Reviewed by: D.J. Williams
Starring: Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, Bernie Mac, Crispin Glover | Directed by: McG, Joseph “McG” McGinty Nichol | Produced by: Leonard J. Goldberg, Drew Barrymore, Leonard Goldberg, Nancy Juvonen | Written by: John August, Cormac Wibberley, Marianne Wibberley | Distributor: Columbia Pictures
This film is rated PG-13 for action violence (lots of slow-mo martial arts action, intense and relentless), sensuality (pretty edgy for the PG-13, especially in a scene where the Angels go undercover at a strip club), and language/innuendo (language is rather tame, innuendo consists of James Bond-style remarks and a running joke with double meaning). The film doesn’t really have a brain in its head, thus any serious issues are totally nonexistent, but this is a pretty edgy PG-13, especially in the sensuality department. The movie is certainly inappropriate for those under thirteen, and older teens and adults should use discretion.
After seeing the first “Charlie’s Angels” film, I was actually rather indifferent to it. No, I didn’t like it, but I didn’t really dislike it, either. The film was campy, but it knew that it was campy and played off of it, producing some pleasantly funny moments. In the end, these moments just didn’t outweigh the uninteresting characters and stale action.
I wish I could give the same review to “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle,” the movie’s mind-numbingly awful sequel. I had pretty low expectations walking into the theater, but unfortunately the movie managed to prove to me that they were nowhere near low enough.
It’s pretty pointless to go into the movie’s plot, since we never once remotely care about it, but here you go. Some bad guys, including some Mongolian rebels, a ridiculously silly Irish mobster (Justin Theroux), and a mysterious master villain (though anyone who has seen a single ad for the film knows who it is), have stolen a secret set of encoded platinum rings that contain the actual identities of everyone in the federal witness protection program (why this wouldn’t simply be done on a computer at the FBI is beyond me).
If they sold these rings, any disgruntled thug could track down and knock off anyone on the list, including Angel Dylan Sanders (Drew Barrymore). Thus, Charlie’s girls head off to recover the rings.
The film wastes no time in being absolutely terrible.The opening action sequence has the Angels escaping the Mongolian rebels by crashing a flatbed truck with a helicopter on it off a dam, falling out of the truck, into the helicopter’s cockpit and onto its wings (with debris falling all around), and flying the chopper away. The whole sequence comes across as totally and completely preposterous. Yes, an over-the-top stunt can be really fun now and then (as any James Bond film can prove), but every action set piece in this film is too completely ridiculous to be entertaining.
Action aside, the movie is rarely funny, with most of the very few laughs coming from the Angels’ contact man Bosley (Bernie Mac). This Bosley is explained as the brother of Bill Murray’s Bosley from the first film, whom the black Bosley family adopted very much like Steve Martin’s character in “The Jerk.” Mac provides some pleasant interludes to the film’s persisting stupidity, however, decent actresses stuck in terrible roles, and Barrymore is just plain awful, a fact made more painful by her role as the Angel with the emotional subplot.
The rest of the cast is a great example of wasted talent.Why a great actress like Demi Moore took five years off from making movies and came back to do this is beyond comprehension. Her character, disgruntled former Angel Madison Lee, is one of many just plain bad villains who fill the screen (along with Theroux’s Irish gangster who looks like Johnny Knoxville doing a terrible impersonation of Colin Farrell).
Bruce Willis appears on screen in a cameo for about thirty seconds and does nothing but get shot in the head. Great comedy-actor Owen Wilson (“Shanghai Knights”) turns up in a barely recognizable cameo that is completely humorless and could have been played by an extra with no noticeable difference. British comic-genius John Cleese does nothing in his role but look dumbfounded while Liu and Matt LeBlanc play out a painfully overdone running gag.
Finally, Crispin Glover (“Back to the Future”, “Willard”) reprises his role from the first film as the villainous “thin-man,” for no other apparent reason than to show up in the film’s last twenty minutes and provide us with the absolute worst scene in the movie.
All this is wrapped up in a climactic action sequence that is—you guessed it—flat out ridiculous. “Full Throttle” is just plain terrible. The film actually made me nostalgic for the original, and probably surpasses the dismal disappointment “Anger Management” as the worst movie so far this year.
Director McG has given us a film that fails on absolutely every front and has no redeeming factor at all. More sad than that, however, is the fact that this film will probably make a lot of money, and may well give life to one more sequel. The upside to that, though I’m a little afraid to say it, is that I truly don’t think it could be any worse than this.
See our review of the prequel to this movie: Charlie’s Angel’s
Year of Release—2003