Charlie’s Angels features light-hearted action
Full disclosure: I’m a fan of the original Charlie’s Angels. Even in the 1970s a TV series about female private investigators was pretty groundbreaking. Granted their boss was male. This wasn’t a Mod Squad remake where there are only a couple female actors with minor supporting roles. This time they took the ever-successful recipe of beauty-brains-brawn and gave them to female characters. And it was groundbreaking. Now we have a contemporary version of the recipe that brings strong female characters a lot closer to their male counterparts. Of course we’re not going to see Keannu Reeves in tight leather shorts or a sequins shirt but you will see three female characters coming quite close in terms of physicality (fighting), intelligence (tactics and planning) and, of course, physical attraction.
Our main ‘Angels’ are Kristen Stewart (Sabina), Ella Balinska (Jane) and the new ‘Angel’ recruit Naomi Scott (Elena). If you remember from the original, the ‘Angels’ were managed by a man named “Bosley.” Turns out, at least in the Townsend Agency, the term Bosley is actually a title given to those who manage ‘Angels.’ At the movie’s beginning Patrick Stewart is a retiring Bosley. He’s in a conference room whose walls are large screens showing live feeds from other Bosleys around the world. And they are not all male.
The movie starts off with some action. Sabina is enticing her mark while seductively tying him up with long pieces of drapery. All the while explaining how her job is to use her feminine wiles to accomplish a goal. Her monologue explains the purpose of the Townsend Agency and further empowers her gender beyond stereotypical confines. In other words, a girl can do whatever she sets her mind to. Although I don’t think Kristen Stewart was the best choice for this character. She seemed awkward. Some of her conversation seemed forced and labored. And it became all too obvious when a stunt person took over.
Ella Ballinsko’s character was tough, elegant and smooth. Her fight scenes were well choreographed and flowed nicely into a scene. She was smart and added a lot where Stewart’s character fell short. Ella Balinska played Jane, an unknown engineer who devised a gadget that would generate power. Jane discovered it could be weaponized. Her boss tells her to forget about the problem and instead steals the device to sell on the black market. Balinska played her character very well. She started off as demur and soft-spoken, then graduated to being recruited because she came out of her shell and took an active part in recovering the device.
Since Patrick Stewart retired as Bosley, the ladies needed a replacement Bosley. Enter Elizabeth Banks, who wrote, directed and produced this version of Charlie’s Angels. Stewart returns as the bad guy in this whole transaction.
Even with Stewart’s weaknesses, the three actresses meld together well. You don’t need to be familiar with Charlie’s Angels to enjoy this one. It explains everything you need to know along the way. There’s fighting but not a lot of blood or gore and hardly any profanity. There’s even a few spots where you might enjoy the comedy. It is light-hearted action, easy to follow and goes by relatively quickly. Stay through the credits even if the house lights go on. There’s even a cameo by Jaclyn Smith.
I’ll give Charlie’s Angels 4 out of 5 Miners. Somewhere, Farrah Fawcett is smiling.