Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle
While it’s a noble thing to battle villainous foes, with Angels 2, nobility is a distant second cousin to skin. Think of Full Throttle as a big-screen version of a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Is it really necessary to be half-dressed—or in some cases undressed—to kick, punch and pummel bad guys? Is there a compelling reason to have all three angels break out of a sculpture in the nude?
As for plot points: The new identities of every person on the Federal Witness Protection Program are encrypted on two silver bands. Only as a result of these rings being united can the information be accessed. So when they wind up in the hands of a fallen Charlie’s angel (Madison), major crime syndicates are more than willing to shell out big bucks for them. To foil the plan, the "good" angels (Natalie, Dylan and Alex) go undercover, discovering in the process that Dylan is actually a federally protected witness herself (having watched a former-boyfriend-now-bad-guy kill someone).
positive elements: Nothing that can stand without qualification. Charlie’s angels are dedicated to fighting crime, no matter what the cost. But that commitment is taken to outlandish extremes. Alex’s relationship with her father is one of respect and affection. Unfortunately, deception and dishonesty are used to "help" it along. And his devotion for her includes an unhealthy tolerance of perversity.
spiritual content: A tattoo reads, "Only God Will Judge Me." Madison excuses her fall to the dark side with, "Why be an angel when I can play God." In the trio’s final martial arts match against the ring keepers, Natalie shouts at Madison, "Go to hell!"
sexual content: Inappropriate—sometimes perverse—sexuality, nudity, immodesty and strong innuendo stretch the PG-13 limits big time. Many of the angels’ tops are either very low cut (Dylan wears one she almost falls out of) or wide cut (or both). Itsy-bitsy bikinis are standard beachwear for the angels and extras. In an effort to steal a bad guy’s identification badge, the barely clothed trio take to the stage as dominatrices in an S&M club. Along with other "Pussycat Dolls," the angels whip, spank, gyrate, lap dance and pole dance their way to his ID. When a whip "accidentally" removes Natalie’s top, she smiles as patrons cheer (she covers her breasts with her arms). Picking up where Charlie’s Angels left off, viewers find out in Full Throttle that Natalie and Pete are now living together. Discussing this relationship, one angel quips, "It’s great isn’t it?" Several other lines also paint living together as a noble and necessary first step in any serious relationship.
Speaking of surfing, but loaded with innuendo, Natalie explains to a befuddled guy that she enjoys it "hard and rough." Alex and Natalie stop Dylan in her tracks by each grabbing one of her breasts (she’s wearing motorcycle protective gear). Thin Man has a fetish for locks of women’s hair. When Alex finally levels with her dad about her career, he interprets her words as an admission to being a bisexual call girl, specializing in group orgies. But rather than express anger—or even disappointment—he responds with, "Whatever makes you happy!" In a later scene, explaining how the trio defeated Madison, Alex states, "Another satisfied customer—it was a woman this time." Her father replies, "Well done!" Walking through a bar, Dylan lets a man slap her posterior (the first time) without even so much as a disdainful look—leaving the impression that it’s okay to let this type of behavior slide at times. The second time he does it, however, she throws him headlong into a jukebox. All three angels break out of a sculpture in the nude (they’re seen crouching in low light). In a fight, Madison kisses a pinned-down Natalie on the cheek several times.
violent content: When it’s not about skin, Full Throttle is about fists. Kick boxing. Punching. Karate chopping. Plus sword fights, gun battles and bombs. Bodies, bullets, motorcycles, cars and helicopters fly, flip, twist, explode and crash. Occasionally, the action is slow-mo, Matrix style. To its credit, for as much time as is spent in combat, the body count and gore quotient is relatively low. But scenes of a Federal witness being smothered to death, a bad guy getting his face slammed into a metal cage, a man getting clubbed, a villain being run through with a sword and a man being shot at close range (bullet holes seen) aren’t exactly pretty, either. While continuing to sexualize his actresses, producer Leonard Goldberg wanted them tougher and rougher this time around. He explains: "When the first film was released, audiences were enthralled by seeing three female movie stars in these huge action sequences. Since that time, several movies have imitated that. So [director] McG and I talked about elevating the action to a higher level. In this film the angels aren’t just flying across the room doing triple kicks. There are also some good old-fashioned punch-outs."
crude or profane language: Compared to other action flicks, language is subdued. Still, there are some strong profanities (the Lord’s name is combined with "d--n," followed quickly with a "What the fff-!" and "bulls---"). Women—not just villainous ones—are occasionally referred to as "b--ches." Dialogue fishes for laughs by repeatedly playing off Dylan’s former name (Helen Zass). More than a dozen milder profanities are added.
drug and alcohol content: The film opens in a Mongolian bar. Dylan slams down what appears to be one too many (then appears sober in a subsequent fight scene). A policeman, Thin Man and patrons at the Mongolian bar are also shown smoking—with one person deep inhaling to suggest something other than tobacco. In the strip club (where alcohol flows freely), Diaz performs inside a giant martini glass. (Movie production notes say the scene is a "homage to and inspired by Playboy beauty Dita Von Teese’s risqué and renowned burlesque act.")
other negative elements: Disguised as males, two of the angels frequent a men’s bathroom. In a later scene, dressed as a female, Natalie visits a men’s room. Underneath a closed stall door, her underwear is pulled down to her ankles. What follows is a shot of her on the toilet (played for laughs as she’s trying to keep from being discovered). Shown in flashback, Natalie reaches inside a cow to extract a newborn calf, winding up slimed. Dylan is a metalhead who wears AC/DC and Judas Priest T-shirts. Background music includes tunes by Snoop Dogg and Prodigy. Although telling the truth would make more sense, Alex at first lies to her father about her job.
conclusion: The original >Charlie’s Angels movie might not have meant to spark young women’s interest in karate lessons. But it did (as much as 50 percent nationwide). And perhaps, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle doesn’t mean to glamorize S&M clubs, lap dancing, cohabitation, crude talk and "good old-fashioned punch-outs," but it does. Full Throttle is socially irresponsible, insulting, soft-core porn. Sitting through it borders on self-abuse. Charlie’s angels offer nothing for the audience to root for—and demonstrate over and over again that they’re anything but angelic.