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CHARLIE’S ANGELS gets 4/10 Angel of the mourning


Directed by Elizabeth Banks

Starring Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, Ella Balinska

4/10

Charlie’s Angels knows exactly what movie it wants to be; a slickly produced light comedy action film, with a touch of female empowerment. It’s just a pity that it seems completely unaware of how to actually make this happen.

When a whistleblower (Naomi Scott) comes forward with news that an experimental energy source could potentially be weaponised, it’s up to a new team of Angels to investigate the claim. However there seems to be a leak in the internationally expanded Townsend Agency, and Sabina (Kristen Stewart), Jane (Ella Balinska), and Bosley (Elizabeth Banks) find themselves in danger and unsure of who to trust.

Tonally this version of Charlie’s Angels tries to marry the played straight, but campily retro, tone of the original TV series, with the self-aware tongue in cheek noughties reboot. It draws a straight line through them quickly, suggesting different iterations of the Angel team, all joined through contact of the original Bosley (now retroactively played by Patrick Stewart). The results don’t gel, leaving the film unsure as to what tone it should actively be striving for. One minute it’s carrying out an elaborate corporate heist that’s reliant on matching wigs, the next it’s accidentally killing off a security guard and quipping about collateral damage.

Nor can it gloss over these issues through the action elements. Elizabeth Banks (Pitch Perfect 2) shows little skill in directing the fight sequences, keeping the camera too close to the action, and cutting rapidly, robbing the fight of any sense of tactical awareness in an attempt to keep the action moving. It’s indicative of the film as a whole, it attempts to prioritise slickness and a rapid pace over any sense of development of characters or plot. Fair enough for a piece of light entertainment, but Charlie’s Angels still manages a bloated two hours.

The pity here is, there’s some good chemistry with the team. Kristen Stewart (Twilight, Personal Shopper) fills the role of team rebel with effortless grace, making the most of the comedic elements. Ella Balinska fulfils the role of bad arse, playing things straight and serious. Elizabeth Banks has fun as the team’s Bosley (now a rank within the organisation) alternating between a caring den mother, strategic planner, and the wacky aunt. Although Naomi Scott isn’t strictly an Angel, she fills the tech nerd part of the team, and allows us a POV character into the organisation.

Despite good intentions, Charlie’s Angels, fails to take flight. Tonally inconsistent, and incapable of capitalising on its action credentials, this rebirth of the franchise just seems lacklustre and uninspired.

DAVID O’CONNELL

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