Friday, 23 October 2015

Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (4½ Stars)

"American audiences can accept Tom Cruise breaking into a highly secured vault, but Cameron Diaz doing the same thing must be presented as a campy joke" (Scott Mendelson, film critic).

When I read that quote my first impulse was to reach for my phone to hire a hit man to take out Mr. Mendelson. After my initial flush of rage I calmed down and read his words more carefully. He's not saying that he sees it that way, he's saying that the American public sees it that way. Right. If he's making a social commentary he's correct. His life is spared.

Today's society claims to be liberated, but the idea of a woman being powerful is still thought of as something ridiculous. It has to be a joke. Women have a long way to go before they're considered equal to men, even in Hollywood representations. The two Charlie's Angels films offer some help in achieving this, despite being exaggerated and campy. These aren't three women who are just sexy, they aren't three women who are just strong, they're both.

"Charlie's Angels" was one of the most successful films of 2000, earning $264 million at the box office, making it the 12th most successful film of the year. So we had to have a sequel! Strangely, "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" was considered to be a flop, so a third film was never made. The reason why I say "strangely" is obvious when you look at the statistics. "Full Throttle" earned $259 million at the box office and was the 12th most successful film of 2003. It's difficult to understand why the film studios made such a fuss. There was hardly any difference in the earnings, only 1.8% less.

Critics also rated "Full Throttle" less favourably. They made remarks like "it's like a 90-minute music video". Even if that were the case, so what? Music and action go well together.

I was fortunate enough to see this film on the big screen. Back in 2003 I rarely visited the cinema, unlike now, when I go twice a week at least. It's a film worth seeing in the cinema. The stunts and special effects are amazing. They are even more exaggerated and unbelievable than in the first film, but does that really matter? This is fantasy escapism at its best. In the opening scenes the Angels fall off the side of the Great Wall of China and are caught by a helicopter. That's not very realistic, but it looks good.

Cameron Diaz as Natalie

Drew Barrymore as Dylan

Lucy Liu as Alex

Maybe the biggest factor in the films' success is the chemistry between the three actresses. They're having fun, and it shows. I already said in my review of the first film that I didn't like the 1970's television series. After the second film (supposedly) flopped it's been a long wait, but now it's finally been announced that a new film will be made with new actresses. Only Elisabeth Banks has been cast so far. The film has been called a "reboot", but that over-used word doesn't apply. The Angels were frequently exchanged in the TV series, so having new actresses in the next film will just be a continuation, "Charlie's Angels 3". Whether it will be good or not is another question. Let's wait and see. The first two films will be difficult to beat.

One last question for my readers. If you were a bad guy, who would you rather have beat you up? Tom Cruise? Daniel Craig? Or these three girls?

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