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Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, Demi Moore, Bernie Mac, Crispin Glover, Luke Wilson, John Cleese, Matt LeBlanc
Writing Credits:
Ivan Goff (television series), Ben Roberts (television series), John August, Cormac Wibberley, Marianne Wibberley

This summer, the Angels are back.

The Angels prepare to strike without warning as they go undercover to retrieve two missing silver bands. These are no ordinary rings - they contain valuable encrypted information that reveals the new identities of every person in the Federal Witness Protection Program.

When witnesses start turning up dead, only the Angels, using their expertise as masters of disguise, can stop the perpetrator; a mysterious fallen Angel (Demi Moore). Aided by their trusted colleague Jimmy Bosley (Bernie Mac), the Angel's adventure begins at a remote Mongolian outpost and ends only after Dylan (Drew Barrymore) is forced to face a dark secret from her past - a secret that puts the lives of her two best friends in danger.

Box Office:
$120 million.
Opening Weekend
$37.634 million on 3459 screens.
Domestic Gross
$100.685 million.

Rated PG-13

Widescreen 2.40:1/16x9
English Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby 2.0

Runtime: 107 min.
Price: $27.94
Release Date: 10/21/2003

• Telestrator Commentary with Director McG
• Audio Commentary with Writers John August, Cormac Wibberley and Marianne Wibberley
• “Angel-Vision” Trivia   Track
• “Turning Angels Into Pussycat Dolls” Featurette
• “Rolling With the Punches” Featurette
• “XXX-Treme Angels” Featurette
• “Full Throttle: The Cars of Charlie’s Angels Featurette
• “Dream Duds: Costuming an Angel” Featurette
• “Angels Makeover: Hansen Dam” Featurette
• “Designing Angels: The Look of Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle” Featurette
• “Learn Why: There’s No Such Thing As a ‘Short Shot’, Only an Overworked Producer” Featurette
• Music Video
Full Throttle Jukebox
• Cameo-Graphy
• Filmographies
• Trailers
• DVD-ROM Materials

Search Titles:

Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.


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Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle - Unrated Special Edition (2003)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 13, 2003)

Back in the old days, Hollywood regarded a sequel as a success if it nabbed roughly two-thirds of the first flick’s gross. By that reckoning, 2003’s Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle and its $100 million take enjoyed a satisfying run after the $125 gross of 2000’s original.

However, Hollywood’s perception of sequels has changed over the last few years. Follow-ups like Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and The Matrix Reloaded didn’t just nab their two-thirds; they made substantially more than their predecessors. This raises the bar, and Throttle’s 80% of the original didn’t cut it.

Absurdly, this means that many regard Throttle as a dud at the box office. $100 million ain’t what it used to be, but it’s still not bad, and the original movie seemed to enjoy a strange reputation as a blockbuster that its $125 million shouldn’t really have earned for it.

Box office discussions aside, the question remains if Throttle offered a satisfying follow-up cinematically after the surprisingly lively and entertaining original. Unfortunately, it doesn’t live up to the standards of the 2000 flick. While not a classic, that movie was considerably more amusing and likable than the somewhat hollow sequel.

Throttle starts in Northern Mongolia, where the angels - Natalie (Cameron Diaz), Alex (Lucy Liu), and Dylan (Drew Barrymore) – rescue kidnapped US Marshal Ray Carter (Robert Patrick). Though they get Carter out successfully, the baddies make off with Carter’s ring, which we soon learn this was no simple bauble. It was half of a device called HALO (Hidden Alias List Operation), the roster of all America’s federally protected witnesses.

Someone’s already killed one of the witnesses on the list, so the Angels investigate that murder. Along with a new Bosley – Jimmy (Bernie Mac), the brother of his adopted predecessor - this leads them to the beach, since they deduce a surfer committed the crime. There they encounter a former angel, Madison Lee (Demi Moore), a factor that becomes more important later. At present, however, the Angels find a surfer who meets the profile for their culprit: buff Randy Emmers (Rodrigo Santoro).

They track him to a bike race, where they don’t get to deal with him because a figure from their past – the first movie’s mysterious Thin Man (Crispin Glover) – kills Emmers during the race. They find a list of protected witnesses on Emmers. This includes another racer named Max Petroni (Shia LaBeouf) and one Helen Zaas, who just happens to be our Angel Dylan.

We then learn a little about Dylan/Helen’s backstory and her involvement with bad guy Seamus O’Grady (Justin Theroux). It turns out this prior relationship came back to haunt her now; she ratted on Irish gangster Seamus, and it looks like he’s the one who wants the witness list and revenge.

He gets the ring and an assurance that as long as he possesses them, Helen/Dylan will come to him. That seems to make the plot cut and dried, but the involvement of others complicates things along the way. We watch the Angels as they try to protect the witnesses, solve the case, and bring the baddies to justice.

Matters complicate a little too much for my liking, as Throttle presents a plot that seems too dense for such light entertainment. The movie goes off onto various tangents that do little more than make things more difficult to follow. At its heart, the flick presents a simple plot: find the rings and stop the evildoers. However, it mucks up the proceedings with many fairly extraneous elements that simply confuse things and leave the viewer confused.

Throttle occasionally suffers from a sense of “been there, done that” as well. I liked the first one because in spite of its campiness, it seemed funny and fresh. Throttle goes to too many of the same wells. For example, we get the same routine from Alex when she tersely blows off a guy who hits on her. That was funny the first time, but it becomes lame the second.

Throttle packs plenty of pointless movie allusions that only serve to highlight the film’s lack of creativity. Actually, it starts well, as the opening scene makes a clever and understated allusion to Raiders of the Lost Ark, and the initial sequence mixes action and cartooniness to create something exciting and entertaining. Unfortunately, it bogs down quickly from there, and the incessant film references go nowhere. A nod to Flashdance here, a tilt toward Cape Fear there, and what do you get? Not much, in this case. The climax even reminds me a little of Last Action Hero, which seems odd given the disdain with which that film’s regarded.

Unlike the first flick, Throttle lacks a strong villain. Sam Rockwell was a true blast in the original, but Theroux’s Seamus seems like little more than a generic thug. The story wastes Glover, who created such a memorable character in the prior movie. We do get a surprise baddie whose identity becomes revealed later in the flick. That turn shouldn’t surprise anyone, and it adds little to the proceedings.

I didn’t want to like the first Charlie’s Angels, but its goofy action and spunk won me over and made me a believer. I wanted to like Full Throttle, but it lacked enough of the original’s life and energy to elicit much favor. Some of its ludicrous stunt sequences become moderately entertaining just because of their absurdity, but overall, the movie seems like it tries too hard and delivers too little really zest or excitement.

Note that this DVD of Full Throttle presents an unrated cut of the film. Anyone who hopes to see some Angel nudity will leave disappointed; none of the extra material displays skin. Actually, though I saw Throttle theatrically, I didn’t recognize any new added footage. I believe this one shows a little more graphic violence, but the amount of footage is negligible and doesn’t seem to add anything to the experience.

By the way, fans will want to stick it out until the conclusion of the end credits. A little outtake appears there. It’s not very interesting, but I thought I’d mention it anyway.

The DVD Grades: Picture B/ Audio A-/ Bonus A-

Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Most of the time, I felt the movie looked pretty good, but the picture displayed a mix of moderate concerns I didn’t expect in a brand-new flick.

Much of the movie seemed nicely detailed and crisp, but more than a few exceptions occurred. At times, the film appeared somewhat soft and ill defined. Those tendencies weren’t extreme, but they caused some mild distractions. No issues connected to jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, but some edge enhancement appeared along the way. The amount of EE seemed tough to define because at least a few of the haloes showed up in the source material. For example, those outlines were noticeable during theatrical screenings of the film in the bike race sequence and seemed to be an artifact of the filmmaking process. Obviously I can’t criticize the transfer for those, but other examples seemed to be more obvious representations of actual edge enhancement.

While the movie lacked any signs of print flaws, some DVD-related concerns did appear. The image looked a little noisy at times, especially during some of the murkier shots. The scene in which the Angels investigate the Caufield murder presented some of the biggest problems. It came in heavy red lighting, and that demonstrated some artifacting pretty clearly.

Colors seemed generally positive, though Throttle lacked the vivacity of the original. The palette remained just as broad and varied, but the tones often seemed a little pale at times. As noted, the red lighting at the murder scene was a bit heavy and messy. Most of the hues were vivid and distinct, but they didn’t quite leap off the screen like I expected. Blacks were effectively dense and deep, though, and low-light shots seemed well developed. Ultimately, my complaints about Full Throttle were fairly minor. Enough of them occurred for me to know my grade down to a “B”, but it still looked pretty good.

On the other hand, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Full Throttle presented a more consistently satisfying affair. As one might anticipate, the flick offered a consistently lively and active soundfield. Given the dominance of the action sequences, we got many opportunities for the use of all five channels, and the movie mostly took good advantage of these. Elements seemed accurately placed within the environment, and they melded together neatly. The surrounds kicked in with a lot of effective audio. Bullets whizzed by cleanly, explosions filled all the speakers naturally, and the track generally kicked the movie to life well.

Audio quality was perfectly fine. Speech always came across as natural and crisp, and I noticed no issues connected to intelligibility or edginess. Music seemed dynamic and taut. Some of the rock songs sounded a little compressed, but the score was always bright and vibrant, and the music generally presented a satisfying punch. Effects blasted nicely. Those elements were accurate and clean, and they showed solid bass response when appropriate. Ultimately, the audio of Full Throttle delivered a powerful and involving soundtrack.

One audio-related note: the movie uses a lot of subtitles, but the DVD replaces the burned-in text with ugly superimposed subtitles.

This special edition release of Full Throttle packs a fairly extensive set of extras. We open with a telestrator commentary from director McG. We’ve seen this format used sporadically in the past for flicks such as Men In Black. It didn’t add much to that presentation, and it doesn’t do much for Full Throttle either. The telestrator remains a gimmick, and a fairly pointless one at that.

As a straight commentary, McG presents a decent affair. He talks almost non-stop, which is a move in the right direction. He covers many topics connected to the movie such as its visual look, working with the actors, issues on the set, effects, stunts, and story decisions. Unfortunately, he peppers this with a higher than average amount of happy talk, as McG frequently lavishes praise on the film and all involved. He also often tends to simply narrate the story. Enough good information appears here to make it a decent listen, but it’s generally a pretty average commentary.

A more traditional audio commentary comes from writers John August, Cormac Wibberley, and Marianne Wibberley. All three sit together for their running, screen-specific chat. This proves to be a surprisingly interesting and entertaining track. They talk about all the permutations through which the script meant, which means we learn a lot about abandoned concepts and variations. They also relate some general behind the scenes information, and those points occasionally repeat notes from McG’s track. The piece periodically sags a bit as well, especially during the film’s second half. Nonetheless, there’s more good than bad to be found here, and the writer’s commentary is mostly a good one. (By the way, you’ll want to stick it out through the end credits, as the speakers include a surprising amount of useful material at the film’s conclusion.)

Another option to accompany the movie appears. The Angel-Vision Trivia Track presents a slew of factoids related to the film via the subtitle stream. This works like most others in the genre as it provides information about the cast, crew, and different elements. For example, we get notes about the history of Sex Wax and the Witness Protection Program. It’s a pretty mediocre affair, especially because the information peters out as the movie progresses and only pops up infrequently.

“Angel-Vision” also adds an interactive option; when a speakerphone icon appears on screen, hit “enter” to watch short pieces about the flick. Each of these five clips focuses on location work. We see shots from the CSI house, the Playboy Mansion, San Pedro Harbor, the El Carmen Restaurant, and the Griffith Park Observatory. The snippets last between 50 seconds and 110 seconds for a total of six minutes, 45 seconds of footage. The El Carmen one’s good because it elaborates on a guest appearance, but otherwise, these aren’t terribly illuminating.

After this we receive a slew of featurettes. Turning Angels Into Pussycat Dolls runs four minutes, 54 seconds as it shows movie clips, shots from the set, and interviews. (All of the featurettes use the same format.) We hear from McG, actors Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, and Lucy Liu, Pussycat Dolls founder Robin Autin, and Carmen Electra. We learn a little about the origins of the Dolls and their use in the movie. It doesn’t give us a great deal of info, but it’s pretty sexy, so who cares?

In Rolling With the Punches, we find a six-minute and six-second clip that focuses on the flick’s stunts. We get notes from McG, Liu, Diaz, Barrymore, Demi Moore, Crispin Glover, Justin Theroux, martial arts specialist Cheung-Yan Yuen, and producer Nancy Juvonen. It tends to be somewhat puffy, as we hear how much work the actors put into their stunts, but it adds some good insight into the procedures, and the material from the set offers interesting glimpses of the processes.

Next we find XXX-Treme Angels, a nine-minute and four-second look at the flick’s motocross sequence. We hear remarks from McG, Liu, Diaz, Barrymore, Juvonen, production designer J. Michael Riva, executive producer Patrick Crowley, second unit director/stunt coordinator Mic Rodgers, motocross stunts/camera Rich Taylor, stunts Trevor Vines and Ryan Hughes, doubles Mike Metzger, Chris Gosselaar, second unit stunt coordinator Chris Tuck, “XXX-Treme” looks at how they selected the location, different forms of motocross, and bringing the scene to life. It’s a good examination of the methods used for the scene and it adds to our understanding of the work.

The DVD’s longest program, Full Throttle: The Cars of Charlie’s Angels runs 17 minutes and 49 seconds as it examines the flick’s vehicles. It includes statements from McG, Moore, Mic Rodgers, picture car coordinator Cyril O’Neil, transportation coordinator John Orlebeck, Beverly Hills Maserati president Giacomo Mattioli, first assistant director Mark Cotone, special effects supervisor Matt Sweeney, “Miss Bigfoot” driver Dan Runte, It covers the variety of vehicles and their use in the flick in a concise and entertaining manner.

After this comes Designing Angels: The Look of Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, a seven-minute and 25-second look at the flick’s visuals. McG, Liu, Theroux, director of photography Russell Carpenter, visual effects supervisor Mark Stetson, production designer Riva, costume designer Joseph G. Aulisi, and location manager Kenneth Lavet. It gets into costumes, cinematography, locations and other visual elements. It’s a bit too short to be very useful, but it tosses out a few decent notes.

For details on some day-to-day work, we go to Learn Why: There’s No Such Thing As a ‘Short Shot’, Only an Overworked Producer. The eight-minute and 49-second piece involves information from McG, production designer Riva, executive producer Patrick Crowley, location manager Lavet, visual effects supervisor Stetson, and first assistant director Cotone. They discuss logistics, scheduling, and budget concerns for a large-scale flick like this. It’s another unspectacular but generally interesting program.

Angels Makeover: Hansen Dam goes into the work done for the film’s big opening sequence stunt. In the four-minute and five-second piece, we hear from Riva, Stetson, lead matte painter Ivo Horvat, matte painter Joshua Geisler-Amhowitz, and computer graphics supervisor Daniel Eaton. They get into the challenges involved in fabricating a Mongolian dam in California along with some computer work. It’s a decent little examination but it lacks much detail.

The final featurette, Dream Duds: Costuming an Angel gives us a four-minute and 10-second look at the flick’s outfits. Unlike the other programs, it includes no interviews. Instead, it shows clothes from the final movie along with conceptual sketches and some behind the scenes pictures. It’s moderately interesting but nothing special.

Up next is a Music Video for “Feel Good Time” by Pink Featuring William Orbit. The clip mostly uses the standard mix of movie clips and lip-synch material, but it does so in a slightly more creative than usual manner to create an alternate storyline that involves the singer. It’s not great, but it’s a little more interesting than most in the genre.

A form of chapter search appears via Full Throttle Jukebox. This displays the 13 pop songs that show up in the movie and lets you jump straight to those tracks. The Cameo-Graphy follows suit and allows you to led immediately to any of the 13 guest stars.

The DVD includes a slew of trailers. We find ads for Full Throttle, the first Angels flick, Bad Boys II, Mona Lisa Smile, Something Gotta Give, and S.W.A.T.. After this come filmographies for director McG, writers John August, Cormac Wibberley and Marianne Wibberley, and actors Diaz, Barrymore, Liu, Moore, Mac and Glover.

Lastly, we find some DVD-ROM materials. We find a link to some “Animated Webisodes”; these cartoon Angels adventures. We also get connections to the Full Throttle website plus “Shop the Scene”, where they peddle Angels merchandise. A final ink sends us to an “exclusive” demo for an online game called “Angel X”. None of these features adds much to the set.

After a surprisingly lively and amusing original, I had high hopes for Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. Unfortunately, the flick provides only sporadic entertainment at best, as its charms become overwhelmed with bombast and flash. The DVD presents decent but unexceptional picture along with excellent sound and a nicely engaging set of supplements. Full Throttle might merit a rental from fans of the first movie, but I can’t recommend more than that for this disappointing offering.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.9375 Stars Number of Votes: 64
10 3:
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