7:00 PM, 7th October, 2017
This true crime film is based on the life of Barry Seal (Cruise), a former commercial pilot who became a drug smuggler, before being recruited by the US government to provide intelligence against the emerging communist threat in Central America.
American Made is the latest joint offering from Cruise and director Doug Liman, following their collaboration on the excellent Edge of Tomorrow. People either love or hate Cruise. I’m a fan, so this film was going to be on my watch list even though I wasn’t familiar with the real story. What I did enjoy was the intrigue and complexities of the interplay between the good guys, the good guys who may be bad guys, and the bad guys who are bad guys but in a different way.
For the history buffs, Seal’s covert government role led to his involvement with the Medellin cartel, which ultimately embarrassed the Reagan White House after the Iran-Contra scandal became public. It’s funny how often truth can be stranger than fiction, and while no doubt this film is a mix of both, it is certainly what makes this film all the more interesting to watch.
9:05 PM, 7th October, 2017
At the height of the cold war a priceless dossier has been stolen that reveals the entire active roster of British double agents. Agent Lorraine Broughton (Theron) is the deadliest person on the payroll at MI6 and the obvious choice to head to Berlin. Paired with mild-mannered station chief David Percival (McAvoy), Broughton employs every deadly and/or sexy trick in the book to recover the MacGuffin and save the day.
After the triumphant success of John Wick, veteran stunt choreography team-turned-directors David Leitch and Chad Stahelski went their separate ways. Chad took the reins on John Wick: Chapter 2 and David looked for something new. That something new is Atomic Blonde: a spy/assassin flick very much in the same vein as John Wick, but this time putting an arse-kicking Charlize Theron in Keanu’s shoes. Much of the same formula is in place: first rate action buoyed by a solid, uncomplicated plot and style oozing from every pore. Like Wick, a first rate support cast is along for the ride, aided by a thumping rock score from Tyler Bates.
Atomic Blonde is an absolute blast to watch and a real glimmer of hope that Hollywood action flicks could be back on the right track.