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Charlize Theron hunts for clues in neon-drenched Berlin

Charlize Theron's on explosive form in this action-packed thrill ride. 4/5 stars

She plays an MI6 agent in Berlin just before the fall of the wall in 1989, hunting for a missing list of all the spies in the city.

Her mission is fiendishly tangled, fraught with double and possibly even triple crosses. She can trust no one. Not James McAvoy's sleazy, self-serving MI6 station chief, slinky French spy Sofia Boutella and Eddie Marsan's nervy Stasi defector.

Director David Leitch gives the action a thrilling brutality with his remorseless fight scenes that leave the antagonists bloody, bruised and panting for breath. We're left breathless, too, by it all.

Theron's remarkable heroine really makes us gasp, whether slinking though Berlin's neon-drenched bars and clubs, pursuing contacts and clues, or showing her ruthless streak in combat, she really does have what it takes when it comes to being badass – and you really will believe she can take out a roomful of opponents armed only with a length of hose.

A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.