Back in the early 2000s, having three big-name actors star in a blockbuster action film was nothing new, even when it was three women taking centre stage. The McG Charlie’s Angels film was received relatively well. Well enough to spawn a sequel in 2003, but the thought of these rather weakly written, innuendo-filled, male gaze galore films being made today is doubtful. Seeing as Hollywood is trying its best to show women can be action heroes without dressing in ‘sexy’ outfits and fighting in impossible shoes. Sometimes they find a balance, sometimes they fall flat on their face, like any other ‘dumb action film’. When it was announced that Charlie’s Angels was being rebooted, again (after the failed TV series in 2011), there seemed to be hope that the angels would rise up, especially as Elizabeth Banks would be directing. But unfortunately, box office and audience reactions means that the angels probably won’t fly again, just yet.
The Townsend Agency, now expanded across the globe, with many Bosley’s and Angels, called upon for missions with different teams. Rebellious and carefree Sabina is teamed up with humourless and straightforward Jane for a mission in Hamberg when Elena, an engineer and programmer turns whistle-blower on her company’s latest project, a tool that can be weaponised. When the mission goes wrong, Elena becomes more than just the client but learns what it takes to be an ‘Angel’ while the team try to find out what’s actually happening and who is really behind weaponised tech and trying to sell in.
Forgetting that Bill Murray and Bernie Mac played Bosley they are literally erased from the film and Patrick Stewart’s face is inserted into ‘past photos’. Making Stewart the original Bosley and making him retire early on in the film sends red flags almost immediately, which is a shame as from this moment on, the film is very predictable. Some reboots or late sequels try to make a film all about a new character but the film luckily doesn’t fall into this trap and keeps the ‘getting to know’ the new characters simple, with random information given out during the film as it’s not about them, it’s about the story, which is still enjoyable, even though its predictable.
Elizabeth Banks who stars, acts, and wrote the screenplay is the best part of the whole film. Her character has layers, is amusing and being a former angel herself, has the grit about her too. However, the actual active angels are stereotypical annoyances. Kristen Stewart desperately plays up the ‘wild card’ character, going as far as yelling lines that didn’t need to be. Ella Balinska plays her character as a robot for most of the film, vaguely letting loose when she’s supposed to be flirting, she really doesn’t seem like she is having any fun at all during this film. Naomi Scott is probably the most decent out of the three, playing the ‘newbie’ and genius engineer she has more to do. But Banks really saves the day here.
Ultimately the film is just fun. There are no mind-blowing moments, intricate plot points or anything more than skin deep happening, it’s just a fun action film with women as the leads. It is worth noting that there are no romantic sub plots, except maybe one tiny scene with the actor who is in all those Netflix films, it’s nice to see him breaking out of the small screen. But be prepared to going back to basics, complete with shady evil English ‘bad guys’ and a tattooed assassin who I wish we’d got to know more about. Overall, the film will keep you entertained and wondering if we’ll see this ‘franchise’ again in a few more years.
Dir: Elizabeth Banks
Scr: Elizabeth Banks
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, Ella Balinska, Elizabeth Banks, Djimon Housou, Sam Claflin, Noah Centineo, Nat Faxon, Patrick Stewart
Prd: Doug Belgrad, Elizabeth Cantillon, Max Handleman, Elizabeth Banks
DoP: Bill Pope
Music: Brian Tyler
Run time: 119 minutes