U/A: Action, Adventure, Comedy
Director: Elizabeth Banks
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, Ella Balinska, Elizabeth Banks
Director/co-writer Elizabeth Banks rejigs the “Charlie’s Angels” franchise with this origin story that links to the erstwhile cinematic past through photo and montage shots from the original T.V. show and McG’s movies. This attempt is clearly meant to assuage feminist ideals while tapping into nostalgia, trying to draw a fresher audience to dig into this action heroine dominated franchise. The narrative, with story by Evan Spiliotopoulos and David Auburn, opens with an extended close-up on Kristen Stewart’s face as she reacts to the patronizing comments of a wealthy man while his henchmen stand guard behind the curtains.
Much of what transpires here remains the same as in the past. The Townsend Detective Agency continues to be home to the Angels, but now with the worldwide boom for detective work, the agency has franchisees all over the world and Bosley becomes a rank with numerous people answering to the name-that-was. The women, strong, beautiful and fearless as always, continue to cut it thin in an aggressive testosterone dominated male world. Of course, like Bond, they have easy access to the latest in designer weapons and disguises – to aid them in completing their high-risk missions.
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Sabine and Jane ( Ella Balinska) are the seasoned spies in the process of getting used to each other, when Elena (Naomi Scott), the scientist who holds the key to an alternate power source which could be misused in the wrong hands, gets thrown into their orbit. Obviously meant to become ‘the trio,’ they are preprogrammed to be en route to a team-up, in the film.
Banks tries hard to pinpoint misogyny in this sort of workplace, belaboring the fact through Sabine’s (Kirsten Stewart) interactions with her dismissive male counters. She appears to get her jollies giving those kicks where it hurts most. But this rather hare-brained attempt at gender equality is as fragile and insipid as it is lackluster. There’s nothing nuanced about the in-your-face feminist agenda which doesn’t even make an honest attempt to decode male abomination – other than by turning them into villains. The writing and plotting seems rather shop-worn and routine while the ceaseless action fails to up the adrenaline. The narrative, despite its obvious feminine point-of-view fails to raise the pitch to furious. Kristen Stewart, Ella and Naomi make their presence felt but the film they are in, fails to stack-up the tempo or engage in lively thrills. This one is as dull as dishwater!
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