Two and a half stars
Director: Elizabeth Banks
Starring: Ella Balinska, Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott (all pictured)
Running time: 118 minutes
Verdict: A colourful distraction
ONCE upon a time, Charlie had three Angels — and that was enough.
But now that the private detective agency has gone global, with franchises in all the major capital cities, he’s pumping out kick-arse action heroines faster than a Krispy Kreme doughnut machine. That certainly explains this reboot’s exceptionally high GI rating.
It might also account for the bungling ineptitude of its so-called super sleuths, although to be fair, their noughties predecessors (Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu) were just as many sequins short of a full slip dress.
Charlie’s new Angels are more naturally athletic than the original movie characters.
They’re also more dangerous, judging by Kristin Stewart’s scissor-legged asphyxiation routine in the film’s attention-grabbing opening sequence.
What these Angels lack in street smarts and investigative skills, they make up for with an extraordinary wardrobe — thanks to Charlie’s New Age version of Bond’s Q.
While the costume changes are marginally more effective in writer-actor-director-producer Elizabeth Banks’ sort-of-sequel, the bulletproof camisoles and knockout lozenges work a treat.
Bosleys have also proliferated in the 2019 version of Charlie’s Angels — it’s no longer a name but a rank.
That’s how Banks’ former Angel gets to play one.
The fun and games begin when the original John Bosley (played by Patrick Stewart) retires.
Sabina Wilson (Stewart), an impulsive misfit who lacks any kind of filter, is paired with her worst frenemy, a lone wolf by the name of Jane Kano (Ella Balinska), in an undercover operation to protect a young systems engineer-turned-whistleblower.
After learning that her revolutionary power-saving device is going to be launched before she has ironed out a potentially catastrophic kink in the software, Elena Houghlin (Naomi Scott) turns to the Angels for help.
But somehow, her former employer’s hired assassin is always one step ahead.
When their assigned Bosley, Edgar (Djimon Hounsou), is unceremoniously dispatched, a new one, Susan (Banks), takes his place.
There’s an elaborate identity-switch routine in Elena’s former, multi-storey office block — largely for the benefit of the ubiquitous security cameras — and a brutally efficient chase sequence in an abandoned stone quarry, during which Elena pops her action cherry.
The climactic set piece, at the project launch at her old boss’s (Sam Claflin) mansion, does its job and the film acknowledges the popular ’70s TV series upon which it is based by way of a special cameo appearance.
A fluffy comic confection that relies heavily the charisma of its female leads, all of whom commit fully to the silliness of the initial premise.