Charlies Angels Review

OK, I saw Charlies Angels the other day. And I want to say going in that I went in expecting to like it; I grew up on the show as a kid and am generally a sucker for a nostalgic reboot. Using my AMC Movie-pass meant there was not really much of a risk to my wallet, so off I went.

Yes, it's pretty bad. But there were some things I liked about it too; just not enough to overcome all that was wrong with it.

Yeah, yeah, spoilers ahead; who cares.

So Bosley is retiring and they give him a nice watch. (Played by Patrick Stewart.) He has grown the Townsend Agency from a small firm (the 70's show) to a world wide organization over the years and now there are like hundreds of "Bosley's" all over the world.

I thought this was kinda cool; Bosley became more like a rank within the organization than a single person which was kinda cool. I could see where they were channeling the Kingsman movies with this, and that came back when they take "the new girl" to see the various closets that have all the clothes and weapons and stuff later in the movie.

Then we have some new tech thing macguffin that gives us free power or something but can also be weaponized if it gets in the wrong hands! The engineer, and MIT grad played by Naomi Scott who also played Princess Jasmine in the live action Aladdin, want to fix it but her boss won't let her lest it derail the roll-out or something. She can't get to the "Steve Jobs" guy that owns the company to tell him about the flaw, so the Townsend Agency offers to help. She meets with them at some cafe and a tatted up bad guy tries to kill them all; he's got an armored SUV and a Mini-gun but for some inexplicable reason doesn't have run-flat tires.

Anyway, they take the MIT chick under their wing to keep her safe, try to figure out who the bad guys are that want to steal the tech and, as they say; hilarity ensues.

One problem; it wasn't all that hilarious. Or action-ey. The movie never figured out exactly what it wanted to be.

Case in point; there are plenty of action movies where the body count is high and bad guys get killed left, right and center. There are other shows and movies where no one is killed except maybe the main bad guy in the end. (The A-Team is a great example of this, as well as the original Charlies Angels show for that matter.)

This movie couldn't make up it's mind; for the most part no one gets killed or even shot; the Angels get in close, use Kung-Fu moves and disarm and beat up the bad guys or knock them out with tranquilizers. But they shoot lots of guns, never managing to actually hit anyone; which is more frustrating than cool in my opinion. But in the third act, several people *do* get shot; so the approach to action movie violence felt a bit "all over the map" to me.

Another gripe is that all three of the Angels in this movie are downright adorable. They are all drop-dead gorgeous action figure Barbie Dolls. They looked great; but I didn't buy for a second any of them were hand-to-hand experts, great shots or otherwise the competent bad-asses they were portraying. The actual characterizations for each felt pretty shallow; and the "banter" and "humor" were just poorly paced and "off". Some of it was really funny too; so it was *almost* there but still missed the mark.

Anyway, there is some big "reveal" at the end about who the bad guy is, even though we were mis-directed into thinking it was the new Bosley (Elizabeth Banks; who is also the director). They figure it out, get the bad guy and "the new girl" signs up to be an Angel!

We get a montage of training during the credits where she is getting advice from a bunch of women who are also Angels. (We also learn that Ruth Bader Ginsburg was once and Angel too!)

Included in the training montage are various Angles like Ronda Rousey teaching hand to hand combat, Danica Patrick teaching high speed driving maneuvers, Laverne Cox teaching bomb disarming (She's the trans actress from Orange is the New Black). In the end she passes her training and gets her cool Townsend Agency Tattoo that is also a comms receiver and we're all set up for the sequel!

I think the real issue with this movie is that it wants to be a "message" movie about...I don't know; feminism or empowerment or something, and not an action movie that happens to have female stars that happened to be directed by a woman.

I like Elizabeth Banks, but this is her first foray into popcorn action flick apparently and it shows. Badass women has been done better; La Femme Nikita, Sarah Conner, Vasquez from Aliens, Atomic Blonde, Furiosa from Fury Road, Trinity from The Matrix, and the list goes on. It's a real shame because this movie had all the right ingredients to be so much better than it was.

Save your money, maybe catch it on Netflix. My two cents.

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