Now pretty much seems like the perfect time to make a Charlie’s Angels reboot. After all, Hollywood seems to be waking up to the box-office power of female-led films in the wake of #MeToo, and I’d say that we have more than enough macho action heroes around, so making a kick-ass female team sounds like a great idea.
Except this property has never been fruitful in producing top-tier films, or even mid-tier ones, come to think of it. The two films in the early 2000’s range from okay to awful, so a new version can only be a good thing right?
Well, they’ve got the personnel right at first glance, if nothing else. Directed by Elizabeth Banks, who’s perhaps most famous for the Pitch Perfect films, both in front and behind the camera, and it stars Kristin Stewart and Naomi Scott, two big names in modern cinema, but will it be third time lucky?
The angels are a secret spy group led by mysterious handlers known as Bosley’s. When they discover a cutting Edge piece of tech could be turned into a weapon this swiftly take the fight worldwide to various exotic locales.
Well, it’s safe to say this film didn’t have a high bar to beat. But that’s not to say there is no expectations riding on this film; this being modern Hollywood, there’s probably a franchise opportunity riding on this, as well as the point that women can be action heroes to prove.
While I wouldn’t say Charlie’s Angels was a bad film, I wouldn’t say it was great either. It’s fast-paced, probably so you don’t notice the lacking plot, and action-packed, carrying the usual smooth, choppily-edited action sequences that is clinging to modern Hollywood like a lecherous Face-hugger.
I can’t even say I have many strong feelings about this film, it flashed before my eyes, being admittedly entertaining in spots, but having absolutely no substance. It’s a thin, off-the-peg plot that will be very familiar if you’re a regular cinema attendee.
The characters occasionally brighten up proceedings, Kristen Stewart was my personal favourite, she can get annoying, but gratifyingly her character admits that. The other Angel, Jane, played by Ella Balinska, is a bit more of a stock character, being a typical quiet, badass warrior woman, and she grinds on the nerves a lot more. That being said, she does have some nice character development late on.
The script, such as it is, is also passable, if a bit bland. I’d say it goes in a bit heavy-handily on the ‘things men say to patronise women’ but I wouldn’t say that’s really for me to debate; it did feel like it was trying to send a feminist message, but it’s likely to come across as cliched if you’re not open to that kind of thing, at worse, it can even be patronising.
It’s lavish choices of settings really help the stale plot feel like it actually has some momentum, and it’s all shot very well, I especially like the sequences in Istanbul, which stops just short of feeling like a tourism video, it gives the film a luxury, glossy feel that I think goes well with the bombastic action.
In conclusion then, I feel annoyingly unfeeling towards Charlie’s Angels, it always annoys me when a film can’t even engage me enough to hate it, as the reviews always seem wishy-washy and unfocused, but no matter how much I really wasn’t bothered about the film at all, it was a nice little distraction while it lasted, even if, like an indecisive boyfriend, it fails to engage. That might be the worst analogy I’ve ever used, but I wouldn’t call Charlie’s Angels the worst of anything, just very mediocre.