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Charlies Angels

Charlies Angels - Full Throttle

Charlies Angels 2 - Full Throttle

Charlies Angels

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A trio of bodacious angels reveal the
real reason some horny guy invented
the carwash.

Charlie's Angels:  Full Throttle
Review written by: Alex Sandell

If most summer films ask you to "turn your brain off," Charlie's Angels:  Full Throttle asks you to remove your brain from your skull, stomp on it a few hundred times, and put it into a little jar reading "no refunds, no returns."  If the majority of tent-pole flicks demand that you "suspend your disbelief," Charlie's Angels:  Full Throttle asks that you just lose it all together.  If the bulk of event films beg you to take them seriously, for even a brief moment, Charlie's Angels:  Full Throttle asks you to laugh with it, at it and at yourself for spending 100 minutes with its manic madness.  And these three things are what make the film so damn much bubbly fun.

Charlie's Angels:  Full Throttle lives up to the "Full Throttle" in its title.  The movie doesn't let up.  It's relentless in its pursuit of wall-to-wall action, loud explosions and even louder heavy metal music.  There must be 50 songs in the film, 100 action sequences, 1,000 fast cuts, 2,000,000 slow-motion kicks, hits and grunts, and the most soft-core T&A since Russ Meyer got his hands on a camera.  The movie starts with what is simultaneously the cheesiest and most wonderful action sequence of the summer.  The Angels are in North Mongolia, attempting to rescue Ray Carter (Robert Patrick) from a certain death.  It appears that somebody wants the ring he's wearing.  This isn't your typical ring.  When paired with another, it reveals the locations and identities of all individuals in the Federal Witness Protection Program.

The opening scene is a nod to the infamous drinking game in Raiders of the Lost Ark.  When Dylan Sanders (Drew Barrymore) lifts her hand up to quiet the crowd betting on her, before taking a shot of hard liquor, just like Marion Crane did in Raiders, I about pissed myself laughing.  I'm sure I sounded like a big, gigantic dork, but it was worth it, because I was having FUN at the movies.  I haven't had that experience since I watched Finding Nemo, way back in the middle of May.  That was already six films ago.  

Although the feature starts out fairly deadpan and Indiana Jones-y, it wastes no time in letting us know that we're not in "Indiana" anymore (that just sounds wrong), when Natalie Cook (Cameron Diaz) stumbles into the crumbling Mongolian outpost, jumps onto an electronic bucking bronco, and twitches wildly to the tune of "Wild Thing."  This is cheese like they serve up at Pizza Hut, only with more humor and excess spice. 

The film never runs out of steam.  It's a hyper-active spaz of a movie, brought to life by the fountain of cinematic energy known as "McG."  McG ended the original Charlie's Angels film right around the time when enough got to be "too much."   The director starts Full Throttle at the "too much" point, and races it to speeds where only those thinking that 2 Fast 2 Furious was 2 slow-moving and 2 tame, will be able to keep up.  There's no time to stop and smell the exposition.  It just gets screamed out over the thrashing songs, speeding bullets and outrageous special effects.  Charlie's Angels:  Full Throttle was created to do nothing more than stimulate your eyes to the point of orgasm with the candy that it provides. 

The movie does take a few very brief breathers from the nearly non-stop virtual sugar-rush to give Bosley and the three Angels that he works with their own story.  Natalie Cook moves in with boyfriend Pete Komisky (Luke Wilson).  Alex Munday (Lucy Liu) has a visit from her dad (John Cleese), who's under the impression that she's a hooker, and Charlie's her pimp.  Dylan Sanders is forced into a position of leaving the Angels, to avoid hurting them.  Bosley is now black and played by Bernie Mac.  He's trying to crawl out from under his "brother's" (Bill Murray) shadow.  The subplot seems more like a gimmick to give Mac a reason to be in the picture.  It doesn't really go anywhere, and actually slows the film down.

The new Bosley subplot isn't the only problem that the movie has.  There's a motocross scene that should have been the highlight of the picture, but manages to look even more artificial than the HULK.  At times, it looks worse.  There are really cool stunts involved, with a handful of incredible bikers, but when it switches from real life motocross to computer generated excess, it looks like a bad episode of Speed Racer.  Lastly, the product placements in the film are even more intrusive than those in 28 Days Later.  I lost count of all the products placed, after I had dedicated one to each of my fingers and all of my toes.

The sorriest placement in this film was the little "bell" symbol that advertises a well-known phone company.  It was right on Charlie's infamous speaker.  Due to an apparent continuity error, the sick desecration was only stuck on the speaker around half the time.  So not only was it a violation (sort of like putting a Nike "swoosh" on Darth Vader's helmet), it was the disappearing and reappearing product placement from hell.   

It becomes hard to worry about products placed once Madison Lee (Demi Moore), an ex-Angel, reveals the nasty side of herself.  When she reminds the current Angels that the "team" used to use guns, while pulling out two solid gold pistols, it's incredible.  It's amazing.  Madison rocks!  One of the coolest bad guys (should I say "bad girls?") in a long time!  And they didn't forget the icing on the cake.  The stylized and silent Thin Man (Crispin Glover) that made the first film such a blast is back!  I never fully grasped how he was resurrected, or what in the hell his character was trying to accomplish in the movie, but he's so much fun, I never really cared. 

And that's basically what it all boils down to:  as long as you give yourself over to the movie, you never really care how stupid the movie gets.  The picture is far from a classic.  It's as dorky and gawky as the character of Natalie Cook, but it's also as goofy and exuberant.  It's a big MTV video, but it's one of the good ones. 

On a scale of 1-10?

7

Agree? Disagree? Feeling bored and wanna write a letter that you'll probably never get a response to?  Email me at alex@juicycerebellum.com

Other recent film reviews (click on a film's title to go to its review):

28 Days Later

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Hollywood Homicide

Wrong Turn

Finding Nemo

Coming soon -- Reviews of Legally Blonde 2 and Jeepers Creepers 2 and Terminator 3 and Freddy VS Jason!

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Text (Copyright) 2003 Alex Sandell [All Rights Reserved].