Retro Review: Charlie’s Angels

Explosions, adventure, sexy, pure energy and a high-octane style are just some of the words, Charlie’s Angels director McG described about his debut feature film when I talked with him. After seeing the film, I can see why.

“Charlie’s Angels” was a TV series in the late seventies and early eighties that centered around three beautiful women who worked at a private investigator agency called “Charles Townsend Investigations”.

The agency was owned by a mysterious millionaire and operated by his close personal friend, Bosley. Most of the series focused around the three beautiful “Angels” and their job but never their private lives.

In the new film, we are introduced to three brand-new “Angels” (Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu) and as the film opens we begin to see that this is a vastly different approach than the series sort of “James Bond” meets “Mission: Impossible”.

As the opening concludes and moves into the familiar theme song coupled the trademark narration, I was hooked. The flashbacks to the original series were so vivid and I loved how they were paying homage to the original. This was different than a lot of the TV remakes in recent years.

The film’s story circles around a brilliant computer software manufacturer named Eric Knox (Sam Rockwell), who has been kidnapped. Knox’s company “Knox Technologies” is afraid that their new security software will fall into the wrong hands if Eric talks. That’s where the “Angels” come in. The investigation is shifted to Knox’s rival Roger Corwin (Tim Curry) who may have the most to gain by Knox being kidnapped and then the hunt is on.

The new millennium version of “Charlie’s Angels” is a lot of fun and a great escape from the impending winter. The film’s story is a little on the convenient side as it takes familiar changes of direction through the third and forth act thus trying to build suspense and keep the audience off guard.

In some ways these gimmicks work and others you could see them coming a mile away. A lot of these changes in plot direction, in the latter half of the film, may catch you scratching your head as the film enters another action sequence but don’t forget to hang on to the rails while thinking. I had a similar problem with the original “Mission: Impossible”. “Ok, why is this guy a villain now?”, I would think.

Like the “Mission Impossible” series, “Charlie’s Angels” has a lot of good action sequences which exhilarate us. I would compare this film more to the first “Mission Impossible” than the second though.

“How are the Angels?” is a question you may ask yourself as you line-up to see the film. I liked them because they were apart of an ensemble. Diaz is a ditz in a few scenes and Liu is the brainiest of the group but if they both had more time on screen their characters would have easily worn thin.

The most interesting of the three is Barrymore’s Dylan who is a bad-girl doing her all to be good. I loved watching Barrymore shrug off the character’s rough side when you knew Dylan wanted to get into combat mode. Bill Murray’s Bosley really didn’t do much for me and I think the laughs he was supposed to conjure up really went to other things. (Can anyone say Tom Green?)

Other stand-outs I enjoyed were the vicious Thin Man (played by “Back to the Future’s” Crispin Glover), Tom Green’s hilarious Chad, and Matt LeBlanc’s B-action film hero. Glover is nasty and it was cool seeing Marty McFly’s dad kicking some major butt. Tom Green is hilarious as the vacuous boyfriend of Dylan.

I am sure when Green utters the one line I am sure people will be reciting it for years to come. And finally Matt LeBlanc’s action hero is the kind of character I would think that Joey on “Friends” (LeBlanc’s persona on the hit TV series) would become if his acting career ever took off.

Angels’ is a great escape even if it does have a couple tiny problems here or there. The bottom line is that it works and it was a lot of fun.

(4 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer

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