epic science fiction films The Fifth Element and Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets It’s that last film he tapped for the star of Anna, a spy movie that’s not a retread on the director’s past work but a superb achievement, with a badass lead and story even better than another spy favorite, Atomic Blonde. 

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Gunpowder Milkshake is a title that reminds me of ice cream companies referring to their products as “concretes.”  If your product doesn’t sound appetizing, how do you expect to get anyone to try it?  If it’s a movie, maybe you need to hire a cast that includes Karen Gillan, Carla Gugino, Lena Headey, Michelle Yeoh, Angela Bassett, and Paul Giamatti.  For those that can get past the goofy title, the trailer for StudioCanal’s new in-your-face action romp looks like fun: a mix of John Wick, Kingsman, Kill Bill, and The Librarians, complete with an R rating for violence. 

So many badass women performers, we’re hoping it takes up several spots in our annual kick-ass heroines list.

Milkshakes

It’s not quite Tarantino style, but it has the lighting and over-the-top camera work that reminds us of Atomic Blonde, Hotel Artemis, and the silly/sweet vibe of Baby Driver–all good movies to be compared to.  And it features the young co-star of My Spy, Chloe Coleman.  

Check out the trailer below for the summer action flick, Gunpowder Milkshake.

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Your next shelter-at-home action movie has a second trailer this week.  It’s again coming to Netflix, the one venue reliably delivering movies this year with the pandemic still spiking at new highs across the country.  In The Old Guard, Charlize Theron headlines what looks like Atomic Blonde meets Assassin’s Creed, with a pinch of Aeon Flux, Mad Max: Fury Road, 6 Underground, and Extraction.  Consistently building on her last action hero performance to create the next, best action heroine, Theron’s new film is a mash-up of action and fantasy.

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Who knew audiences would be more excited about the next Netflix movie than whatever is coming to theaters?  Shelter at home is changing a lot of things, but one thing for certain is Netflix can hardly fill the ongoing demand this year for the next theatrical quality movie release.  Charlize Theron headlines what looks like Atomic Blonde meets Assassin’s Creed, with a pinch of Aeon Flux, Mad Max: Fury Road, 6 Underground, and Extraction in her next action movie, The Old GuardConsistently building on her last action hero performance to create the next, best action heroine, Theron’s new film is a mash-up of action and fantasy.

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extraction clip

Review by C.J. Bunce

Thor’s gotta Thor.  In the first scene of the new Netflix action drama Extraction, we catch up with Chris Hemsworth in Australia jumping off a Brazil-esque cliff with the same nonchalance he applied to cut the head off of Thanos.  Here Hemsworth plays Tyler Rake, an ex-soldier turned mercenary with nothing left to live for, taking on his next assignment–a suicide mission for anybody else that he accepts with that bravado the actor regularly taps into whether he’s saving a Starfleet ship in Star Trek (2009) or the Earth from aliens in Men in Black International.  This is another role perfectly suited to Hemsworth’s charm and humor, although the humor part is dialed back this round.

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