Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003)

reviewed by
Robin Clifford


"Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle"

The subtitle "Mongolia" lets us know where we are right off the bat as Alex (Lucy Lui) sneaks through the bowels of a yak drivers' bar to save US Marshal Ray Carter (Robert Patrick) from the sadistic clutches of his captors. Upstairs, Dylan (Drew Barrymore) is slugging back shots with the drivers when mini-fur coat clad Natalie (Cameron Diaz) comes in sporting a Swedish accent and immediately climbs aboard the bar's centerpiece - a mechanical bucking yak. Then things get silly in "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle."

What this sequel to the original blockbuster has is copious amounts of action, glitz, fast cars, dangerous toys, T&A and the Angels. This should satisfy the target demographics with young teen girls having Alex, Dylan and Natalie as role models and teen boys having them as objects of pubescent lust. This is a 111-minute music video that substitutes action and glitter for a story. Oh, yeah, there is a story here and it goes something like this:

Two titanium rings worn by Marshal Carter and his boss (played by an unrecognizable and uncredited Bruce Willis) are stolen. The rings, for some strange reason, contain all of the real identities of those in the Federal witness protection plan - now, why this vital information is stored in a ring on a guy being held in the basement of a Mongolian yak drivers' barand not a high-security facility is not a question you should ask. The Angels are assigned the task to retrieve the rings and stop their auction to the various nefarious criminal organizations like the Irish mob, the Mafia and the Japanese yakuza who would all love to get their hands on such information. Helping them out is Charlie's new right hand man, Bosley (Bernie Mac), who is introduced as the brother of the Bosley of the first film (Bill Murray). The question that immediately comes to mind when you hear of this relationship( remains unanswered for about an hour.)

Soon, members of the list are getting capped and the Angels leap to action. They hit the beach looking for a surfer who has a mended knee and uses pineapple sex wax on his board. Natalie bumps into this guy in short order but not before she meets Madison Lee (Demi Moore), a former Angel who went solo. Moore is mainly here to show off her million-dollar bod (I have to say, the money is well spent) and have some fun as the bad guy. It soon becomes apparent that Madison is the heinous head honcho who has given up on her training by Charlie to seek truth, justice and the American way - oh, sorry, that's the other super hero.

Dylan, Natalie and Alex must eventually do battle with Madison Lee and here's where I question the bad-assedness of these new Angels. How come it takes three of them to take down one bad guy who, for all intent and purpose, looks to be greater than the sum of the three? The posing as the angelic threesome prepares to fight is all very stylish but shouldn't any one of them be able to best Madison? There is much yelling and posturing as director McQ puts his high paid cast through the paces of driving motocross bikes to save the life of one of the protected witnesses, Max (Shia LeBoeuf); then, it's on to the stage of Bob Fosse-inspired strip joint where the Angels, miraculously, become the lead act in one of the T&A sequences; they steal the keys to the lair of one of the baddest bad guys, Seamus O'Grady (Justin Theroux), who happened to be Dylan's squeeze years ago, before he sold his soul to the devil called crime.

But, things move briskly along (with many boring bits, for me, as the attractive cast play cute with double entendres and line dancing) in true MTV style with lots of rock music, posturing and rapid-fire editing. This proves to be a problem as the fast cut edits and copious close-ups are use to mask the lack of real action choreography. There is a high glitz and glitter quotient but very little substance.

Don't expect any Oscar nominations for the cast of "Full Throttle" but there is a sizable list of veterans who may not add much to the movie but checking them off of the who's-who helps pass the time. Willis, as I mentioned, is the most obscure, but there are others, like Robert Forster, Luke Wilson (who seems to be in everything lately), John Cleese, Crispin Glover (returning, this time around, as an underutilized good guy Thin Man) and Matt LeBlanc reprising his movie star boyfriend to Alex. Justin Theroux is, actually, the best, most sinister character in the film as the seemingly impervious Seamus.

A lot of money was spent in making "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" and not just on its stars. Techs are well done with lots of energy but I would expect no less.

I have never willingly walked out of film in all these years as a film critic. (The last time I wanted to walk was at a Russian film at the 1991 Toronto film. It was slow and boring and I think my blood sugar was down after sitting through three other films before and I needed to eat.) "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" is just the opposite of the Russian film but there is so little substance to the glitz that it will attract only its target audience. I give it a C.

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Robin@reelingreviews.com
laura@reelingreviews.com
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