Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle review by Matt FuerstThe demand from studios for sequels to successful films is understandable. I write this review of Charlie's Angels: Full Throttlein mid July, 2003 the film has been released here in the US for over a month. Now studios love the sequel to a successful film since these days they bank on getting at least 150% of the take of the original with the sequel, which is as close to a financial bond security as you get: money in the bank. But, with 4 or so weeks worth of hindsight, that wasn't the case with Charlie's 2. What's the reason for the failure? Well, it's not the content of the film itself.
Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (Which I will from here on out shorten up to ChAFe) picks up pretty much where the original left off. Don't worry if you happened to miss the original, since all the main points that would get you up to speed are touched on right from the get go. Three diverse chicks (insert pseudo-high school flashback footage here) eventually are collected by the mysterious Charlie, who is seen and never heard. Charlie is some fat cat rich dude that gets dangerous jobs for his angels, who then go out and flash everything but the nipple to get the job done with a capital D. This time around the angels are summoned to win back a pair of titanium rings. The US Government has encrypted on two rings all the location information for the witness protection program, meaning if someone could steal them and decode them, none of the finks would be save anymore. That could not be allowed to happen, so the angels spend the rest of the film trying to recover them safely for government cheese. That being said, in a film like this, the plot isn't really the strong suit, and not much time is really spent pondering the situation like any of the principles.
The whole 106 minutes can't be filled with slow-mo bouncing boobs, so some subplots are mandatory. In alphabetical order, Alex's (Lucy Liu) father shows up to spend some time with his daughter, and bumps into her on-again/off-again boyfriend Joey, I mean Jason (Matt LeBlanc) playing Joey who describes Alex's profession in such a round about way that it causes dad to think she's a hooker (she isn't?). Hilarity ensues. Dylan (Drew Barrymore) reveals that in her past she was a bit of a naughty girl, and had a boyfriend that rubbed out a few people in a crazy fit. She testified against him and his organized friends, which would make her a member of an exclusive group of people who get a one way ticket to Yuma, Arizona to "disappear". (Cue music!) And ditzy Natalie loves Pete, and they might get married. Allright, not every subplot can be a home run. Or a ground bunt single even.
Alright, I really feel sorry for wasting two paragraphs of your life above with a plot summary, since, let me repeat it again, ChAFe isn't about the plot. It's about the boobies, and the special effects. So, does it deliver on that aspect? Yeah, I'd say it does a very satisfactory job. Being the professional reviewer I am, I try to use all the tricks in my book to illustrate the things I like and dislike about a movie, hoping to draw a comparison that really strikes home with my readers. For a sequel, it's pretty damn easy to compare the sequel to the original, and I am one to always take the road most often traveled. None of that heavily wooded path for me. But, as I have reached my fourth paragraph here, and prepare to sling comparisons like Legolas lettin' arrows fly. But as I reached this point, I realize that I don't remember a damn thing about Charlie's Angels (or ChAngels for short). I find this humorous I guess, since in about 9 months I most likely won't be able to tell you a damn thing about ChAFe either. However, one more recent movie was constantly playing in my mind while watching ChAFe, that movie being xXx. I found ChAFe to be xXx, but fun, less annoying, but with the net weight of the principles all being equal.
Director McG (annoying name) realizes that his material is style over substance, and is willing to use devices that would make a rap director blush. All sorts of flash edits, flash pans, CG and bluescreening is taking place. All the stunts are lighthearted, and the props bigger than life. I think the audience all knows that evil Madison Lee (Demi Moore) firing not one, but two .50 gold plated Desert Eagles in 3 inch stilletos would land her firmly on her ass, but really, McG has a hall pass combined with a get out of jail free card in this one. The more over the top each element is, the more you can excuse it. It's like the film really doesn't take place on our Earth, but another Earth where chicks that are hot can defy physics simply because they are hot. McG and the writers worked in enoguh references to other pop films to keep the movie nerds happy, and probably wishing for a repeat viewing. Film references are always fun.
All the Angels do their thing and do it well enough. Compotence is shown in the fight scenes and the delivery of lines. The real standout and person you'll be chatting about after the film goes dark is Bernie Mac, playing the new Bosley (and again, if you don't know who the old Bosley is, you're not missing much). Now, entering the theatre I wouldn't call myself a BMac fan, since I had never seen a film nor even a television show with Bernie. But I am going to check out his stuff since Bernie really steals the show.
Overall, the standard of compotence has been met. The fun factor is pretty high overall, and nothing gets too draggy. Lighthearted fare you will enjoy while it's on, and can promptly forget afterwards, I'd recommend ChAFe if you're looking for a little escapism. In the end, I imagine the marketing of ChAFe must be to blame. Or maybe the original, with a $100M take or so, which is relatively measly by 2003 standards, just wasn't strong enough to support a huge budgeted sequel?
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