Right from the start, David Leitch’s Atomic Blonde wants you to know it’s not for the faint-hearted. A high-stakes, action-thriller set in East Berlin in 1989, it doesn’t shy from Tarantino-esque violence, deadly triumphs, or heart-pumping action sequences, with a rousing soundtrack to match.

Though set amidst the turmoil of the Cold War, the adaptation of Antony Johnston and Sam Hart’s 2012 graphic novel, The Coldest City, passes on political or social commentary, more interested in the murky and complex spy games taking place behind-the-scenes.

Charlize Theron plays a top-level M16 spy named Lorraine Broughton, tasked to find a list of double agents being smuggled into the West on the eve of the Berlin Wall’s collapse.

Slick, calculated, ruthless and savage, she forms an uneasy alliance with Berlin station chief David Percival (James McAvoy) to take down a threat that endangers the Western world. Both Lorraine and David are compelling, captivating characters, and the actors’ performances are flawless.

Part of the film’s power is that Leitch doesn’t overplay his hand: he brings it to life with graphic novel-like visuals but keeps the plot simple and straightforward. He has a strong sense of what the audience wants from this sort of movie — vibrant colours and killer tunes — creating a film for the ages.

Atomic Blonde is not an ordinary action film. Raw and realistic, Atomic Blonde possesses some of the best action scenes to grace our screens. However, some may argue that what the film boasted in fight sequences, it lacked in story. In some instances we are not given an explanation on why characters behave the way they do. Whether it was intentional or not, we are left in the dark.

The soundtrack, which deserves to become infamous, completed the film. Inspired by music from the 1980s, Atomic Blonde’s soundtrack is one of the best. Expect favourites such as, 99 Luftballons, I Ran and Voices Carry. Perfectly placed throughout the film, it was almost comedic how well each song was suited to its particular scene, especially the fight scenes.

Despite an amazing cast, fantastic visuals and a killer soundtrack, a plethora of Stoli ads tarnished the film. In almost every scene, vodka is advertised. At first, it added a touch of darkness to Theron’s character, but it was extremely overplayed.

Staggering and exciting, Atomic Blonde is an action film done right. You will find yourself at the edge of your seat in almost every scene. There is no doubt that Atomic Blonde is a film worth watching.

Read our review of The Beguiled here.