a critiQal film review Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (2003)

Plot: Dylan (Barrymore), Natalie (Diaz) and Alex (Liu) are back as everyone’s favorite angels. This time around, they must recover two missing rings. These rings, when put together, reveal the new identities of every person in the Federal Witness Protection Program. They need to uncover the mastermind behind this plot, or even they won’t be able to survive this one.

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  • ...this campy sequel pulls out all the stops.

So, you broke down and checked out the remake to a classic 70’s TV show a few years back, and most likely rented Charlie’s Angels (2000) on DVD. You discovered, much to your surprise, that despite the incredible cheesiness of the film (or perhaps because of it), you actually liked it.

Then, recently, you were flipping through channels and ran across the preview for Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. Now you want to check that out too, but you don’t want to actually pay for it, and have it turn out to be just crap, right? So you come here. Will it be worth it, or should you just stay at home flipping channels on the TV?

Lucy Liu, Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz seem to be even more enthusiastic about their characters in Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle than they were in the original. Maybe it’s because they get to work with director McG again, who they all seemed to really enjoy in the first film. Maybe they’re excited because the word “franchise” may be starting to run through their minds at this point. Whatever the reason, this excitement of theirs is very evident, and also contagious. The acting, as in the first, isn’t exactly Oscar® material, but it’s good enough to keep the movie flowing along smoothly, and that’s all it needs to be.

The one surprising part of the film is the immense number of cameo appearances, from rap star Eve and rocker Pink to the Olsen Twins, Owen Wilson and Bruce Willis, who appears in quite a memorable cameo with Demi Moore (seems like Demi gets to get a little payback for getting divorced).

Most of the characters from the first film return, including the Creepy Thin Man (Crispin Glover) as well, plus they also introduce some new characters, such as Alex’s dad (John Cleese). Bernie Mac was the only true disappointment, but that was almost expected right from the start, since his role as Bosley was already done so well by Bill Murray in the first film.

The plot was very similar to the first film, but had enough twists and turns (including a rogue Angel!) that it managed to still seem fresh and new. McG seemed to want to make this film even more of a spoof of TV shows than the first was (most noticeably, a long “CSI: Crime Scene Investigations” (TV)-based sequence). McG definitely brought out all the big guns on this film, making every scene into even more eye candy than even the first was. While this is good, and fun to watch, a number of movies seem to do this just to make up for the lack of plot. McG does it just because he can.

The special effects were all very well done. Some of them were pretty outrageous (and downright xXx (2002)-like in their ridiculousness), but it works for this film. Where xXx (2002) was trying to be a serious action film, Full Throttle aims to make the viewer laugh as much as possible, whether it’s the dialogue, the over-the-top action, the spoofs, or anything else it can do.

So, is it worth going to see this sequel in a summer full of sequels? If you go into the film thinking it’s going to be just an action flick, aka Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985) or <Commando (1985), then no, it doesn’t work. If you go into it with the idea that it’s trying to be over the top, and knowing it’s campiness is intentional, then it’s not too bad. With it’s range of music (from Tone-Loc to Prodigy), zany action, spoofs, and the multitude of cameo appearances, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle pulls out all the stops…to make it a fun couple of hours.

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