charlie's angels

★★

DIRECTOR: elizabeth banks (pitch perfect 2)
STARRING: kristen stewart, naomi scott, Ella balinska, and elizabeth banks

 

REVIEWER: lyall carter

When a systems engineer blows the whistle on a dangerous technology, Charlie's Angels from across the globe are called into action, putting their lives on the line to protect society.

If you hadn’t noticed remakes or adding to existing franchises like Ghostbusters, Hobbs and Shaw, and Rambo: Last Blood are all the rage at the moment. Film makers want to add to the stories and nostalgia always draws a crowd. So it wasn’t going to be long before Charlie’s Angels, first a mid 70’s American TV show then a movie in 2000, was remade. But unfortunately it doesn’t have wings to fly and apart from Naomi Scott’s performance it largely falls flat. 

 

Charlie's Angels have always provided security and investigative skills to private clients, and now the Townsend Agency has expanded internationally, with the smartest, most fearless, most highly trained women all over the globe - multiple teams of Angels guided by multiple Bosleys taking on the toughest jobs across the world. When a young systems engineer blows the whistle on a dangerous technology, these Angels are called into action, putting their lives on the line to protect us all. 

 

The film has quite a predictable spy plot with all the cover ups, secrets, fight scenes, and double crossing that you’d expect from a good spy, action thriller. But predictable films aren’t necessarily bad if the filmmakers bring something fresh to the story and the genre or there are characters that really leap off the screen. Unfortunately you've seen action sequences like this before and there isn't a lot of chemistry between the three leads. 

 

Also the characters in Charlie’s Angels are slightly underwritten with back stories hinted at but then never really truly explored. Jane Kano, an ex MI6 agent, starts to take us into her backstory with an emotional explanation of why she left the service but its cut short and we never return to it again. And unfortunately Ella Balinska who plays Kano stumbles when required to do more than beat up the bad guys.  

 

An attempt is made to make Kristen Stewart’s character Sabina Wilson the wild, rebellious wise cracking angel but her jokes largely felt forced and barely raised a titter in the audience I watched it with. There are hints regarding Wilson’s sexuality, but the filmmakers don’t seem brave enough to let her fully embrace it. 

 

Naomi Scott’s character is the highlight of Charlie’s Angels bringing wide eyed wonder, fun, and a great enthusiasm to the role. After her star turn in Aladdin, this is turning out to be a very good year for her. 

 

Elizabeth Banks shines when she allows herself to delve into her comedic roots and Sam Caflin and Patrick Stewart bring some light relief as well. 

 

The film also falls into the same trap that Captain Marvel fell into. Instead of showing us three dimensional kick ass women characters who can do anything it would rather just tell us about how women can do anything. Give me Wonder Woman or Red Sparrow who instead of talking about it show us women who despite their circumstances can take on the world and smash down the patriarchy. Give us a Charlie's Angels like that. 

Unfortunately Charlie’s Angels falls slightly flat, but Naomi Scott shows us that Aladdin wasn’t a fluke and completely steals the show. 

★★

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