Charlie’s Angel’s: Full Throttle reminds me of the ‘cool’ crowd every high school has. There’s a dozen or so kids that hang out together in their swanky fashions and expensive accessories giving the dirt on the latest gossip. They’re up on all the latest trends and live life how quizzes in “Seventeen” tell them to. Among themselves, they think they’re cool. But that’s as far as the circle reaches. They’re cool only in their own image. The second instalment in the Charlie’s Angels franchise has the same feel. Everyone looks great and appear to be having a blast but once you pass it on outside the circle the fun is gone.
The Angels (Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, Cameron Diaz) are on the hunt for a couple of rings. Separate, they mean nothing. But when you bring them together the rings hold the Witness Protection Program’s database, complete with home addresses and fake identities. As the Angels track down the rings they get into all kinds of situations that allow them to dress in kitsch clothes and kick butt.
Full Throttle would have worked if it were a promo video for a Hollywood stunt school. But you can only defy gravity so many times before you go floating off into space. Like John Woo’s over-the-top motorcycle action in Mission: Impossible 2, director McG throws in some unbelievable two-wheeled action of his own. Don’t try to make sense of it, just sit back and enjoy as best you can. Additional bullet-time choreography is reminiscent of The Matrix, i.e. over-used and plain by today’s high standards.
Judging by his ability to hold onto many of the original’s co-stars such as Luke Wilson, Matt LeBlanc and Crispin Glover who have since made their stars bigger, it looks like McG is a director who’s a lot of fun to work with. There’s also several other cameos worth mentioning, but half the fun is squinting your eyes and tuning your ears to see if you can figure out who they are. I don’t know if there can be such a thing, but the chumminess of the cast brings on the appearance of too much chemistry. Like a friend who is never critical of you, there’s a feeling that the cast was focused on having a fun rather than making a movie for others to enjoy. The entire film is an endless mix of extreme sports, kicking, glam outfits and loud music the kids are sure to recognize. Style, sure, but not substance.
When you remake an old TV show it’s bound to be nostalgic. Full Throttle delves deep into the late 70’s and early 80’s to pay tribute to some long forgotten treasures including the mullet, Ziggy Stardust and, perhaps the year’s greatest Hollywood coup, Demi Moore. Yes, the beauty from St. Elmo’s Fire and One Crazy Summer is back and shows that middle-aged mothers can still look gorgeous.
I liked the first Charlie’s Angels for what it was: a cheeky mix of action and comedy stuffed with just enough plot. There was a lot of winking at the camera. But it was enjoyable. For everyone. This time around it feels like you have to be a part of the crew’s inner circle to be in on the fun. And like the ‘cool’ kids in school, the amusement ends there.
Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle Gallery