Retro Review: Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle

Well director McG’s vision of the classic television show returns to the big screen. His breathless trio of Natalie (Cameron Diaz), Dylan (Drew Barrymore) and Alex (Lucy Liu) cascade back into the celluloid arena with a new Bosley and an all new lethal couple. Is the same old business or just more freakish summer-filled saccharine?

In the first film, we were introduced to the Angels with a crazy airplane and boat opening sequence that set the tone for the entire film. It was fun fresh and adrenaline pumped. Then the film featured the old-fashioned intro-sequence and the audience was hooked.

In the sequel “Full Throttle”, the trio is back and this time the Angels uncover a secret in their midst while trying to out-smart ex-Angel turned demoness Madison Lee (Demi Moore) and psychotic Irish mobster Seamus O’Grady (Justin Theroux).

Lee and O’Grady’s sinister plot surrounds a missing set of rings that hold the secret to unlocking the list of the members of America’s Witness Relocation Program. The rings are referred to as “halos”. How does this all connect to the Angels and what is with the new Bosley, now played by Bernie Mac?

“Full Throttle” is probably the purest example of a “freaky summer popcorn movie”. It’s fun, full of high-octane and has a killer soundtrack.

I had a lot of problems with the film’s opening moments that circle a lot around the “dam sequence” seen in the film’s first trailer. It was just so over the top that I cringed at what was going to come next. But as soon as I heard that old Charlie’s Angels music and the intro-sequence I couldn’t help but smile. It brought back the same old feeling I had when I saw the first one.

I also really liked that there were a lot more references to the series in this film then its predecessor. I really enjoyed Drew’s character’s angst toward being the only Angel left after the others had moved on. But what really made that whole storyline great was her later being consoled by Jaclyn Smith (Kelly Garrett from the original series), who happened to be the only Angel to survive the entire series and suffered through what Drew’s character was imagining. Little things like that just make a TV junkie smile.

My only real problems with the movie were the “cartoon violence” and in some situations I found myself missing Bill Murray’s Bosley. I really liked some of the scenes involving Bernie Mac but Murray really brought something that was missing this time out.

The best scene for me with Mac was the surfer-beach sequence. I howled with him in his surfer outfit. I guess the film as a whole kind of scaled down the whole Bosley character. Bosley was an intricate part of the series and they seemed to have lost his worth. It is a shame.

When I interviewed Angels’ director McG three years ago, I remember him saying that music is one of the key elements if not the most important to him when he makes a film. He envisions a song for every scene. Well the songs he picked for this film really made an impact on me. I really loved how he brought back so many favorites and they didn’t disturb the film’s flow at all.

Demi Moore’s return to the silver screen has been toasted as a grand achievement. I really enjoyed her as Madison Lee and she nailed the part. But standing in her shadows is the performance of Justin Theroux. I loved his performance as Seamus. His performance seems to be a combo of “Jackass” star Johnny Knoxville and Robert DeNiro in “Cape Fear”. It is such an under-rated performance. He was so evil and menacing.

If you can let go of the “cartoonish” violence and just enjoy the ride “Full Throttle” is a great summer ride.

(3.5 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

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