Charlie's Angels 2: Full Throttle Review

by Homer Yen (homer_yen AT yahoo DOT com)
June 30th, 2003

"Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" Kind of Sputters
by Homer Yen
(c) 2003

"You all are fine," says the teddy-bear-cute Bosley (Bernie Mac). "But you're all crazy!" That's an apt summary given of Charlie's angels, three beautiful women (Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Liu) who work together as an elite trio of detectives.

The angels are all powered up, using their diverse skills to fight crime, to pursue perpetrators, and to apply deductive reasoning while looking oh-so-pretty. The film is a slick-looking effort with glossy visuals. And what's not to like when you have four beautiful girls with tone bodies and kick-butt moves? There's even a bevy of cameos including that of the Olsen twins, Bruce Willis, and former tv angel Jaclyn Smith. It seems that everyone wants to get in on the action. Unfortunately, while "Full Throttle" seems to have all the right ingredients, the emphasis is put on the wrong areas. Think of a fancy entrée that you might order at your favorite restaurant – except that the only thing you notice is the decorative garnish.

The plot is not really important here because the film is really about moving from one fast and furious sequence to another. To catch their quarry, you may see them street luge at high speeds or participate in a motocross race that mixes "Matrix"-like effects with the reckless driving audacity of "Speed Racer."

Back on the big screen is Demi Moore who shows that you can be unbelievably sexy at 40 (even Jaclyn Smith can still turn heads). Moore is given a chance to play the bad guy, to wear a skimpy bikini, and to drive an exotic Ferrari. But her role isn't developed and what you'll remember her for are her overly long expositions on why she hates being a former angel and her blinding white-as-can-be teeth.

I was glad to see the return of the silent, creepy thin man from the first installment (Crispin Glover, who looked like he just walked off the set of "Willard" and into this film). His presence is enigmatic yet affecting. And, for a split second, there was this gothic-cool beauty-and-the-beast element being developed. However, in the end, you're not sure whether he's good, whether he's bad, or why he's even in the film. Perhaps the three body-conscious sleuths can figure that one out.

My feelings were decidedly mixed about the film as a whole. There were lots of distinct, enjoyable components. However, the film couldn't really establish rhythm and flow. It lacked cohesion and thus distracted us from just sitting back and enjoying it as a summer thriller. As a result, there were too many separate pieces to the overall puzzle that didn't quite fit together.

The first "Charlie's Angels" installment back in 2000 had incredible charm, pizzazz, and energy while being immensely fun. In fact, it was one of my Top Five films for that year. But the giddy spirit that earned that "Angels" film its wings is noticeably missing in this sequel. Despite this film's good intentions, as well as a terrifically stylish trailer that elevates our expectation levels, this turns out to be an offering that you sometimes just want to stick a pitchfork in.

Grade: C+
S: 1 out of 3
L: 1 out of 3
V: 1 out of 3

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