Charlie’s Angels Review

It’s time to look at the recent sequel/practically reboot of the Charlie’s Angels series. The first two titles didn’t exactly get glowing reviews from me so it wasn’t going to be hard for this one to win. Sure enough, I’d say that this is the strongest film in the series. It definitely does still have its flaws though which ultimately stop the film from reaching its full potential.

The film starts off by introducing us to the Angels as they take down a group of villains. It’s become more and more common for films to start off with an action scene and it’s always a smart move. We then meet Elena who finds out that her company is going to move forward with introducing some dangerous tech into the world. She alerts the Angels to this, but now some powerful people want her dead. This situation could be a whole lot bigger than it appears and the group will have to pull out all of the stops to win.

On the positive side Charlie’s Angels does bring the high level action scenes you would expect from the series. Pretty much any fight with Jane is top notch. Sabina also has her share of action and once the film’s climax begins there are a lot of nonstop action scenes. There is also a very large array of songs in the soundtrack. Not all of them are hits, but it does give the film some extra energy. Music’s a pretty important aspect in a film even if it’s been dying out lately.

Jane’s definitely my favorite character in the film. She’s certainly the most serious of the Angels and the best fighter. Jane gets one of the main subplots here as she goes up against the assassin Hodak. They have a lot of fights back and forth and this was the most interesting plot. Sabina’s the rebellious member of the group who always puts on a tough act. Her bark tends to be worse than her bite, but she can fight fairly well. Her overconfidence costs her quite a few fights though and while she treats Elena like a newbie, I don’t feel like she is very experienced either.

As for Elena, she’s not bad, but certainly a step behind the other two. The whole “rookie” personality is a little played out and just not quite as entertaining as the other two characters. Her fight with the guard is a little on the cheesy side as well since she has absolutely no fighting experience. Sabina and Jane should certainly be taking these guys down, but not Elena at the present moment. Then you’ve got the various Bosleys running around. They aren’t fighters on the ground like the Angels so don’t expect a lot of action from them, but they are pretty important to the plot.

Hodak also makes for a great villain. He’s definitely the silent, but deadly sort of guy. His skills are the real deal with how good he looks throughout the movie. He’s the best fighter here and always comes prepared with a lot of guns and armaments. Right through the end he never really loses his cool and just keeps on fighting. You can tell when his role is about to be up, but regardless he served his purpose as a really solid villain. Perhaps not quite as great as the ex angel from the original films, but very solid nonetheless. Peter is also a fun villain even if it’s more in a campy way. The guy’s about as obviously evil as you can get and the film doesn’t bother to hide it. The only question the viewer has to ask is whether he is competent or not and as the film leaves you guessing on that I will as well. At the very least you have to admire his confidence.

The film is around 2 hours, but it doesn’t drag on. There’s always something happening around the corner. It’s an enjoyable ride, but I think it’s time we take a look at the negatives. While I said that an action scene is the right way to start on principal, this film’s opening segment started off on the wrong foot. Right away it’s about one of the Angels using her feminine wiles to get the enemy to let his guard down. It’s a sad trope that always seems to happen to the female agents. While this is surprisingly not used much later on unlike the first two films, it was definitely a scene that was not needed. I’d go as far as to say that the first scene is the worst one in the film.

Beyond that, the film actively goes out of its way to make the Angels look bad at times. They mess up on the missions very frequently even if they act as if they had won. The first scene is an example of this as Sabina manages to tie up the villain…only to dramatically free him so she can get a good punch in. Naturally this leads to him overpowering her and getting his second wind. At another point Sabina has someone at gun point and tells him not to move. The guy naturally reaches in his pocket and takes out a bomb which knows Sabina back and he escapes. She loses consistently throughout the film and one villain ends up defeating her twice. Even in her final big fight of the film she doesn’t seem to have the edge.

I’ll cut Elena a break since she’s new. Jane mostly takes care of business although her speech in the final fight wasn’t really deserved. She goes into depth about how she’s so much better a fighter than the villain, but he had been winning the entire time and she had help. The only person she’s fooling there is herself as in a 1 on 1 the film made it clear that she would have lost. Finally even one of the bosses looks bad. I know the higher ups can’t fight, but this character was talking a big game throughout the whole movie so to lose like that wasn’t a great moment.

There are a few twists and turns in the movie and it does a good job of masking them. At the very least there was one big twist which was handled well and the ending of the film is pretty satisfying. While not everyone gets a happy ending it works out pretty well even if a sequel doesn’t end up coming out. The ending scenes during the credits even finish up someone’s character arc so you’ll want to make sure you stick around there.

As far as the writing goes, the film’s not great. While the scene of the heroes running through the villain base trolling the police officers (I doubt they were all corrupt so you’ll probably feel bad for a bunch of the ones that get knocked around) could be entertaining, it’s not all that realistic. Why didn’t the guards just lock down the facility? That would have instantly been game over for the heroes. They also acted as if the cameras weren’t on at times as they would just forget to use them. The Angels are also partially to blame here because they should have made sure that the guys with the IDs they were using wouldn’t try to get back into the building. I would have figured they’d tie them up or something.

There is also a bit of a romance here which isn’t handled all that well. It’s rather cheesy and considering that the heroes were in a hurry it does feel like a waste of their time. The guy didn’t seem terrible (Even if he couldn’t open a simple package of condiments. Yeah, most of the guys here don’t look great) but he didn’t really have any point being in the film. That’s why the writing is a mixed bag. For every fun scene or likable character there’s going to be a heavy handed moment without much thought to how this situation would occur to counter it. It can be fun to think of the various plot holes or just moments of heroes messing up as you’re watching though.

I wouldn’t consider this next part a positive or a negative, but it’s interesting to note. While the Angels are always portrayed as heroes in the first two films, it’s a little more gray here. They really don’t seem to mind murdering people and even find it amusing at times with all the jokes they crack about it. You’ll get a pun after someone is impaled or characters sarcastically scoffing at murders in the background. One guy gets the honor of being murdered fairly early on and while the film goes out of its way to establish him as a sketchy character you’ll still be a little surprised at how readily the Angel just let him perish. She could not be bothered to try and save him. Realistically it would have been difficult but it’s a bit of a running theme usually used for humor so you’re not supposed to take it seriously though….

Time for a quick comparison to the original two films. As mentioned earlier this one did win overall, but the original films did win in two areas. I thought they still had the better soundtrack (listening to their battle themes while writing this review) and the fights were better. The battle scenes in those films still hold up quite well to this day. This film’s just got a stronger character cast and way less fanservice which ultimately won it the deciding blow.

Overall, Charlie’s Angels is a fun popcorn type film, but not one that really excels in any areas. There’s a lot of replay value and it would be easy to re-watch even after just a short while. That’s because the film’s just very high energy with some decent banter. The questionable writing does hold it back though. Some parts are just not too believable and I think the Angels should have looked a lot more competent. The film seemed like it was aiming to make them look good and I think it just messed up a bit there. If you’re looking for a fun action film to check out then this could be the one for you. If you want an action title with a bit more substance then check out Mission Impossible.

Overall 5/10

Charlie’s Angels Full Throttle Review

The Angels are back and they’re better than ever…..or are they? The sequel falls into many of the same holes as the first film and it still doesn’t make for a good viewing experience. It’s hard to really enjoy the fights when you have to cringe because one of the main characters has let out another wince worthy line. The fanservice may have been reduced a lot at first, but the film makes sure to correct that in the second half. All I can say is…this doesn’t bode well for the franchise as a whole.

The film starts out with a pretty sad scene in the desert that can really sum up the film. The three angels realize that they are going to have to use their physical attributes to solve the case once again so Natalie handles that part while her partners try to free a captive. The captive trips and busts a rib so the distraction doesn’t work as well as they thought. Alex has the foresight to say something along the lines of “They don’t stand a chance” when the captive mentions how it’s just the three of them against 50 beer guzzlers. Then….the Angels are unable to take down almost any of them. They all go into their poses, but one guy takes out a gun. Obviously, this means that they should run away so they dive out the window with the guy who has a broken rib. No worries…he endures the fall.

The writers must have realized that this was an utterly terrible way to show us how tough the main characters are so he fixes that by giving us an over the top moment where the heroes free fall onto a helicopter as they dodge the blades several times until they safely grab on to it. It doesn’t look believable in any setting, but I suppose that it’ll have to do. The real mission involves recovering two rings that can leak the identities of all undercover operatives on the planet or just from the U.S.A. The villains already have both rings so they’ve probably downloaded the names onto a USB drive by now, but the heroes are confident that the villains would never do such a thing! The villains are waiting until someone buys the rings from them to make a move and they wouldn’t want to copy the data as insurance or anything… would violate the buyer’s trust after all!

Now that we’ve talked about the rather shaky plot, let’s discuss some of the film’s negatives. I suppose that we should tackle the whole fanservice part first. If there was ever a film that openly supported sexism and objectification it was Charlie’s Angels. I have to assume that the show was better, but this film quickly follows that. The heroines are always completing their jobs by using false deductive skills or just wooing the villains. Natalie uses quite a few double entendre in a short amount of time to distract the villain so that the other two agents could do some recon. It’s just sad to see because you know that this wouldn’t be the case if a guy was the main character. I try not to pull that card too often since you could probably go around in circles discussing it in various films, but this one makes it too easy. Would James Bond have ran away from a room full of guys if he was with two other 009 agents? I have a feeling that he would not, but I suppose that it is debatable. He does go around seducing people, but he typically does it for the lulz since he is already solving the case.

The worst scene is easily the nightclub one where the Angels are reduced to being strippers who dance for perverted people’s entertainment. It’s sad that they are so committed to their job since anyone with an ounce of self respect would have told Charlie to think of a real plan. He probably didn’t think of this one, but none of the Angels should have either. Remember…there is always another way. One that will keep their dignity with them! Before that, the fanservice was bad, but not as all over the place as the first film. This one had sooooo much that it basically threw that feat out the window.

Romance is always on the minds of the three main characters and I like to think that it certainly holds them back. It clouds their judgment and it makes them look pretty bad. Hitting on surfers or even the local jogger is something that you will see them do. Keep in mind that two of them are supposedly taken already. There is a really rushed romance plot with Dylan since she doesn’t have someone yet, but it just makes her look bad and it doesn’t help the Thin Man either. He was one of the villains from the last film who vanished without a trace. He appears here for a quick race (Where he crashes headfirst into a road and there is an explosion, but he gets up like nothing happened because the script probably didn’t finish that part up) and then a spar with the main villain of the film. He and Dylan then share a moment of passion before he is quickly terminated and you are left wondering what just happened. They’re really stretching it here with how quickly a romance can just start up and it’s sad. Dylan is still my least favorite Angel although I suppose that this isn’t saying a whole lot.

Seamus is the big villain of the film or I guess you can say that he’s just the sub villain. He’s got his own plan in all of this, but he’s technically still a lackey to Madison. (Albeit, unknowingly) He wants to destroy Dylan because she sold him out to the police,m which is pretty petty so the film actually portrayed him accurately there. Thus, he’s about as unlikable as you would expect. The film once again tries to show that just training a little in jail can get you onto the same level as one of the Angels. He is able to give Dylan a pretty good fight and that’s more than a little sad for her. In the “epic” confrontation scene where it’s him and some gang members it would have been fun to have seen a big fight. Seamus basically embodies the whole “One and Done” theme for villains that we see in the films. He’s unlikable from start to finish so you’ll probably forget him pretty quickly.

“I was never good…I was great!” is Madison’s most memorable lines since she’s crying and the actress was probably hoping for an Oscar Nomination there. There’s no reason for her to cry there, but she is a little deranged so I suppose that it’s fitting. For the most part, she’s actually a pretty good villain, but she shows her true colors in the climax where she spends too much time bragging to remember that there are 3 Angels on the loose. Losing her guns after that was also rather embarrassing. She is a good fighter though and I have a feeling that she was a better angel than the 3 new members. Too bad she went over to the dark side.

The main three angels are as unlikable as in the first film. Natalie gets her obligatory dance scene at the beginning where she is joined by the other two this time and she plays the seduction card the most. I could have sworn that she had an iconic line where she said “Bring it on _______” but I didn’t recall hearing it this time. It also sums up her character a little since just saying “Bring it On” is intense enough as a catchphrase. She has a romance subplot that gives her another dance scene, but it certainly doesn’t help her case. Dylan is pretty much written out of the film for a while, but her subplot is a major factor in the plot. She decides to leave the team for about 5-10 minutes because she is worried that staying with them will result in their untimely demise. What she does not suspect is that joining forces with them won’t make a whole lot of difference.

Alex isn’t great either because she keeps up a pretense that is bad for the Dad. It’s a really unnecessary subplot that fills the Dad with sad ideas about what his daughter has become. He never finds out the truth as the film ends either so he really got the short end of the stick. Even ignoring the subplot, Alex just isn’t much better than the other two. She’s still in the romance fad even though she has a boyfriend, which is pretty unacceptable to be honest. You should probably leave the team once you are romantically involved with someone.

A solid soundtrack was one of the only positives for the first film, but it was unsurprisingly changed to a more generic array of songs in this film. We even get the retro Hollywood theme, which is fun, but basically public domain. The fights are also typically a highlight and I will admit that they do put some life into the film. It was cool to see Madison take out the three angels with her superb marksmanship and I think that was when we all realized that some plot hax would probably be necessary in the climax. As least the film tried to be subtle about it, but it was still pretty sad.

On a final note, a new Bosley joined the crew here. I definitely didn’t buy his Irish scene where he tricked someone into letting him in by pulling the race card. It’s a well played card for the most part, but I just don’t see it working here. It’s hard to say whether he beats the old Bosley or not, but he actually might. He’s very down to Earth and he’s excited about being a part of the team. That means that he’s completely immune to the Angels’ tricks and the whole romance game is beneath him. His Home Run at the end was also pretty intense and I applauded his bold effort in Clue. If you’re going to play a board game, you should always be confident of your imminent victory. He was actually better than…100% of the cast. I hardly liked the rest of the characters so it’s not an immense feat, but we’ll take it.

Overall, Full Throttle is an apt title for the film since it really just plunges into just about every film hole that you can think of. We had way too much fanservice and romance in this film and the plot wasn’t very well thought out. There are too many subplots for the film to handle as well since we have old Angels coming virtually and physically as well as the guy who wants to destroy Dylan because of their tragic history. This is the kind of film that should be good popcorn fun, but it just isn’t because of all the unnecessary content. I definitely can’t recommend this film to anyone and you’re better off staying away from the franchise as a whole. I plan on getting the Gamecube video game for the Charlie’s Angels since it can help to partially restore the franchise’s rep, but we shall see. Until then, watch the animated Wonder Woman film for a better depiction of how a female warrior gets her point across.

Overall 1/10

Charlie’s Angels Review

Well, it’s been a little over 2 years since I last saw this film, which brings it up to 2-3 times that I’ve seen it so far. It’s a pretty neat concept and I’ve heard that the show was pretty good, but the film has a lot of flaws that are barely hidden beneath the surface. It had a lot of potential thanks to some of the techniques that they used, which will remind you of the good ole films, but it’s simply not enough.

Charlie’s Angels is actually one of those films that can make you really worried for a Wonder Woman or Ms. Marvel film. Let’s just say that if one of those films was like this one, it would make audiences around the world shudder. A 30% on Rotten Tomatoes would likely shock me as it could be even lower. This one is spared that because of when it came out. I can guarantee that if this film came out now it would make waves…and not the good kind!

The plot involved a multi billionare (Probably) named Charlie. He hires three women to work for him as they stop crimes that no ordinary police force ever could. Their missions are dangerous, but these women are even deadlier! Natalie, Dylan, and Alex are the three main characters and they’re all pretty different, but are about equal in overall fighting technique. (Very, Very arguable) Well, they finish another mission when they find out that a computer whiz has been kidnapped. He has created a tech that can figure out a person’s voice print pretty quickly. It’s like tapping a phone, but it works on the actual voice. The Angels must find him and stop this from getting into the wrong hands.

Now, I just have to point something out about the premise that is pretty interesting. The climax involves Charlie making a phone call and the villain stalling him to try and figure out his location through the voice prints. It’s like a GPS and using some satellites he can track him down. That’s cool….until you remember that we can actually tap phones nowadays and you can track a person’s real location without inventing some made up technology about the voice prints. So, why is the voice print even necessary? Your guess is as good as mine…….the only way out of this logic hole would be if phone tracers had not been invented yet, but I’m pretty sure that they have been.

Okay, let’s quickly digress into some of the positives for the film. It has a very Dragon Ball Evoloution feel to it, which works pretty well. We get a lot of slow motion, interesting action shots, and facial expressions that would make film creators proud. It’s hard to describe how it feels like “That” kind of film, but watch any classic video game or manga inspired film like the one I just mentioned or the original Street Fighter and you’ll get my jist.

The soundtrack is also very intense. I can’t confirm that the lyrics for all of the songs are okay since some of the songs can be sketchy, but others were great. We got some really fast paced rock/battle themes that were all over the place and it made the scenes a whole lot more fun. It’s the kind of soundtrack that would never win you an Oscar, but that’s actually a good thing in this case. Oscar films can actually have some good tunes as well, but never anything quite like this. For every good song, there is still a bad song as well to highlight the fact that this film still uses a lot of not very subtle fanservice in between (and during) fight scenes. Ah well, I’ll take what I can get I suppose!

Dylan is my least favorite member of the Angels so I’ll start with her. She’s a decent fighter like the others, but she comes off as more of a tom boy. That doesn’t stop her from using her charm to seduce the characters that she can, but it ultimately results in a pretty embarrassing moment for her. Let’s just say that you should never start hanging out with a suspect so casually unless you want to get burned. Even without that scene she was likely my least favorite, but it certainly didn’t help her case.

Natalie is more laid back, but she still needs romance in her life so she quickly brings in a bar tender that she met and they instantly made it past the bounds of friendship. That was quick and then she went off to continue fighting and saving the world. Again, I find it hard to like her at all since she needs to have more hobbies aside from romance. She danced for a while, but it was pretty bad and didn’t help her case.

Alex is the final member and she already has a stable romance going so she’s already set from the get go. Again, it’s hard to like the Angels because they don’t seem to have much of a personality beyond the romance. It’s quite sad. They are also willing to do just about anything to complete their mission so you almost start to feel bad for their boyfriends. (Almost! They’re not exactly innocent either) She can fight as well, which is good since you would be doomed otherwise against the villains.

Bosley is another one of the main characters and he looks pretty bad. One of his first scenes has him give the girls a long speech about love and how they can make it stronger while they’re basically mocking him and then he proceeds to get tricked by one of the main villains. (Naturally, the villain was female) He has enough strength of mind to tell her that he was going to keep it professional, but he still looked really terrible by letting her in the house from the start. You don’t do that when you have a billion dollar program inside and the person outside the door is a suspect.

There’s not much to say about Charlie. He’s rich and he’s old, but he barely gets to appear. At least he reminds the Angels that he’s watching over them before sending them on extremely dangerous missions. One of the main villains is known as the Thin Man and he’s pretty awesome…at first. We find out that he has something for hair and he gets a little too emotionally involved in that aspect. You just knew that the film would find some way to wreck his character. He started out as a really serious villain as he took on the three main characters. By the end, he was reduced to getting clobbered in a one on one fight and basically running for the hills. No worries…he’ll be back!

It may not sound that bad from all of that, but there is one ultimate reason why it was doomed right from the get go. The fanservice! This could probably hold its own against just about anything else in this area. You’ll get a scene that fits this description in almost every scene in the film. Whether the heroes are seducing someone to distract him or just striking unnecessary poses, it’s just sad. Every male character is presented to be someone who’s heads over heels for them. The guys just care about their outer appearance and none of them are morally ethical. It’s pretty sad to see guys depicted like this. It’s actually common place to an extent, but certainly not to this level. Even in James Bon….well, it’s basically at the same level. It’s just more fanservice than actually going further while it’s the opposite in James Bond.

An example of this is the traditional planning scene where the heroes explain what the security is like. The camera quickly zooms in on their mouth so we can have some really awkward visuals to distract us from what they’re actually saying. It’s pretty cringe worthy. It’s what drives this film down to Sucker Punch levels. Of course, Sucker Punch didn’t suffer from fanservice, but that’s another story. It’s a sad coincidence that those two films are down at the 1’s because they both could have been very good. What happened? The film just needed a different director and writer and then maybe it could have stood a chance.

After all, the fight scenes are pretty good when they happen. At one point, the three Angels team up to fight someone and he actually holds his own against the three of them for a while. It’s fun to watch, but it definitely doesn’t make the main characters look impressive. How can the three of them be having such a tough time when it’s so early in the film? Obviously, the writers forgot that you’re supposed to make the characters very likable and strong before you give them a villain that they can’t defeat.

The two main villains are pretty bad as well. One of them has a gun, but she’s still strong enough to give one of the Angels a tough time in hand to hand combat. If someone who seems like she doesn’t have that much time to train can give them a good fight….just how tough are the Angels? It definitely makes you wonder. The guy is very weak, but he knows that the main characters are always using their charms so he just uses that to his advantage. A surprisingly cunning strategy, but it never would have worked on a halfway decent character. Never!

Overall, Charlie’s Angels isn’t any better than I remember it. The film still puts too much emphasis on the heroes’ bodies and not enough on their character. Every other scene will have you looking away or wincing because you know that the film is just getting started. The soundtrack is pretty good and the actual plot is so retro that it still works despite the logical errors. It’s simply not enough to overlook this and it won’t help the feminist position. Let’s face it, we’d never have a film where three guys are constantly being used for fanservice throughout the film. It wouldn’t happen. Instead of checking out this film, watch the original Mortal Kombat to see how the film could have/should have/would have gone if the writers had realized sooner what they had done. There was simply tooooooo much fanservice here and I can’t stress enough just how sad it was. I highly recommend skipping it, no matter what type of film you’re looking for.

Overall 1/10