Reel Reviews | Charlie’s Angels

by Charles Kirkland Jr.

The Angels go worldwide as Kristin Stewart and Ella Balinska spread their wings in the latest edition of the saga simply titled Charlie’s Angels.

In Hamburg, Germany, the Brock Company has developed a new source of energy that has the potential to revolutionize the energy industry.  The problem is that it has a deathly side-effect.  Systems engineer Elena Houghlin (Naomi Scott) attempts to blow the whistle to the company owner but is stalled by her supervisor who blithely dismisses Houghlin’s danger warnings as invalid and presses production onward to meet the completion deadline set by Mr. Brock.  Through an interesting set of circumstances, Houghlin finds herself meeting with a “Bosley” (Djimon Hounsou) and Angels Jane (Ella Balinska) and Sabina (Kristen Stewart) who save her from the assassin, Hodak (Jonathan Tucker).  New Head Bosley (Elisabeth Banks) teams Jane and Sabina with their new client Elena to apprehend the power source prototypes (named Calisto) and save the world.

Written by Elisabeth Banks with Evan Spiliotopoulos and David Auburn, this Charlie’s Angels is the third installment in the Angels movie franchise which is also a sequel to the hit television show from the 1970s. It stars Stewart, Balinska, Houghlin, and Banks along with Hounsou, Patrick Stewart, and Tucker and a bevy of outrageous cameos. 

Far less light-hearted than its predecessors, this movie embodies more of the adventure and intrigue of the television series.  From its Mission Impossible-style opening scene to its action infused conclusion, Banks (who also directed the movie) and her cohorts create a compelling spy action flick that hits the mark.

This movie is a sequel and Banks and company do a great job on expounding upon the basis of the franchise.  The Townsend Agency is now a worldwide agency and each location has its own Bosley which turns out to be a rank in the agency, not an actual name.  Patrick Stewart plays a retiring Bosley, presumably, the first Bosley who is being replaced by Banks. 

Kristin Stewart of Twilight fame is slowly developing a noteworthy career.  Her performance here as Sabina Wilson, the fly-by-the-seat of her pants, ADD angel is spot on.  She is annoyingly humorous and infectious in her ways and serves as the perfect opposite of the super-intense angel Jane Kano played by gorgeous Ella Balinka.  Relative newcomer Balinska (TV’s Midsomer Murders, The Athena) is a trained martial artist and her skills come through as the super tough, butt-kicking angel. 

The formula for Charlie’s Angels both on TV and in the previous movies has always been that the Townsend Agency uses three angels and Bosley who work for a client.  This movie departs from the formula in that there are only two Angels and Bosley and the client.  Naomie Scott (Aladdin, The 33) reunites with her fellow Power Rangers star (Banks) as the whip-smart client who is strong enough to perform as the de facto third member of the team. She is naïve, yet intelligent and scared but fearless.  Perfect.

Charlie’s Angels is rated PG-13 for action/violence, language, and some suggestive material.  It is more fun than imagined and more entertaining than anticipated.  The question is why is this movie being released in November during Oscar season when it would have been a box office smash if released during the summer?  Angels is a jewel of pop entertainment in a sea of seriousness.  Hopefully, bad timing will not ground these angels.

Grade:  B+

PS. Don’t leave before the end because there are some great scenes during the credits.