Running Time: 103 mins
Given my recent comments on the overly long running time of some films, I am delighted to commend director McG (the former Joseph McGinty Nichol) for bringing Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle in at just over an hour and half. The closing credits roll for at least of five of its credited 103 minute running time. But the length of Full Throttle is the only thing which shows
restraint. The title tells you everything you need to know about the film.
After liberating an army intelligence officer from the clutches of Mongolian war lords and in the process destroying a huge damn wall, the water from which I assume would have gone on to kill all the innocent people in the valley below and wreck the local economy, Charlie (the voice
of John Forsyth) calls his "angels' back into action. He sends Natalie (Diaz), Dylan (Barrymore) and Alex (Liu) to find out why and how people on the CIA's top-secret witness protection programme are being found and killed.
The angels chase and fight baddies at the beach, on motorbikes, in speed boats, in the hulk of a ship, while hanging from a plane, and on the roof-tops of tall buildings in LA with panoramic views. This time around the twist in the story is that the girls encounter Madison Lee (Moore), a former Charlie's Angel, and now a fallen angel, whom, rather appropriately,
they hope will "go to hell.'
When the first film appeared in 2001 I said, "It could even have been a better film if the writers and the producers had the courage of their convictions and had taken the parody all the way.' They must have been listening because this time around parody is the name of the game.
From the opening frame to the last scene, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle is a self-deprecating, girl-power frolic. It has a brain numbingly didactic script, absurd set-ups, feverish editing and a thunderous sound design, but the overall package works.
There are three elements within this film that may offend. This time the sexuality is much more raunchy and the innuendoes are anything but subtle. In a stupid aside, even for this script, the angels dress up as 1950-style nuns and go off to a Catholic orphanage where they meet a cane-wielding Mother Superior. Even with the accompanying comic quotations from The Sound of Music, this sequence borders on the offensive. Finally, I wonder how the
Palestinians, African Americans or Israelis would react if they were as racially profiled as crime bosses in the same way the Northern Irish, Italians and Mexicans are in this film, and many more films besides. It grates.
So, if you want a high-octane, escapist action comedy with attitude, then Full Throttle will take you for the ride.
I am hoping that for the next one, and I bet there will be one more, these three Angels team up with Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and Jaclyn Smith. There are some of us who remember who those now mature women were, in a former life.
Fr Richard Leonard SJ is the Director of the Australian Catholic Film Office.