Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle
directed by McG
starring Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu, Drew Barrymore, Demi Moore, Bernie Mac
Move over, Pierce Brosnan; bow down, Jackie Chan; step aside, Mike Myers. Your high-tech action, karate buddy-comedy, retro-clever franchises are about to be upstaged – again – by three girls. Of course, these aren’t just any three girls… these are Charlie’s Angels. Captivating Cameron Diaz, luscious Lucy Liu, and delightful Drew Barrymore are back, recapturing summer-blockbuster big screens with Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle – a sequel that’s bigger, faster and funnier than its audacious predecessor.
Full Throttle plays like a feature-length Victoria’s Secret commercial, with a little action thrown in. Sorry, make that non-stop action – from frame one, the audience is treated to samplings of Xtreme motorcross, surfing, and street luge; toss in enough kung fu for three martial arts flicks and a two-film supply of vintage and exotic automobiles, and the audience is riveted to their seats for more than 90 minutes.
Amazingly, returning director McG didn’t forget to include a semblance of a plot amongst the stunt choreography. Full Throttle begins with Natalie Cook (Diaz), Alex Munday (Liu), and Dylan Sanders (Barrymore) rescuing U.S. Marshal Ray Carter (Robert Patrick – X-Files, T2), from a Northern Mongolian bar/bad-guy hangout. It’s soon learned that a criminal mastermind has stolen two code rings that, when placed together, reveal the aliases of everyone in the Federal witness-protection program.
Carter and his boss (played by Robert Forster), recruit the Angels – who have a new “Bosley” (scene-stealing Bernie Mac) – to help recover the rings – and the jiggly trio go to work.
The storyline is at its knee-slapping best when Cook, Munday and Sanders go undercover – and Diaz, Liu and Barrymore seem to be having the time of their lives playing dockyard welders, dirt-bike racers, burlesque dancers, and CSI-spoofing criminologists, among other disguises. While on one of these undercover missions, surfer-girl Cook encounters her hero, former Angel Madison Lee (sexy-as-ever Demi Moore). The bikinied pair’s display of super-gratuitous t&a is of the harmless, tongue-in-cheek variety that flavors Full Throttle like a touch of tabasco on the barbecue – and is an essential ingredient in this movie’s winning formula.
Other vital elements in adapting the ’70s TV hit to the big screen are well-placed cameos, great supporting roles, and fantastic music. Carrie Fisher and Bruce Willis are just two of the stars who put in an afternoon’s work; John Cleese is superb as Munday’s befuddled father; Justin Theroux’s portrayal of Irish-mob baddie (and Sanders’ old flame) Seamus O’Grady is menacing at the Cape Fear level; perfectly-paired Matt LeBlanc and Luke Wilson return as Cook’s and Munday’s boyfriends. Another returning character is the mysterious, hair-obsessed, sword-wielding assassin, Thin Man (the even-more-bizarre-in-real-life Crispin Glover, in a role that must have been written for him).
The movie’s inspired soundtrack borrows a bit from almost every genre, shamelessly and seamlessly weaving such classics as Andy Gibb’s “I Just Want To Be Your Everything” Donna Summer’s “Last Dance,” and Journey’s “Any Way You Want It” with ultra-hip numbers like the B-52s’ “Planet Claire” and Prodigy’s “Firestarter,” peaking with Edwyn Collins’ swaggering “A Girl Like You” played in its entirety as the story approaches its climax.
Indeed, the masterfully, frenetically-paced Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle works at every level. Its curves and sexual inneundo will titillate the boys, and the Barrymore-Diaz-Liu girl-power trifecta will have ladies of every age wanting to shout “Yeah!” at the screen. Sure, the excellently-filmed action is implausible at best, and much of the acting is well over-the-top. However, no one watching this film will care in the slightest – for Full Throttle is a really fun movie, a thrill ride with the kind of feel-good aura that makes its passengers want to buy another ticket.