CHARLIE’S ANGELS (2019)
Starring Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, Ella Balinska, Elizabeth Banks, Djimon Hounsou, Sam Claflin, Noah Centineo, Patrick Stewart, Luis Gerardo Méndez, Jonathan Tucker, Chris Pang, Nat Faxon, Lili Reinhart, Hailee Steinfeld, Aly Raisman, Chloe Kim, Ronda Rousey, Danica Patrick, Laverne Cox, Michael Strahan, Jaclyn Smith and the voice of Robert Clotworthy.
Screenplay by Elizabeth Banks.
Directed by Elizabeth Banks.
Distributed by Columbia Pictures. 119 minutes. Rated PG-13.
The 1970’s introduced us to Charlie’s Angels. They were three tough, beautiful, crime-stopping women (played by Jaclyn Smith, Kate Jackson, and Farrah Fawcett-Majors) who used their femininity – their secret weapon – to take down bad guys. They were iconic, a shadow symbol of big hair and pistols, who took their orders from the mysteriously voiced, but never seen, Charlie. They have remained part of America’s pop culture through late night television re-runs.
The new millennium brought us a new trio of Angels (played by Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu), with a 2000 reboot. It was fun, and fresh; bringing a new generation of actresses and audiences into the high-tech crime fighter world.
Fast forward nearly 20 years, and Elizabeth Banks brings us the latest set of Angels for the upcoming 2020’s. They are led by Kristen Stewart playing the more carefree, born of privilege, Sabina Wilson and Ella Balinska playing a former MI-6 agent, the highly independent Jane Kano.
This rebooted Angels is filled with girl power, great action scenes (car chases, gun fights, rappelling down from a tower using an umbrella), well-choreographed fight scenes, and big costumes. Money is clearly no issue for their benefactors Townsend Industries as the Angels travel the globe – Rio to Homburg to Berlin to Los Angeles to Turkey – with access to the latest high-tech weaponry and disguises for days.
They pay homage to the former Angels, first in a montage celebrating Bosley’s retirement from the Angels. (This Bosley is played by Patrick Stewart, not to be confused with the Bosley played by Elizabeth Banks and the multiple other onscreen Bosleys…. for as we find out, Bosley is a rank, like Lieutenant, not a name), and then again, in the end credit scenes (be sure to stay for these!)
Sabina and Jane are mismatched from the start, with Jane pushing Sabina off a roof after the first action sequence. Eventually, they build a friendship, becoming protective of one another while protecting scientist-turned-whistleblower Elena Houghlin (played by Naomi Scott). Elena is trying to sidestep her unctuous, misogynistic direct boss Fleming (played by Nat Faxon) to provide safety information regarding the Calysto project – a revolutionary energy source that needs additional safety steps to prevent weaponization.
It’s a farfetched, overplayed story that has been used in countless films in the past (Real Genius, Iron Man). However, Charlie’s Angels is still fun and visually stimulating on the big screen, particularly their take on a misdirection heist scene where the Angels are all dressed in bowl cut haircuts and wacky polka dot outfits that are straight out of The Thomas Crown Affair. The action scenes are made even more fun by the relentless tattooed villain Hobeck (played by Jonathan Tucker), who has gear that rivals only the Angels.
There is some cute, recurrent, on-screen chemistry between Jane and Elena’s lab partner, Langston (played by the ever-adorable Noah Centineo).
At the top of the new character introductions is “The Saint” (played by Luis Gerardo Mendez) – he runs the safe house for the Angels and is able to truly anticipate their every need. Chef, guru, wellness coach – his job is to keep the Angels in tip top form. I dare you to not wish you had a Saint of your own.
While certainly not a great film, or even a great Charlie’s Angels, the 2019 reboot was a fun big screen experience. And in the end, it is nice to see women supporting one another – even before they became a team. In spite of their differences, they didn’t waste energy tearing one another down. It is a nice message for the new decade.
Copyright ©2019 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: November 15, 2019.