Published on June 30th, 2003 | by Erich Becker0
Review: Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle
The original Charlie’s Angel blasted on to the scene in November 2000 and popped the box office for $40.1 million dollars. Not a bad sum for a remake of a 1970’s TV show and director McG’s first gig. Now the angels are back in Full Throttle a movie that promised to be bigger, faster, sexier, and better than the original which set the precedents for campy action movies. Unfortunately it doesn’t appear as though the new film is firing on all cylinders.
Charlie’s Angels was a cheesy action movie that featured over the top stunts, post-Matrix slow motion martial arts, and a story that caused a major disassociation from reality, but it had charm. Full Throttle tries to embark on the sequel road by taking everything that work from the first film and building upon it, but some of the stuff that they believe worked didn’t need a 10 minute exposé. McG tries really hard to rekindle the magic felt in the original, but most of the time he goes too far resorting to dance numbers and far too many excuses for the girls to dress up in skimpy clothing and defy the laws of physics.
The story begins in Mongolia where the angels have been entrusted to rescue Ray Carter (Robert Patrick) one of two men holding the keys to the Witness Protection Program. The movie plays out from here as a cheesy knock off of the original Mission Impossible where undercover agents (here, protected witnesses) could be exposed if the keys fell into the wrong hands. When Natalie (Cameron Diaz), Dylan (Drew Barrymore), Alex (Lucy Liu), and Bosley (Bernie Mac) are confronted with a new problem associated with the keys (which happen to be titanium rings) the trail leads them to a man from Dylan’s past, Thin Man (Crispin Glover), and fallen angel Madison (Demi Moore).
Through the thinly laced plot McG does offer some awesome visuals and fight sequences that boggle the mind, while entertain it. Let it be known, Full Throttle isn’t a thinking man’s movie, in fact watching it could actually cause your IQ to diminish, but to see scantily clad females washing cars and dancing around in Pussycat outfits would you give up a few brain cells?
The best part of the film is Bernie Mac’s Bosley which offers up both the comic relief and highest caliber acting, and while I respect Bernie Mac’s talents, that isn’t saying a whole lot. At best the film is a glorified music video, making former vid director McG feel right at home. And while I like slow motion action as much as the next guy, being a devoted fan of McG’s “Fastlane,” some of the stunt work in Full Throttle appears to hamper the progression of the film more than ease it along. The first hour plays out, as the angels try and locate the rings, as nothing more than a series of clips with blaring rock music and shameless cameos from Bruce Willis, the Olsen Twins, and Pink (who is never allowed in a movie again).
The most hyped point of the entire film is the return of Demi Moore, but she is in the film for nearly 15 minutes tops and looks as though the F/X buffs at ILM couldn’t quite get that skin looking natural enough. Hulk jokes aside, her role in the film is minor at best and only seems to serve as a gateway for something to go on her resume this century.
Full Throttle isn’t anywhere near a bad film, but the charm and fun set up by the first are sorely lacking in this cash-cow-beating follow-up which seems to appeal to something other than your brain. I’m all for leading ladies in action roles where they can kick ass but three spontaneous dance numbers, a very limited two minute appearance by Thin Man (one of the shinning parts of both films), and a general lack of anything but a cliché ploy to get women to remove clothes hurts the standing of the film as a campy, yet enjoyable experience. You know you want to see it for certain reasons, and you will love what is in there, but when you stand back and take another look the only thing passing through your mind is where the thing is you use to dig food, and that can’t be good.