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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (Unrated) (2003)

"Just once, I'd like to WALK out of a bar!"
- Dylan Sanders (Drew Barrymore)

Review By: Jeff Rosado   
Published: December 09, 2003

Stars: Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, Bernie Mac
Other Stars: Demi Moore, Crispin Glover, John Cleese, Matt LeBlanc, Luke Wilson, Justin Theroux, Robert Patrick, John Forsythe
Director: McG

Manufacturer: Deluxe
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for graphic violence, sexuality, language
Run Time: 01h:46m:59s
Release Date: October 21, 2003
UPC: 043396021457
Genre: action comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ BB+A- B+

DVD Review

As a big fan of the television show in my adolescence, I winced when I heard the creators of the feature film version of Charlie's Angels were going to portray the world of those crime fighting "little girls" a bit broader and just shy of, say, Frank Dreblin's in Naked Gun. Okay, the series itself was unintentionally comic at times, but that's beside the point.

Thanks to the playful enthusiasm of leads Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu, and Drew Barrymore, combined with the lightning-paced direction of music video specialist McG, the resulting multiplex makeover was a pleasant surprise. Not only did it make believers out of the skeptical core audience by replicating the charm of the original incarnation, but the updated packaging offers appeal to a wide variety of ticket buyers (action fans, "girl power" enthusiasts, girl watchers, etc.), who are sure to make the DVD incarnation equally successful. Not surprisingly, a second helping began taking shape once the highly busy leads could reconvene onto one set.

For some, once was enough, or at least, that's what the mainstream media would have you think of this sequel; only in the modern day can a film that grossed 100 million in box-office intake be pegged as a failure. It doesn't reinvent the wheel or stray far from the formula that made the original movie work, but Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle is another adorably innocuous two hours of mindless fun that charms, if you're willing to uncross your arms, kick back, and ride shotgun.

Dylan, Natalie, and Alex are back on the job as their ever-unseen boss, Charlie, assigns them the task of finding two highly coveted rings filled with contact data of those living in the witness relocation program. With their new sidekick (Bernie Mac) in tow, the trail leads to a surprising nemesis: a once-revered alumnus of the Townsend Detective Agency: Madison Lee (Demi Moore), who not only wants to reduce the number of living participants in the program to a big fat zero, she also wishes to do away with our stiletto kicking heroines, too.

Like most sequels, Full Throttle suffers from an air of familiarity; its like, okay, insert goofy Cameron Diaz moment here, cut to befuddled boyfriend reaction shot there, and oh, wow, betcha didn't see that unlikely bad guy coming. Also, an over reliance on CGI theatrics (including the now hopelessly dated gimmick of Matrix-esque bullets in flight) gives the impression you're looking at a movie-length demo reel for a video game spinoff; attempts at more cohesive, quieter storylines outside the action are spotty and the guest star quotient makes our present day Angels seem more like bit players at times.

Still, the ingratiating likeability and enthusiasm of the leads, some great set pieces (a superbly staged and edited motorcross sequence and the tantalizing Pussycat Dolls nightclub foray earning standout honors), and good performances from the more fleshed-out supporting players (including return appearances from Matt LeBlanc, Luke Wilson, and Crispin Glover, along with newcomer John Cleese in an adorable turn as Alex's father) makes all the misgivings easier to shed. For all the press it generated, Demi Moore's return to the big screen in her role amounts to little more than a frustratingly muted cameo that barely gives time to tap into her underrated abilities as an actress, but she makes the most of it with the flair of a Bond villain, her trademark smoky allure intact.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio2:40:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: With all the supplemental inclusions on this dual-layered disc, I feared the bit rate would be sorely compromised resulting in a below par image. But with the exception of the CSI parody bathed in red filtering to the point of bleeding and occasional artifacting, this is an almost perfect transfer. Awash in a mélange of gorgeous colors, strengthened by sharp and impressive detail, the results are almost three-dimensional when on the money; one wonders how much better the results could be if Columbia pegs Throttle for a future release in their Superbit series.

Image Transfer Grade: B+

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Though not as all-out as your typical actioneer in terms of impact, there's still plenty to admire about this 5.1 mix. Music, sound effects, and dialogue perform well in their respective locations, with rear channel activity and stereo imaging in the fronts being of particular note. Low bass could have been more prominent and the dialogue is occasionally mixed a bit too low, but very minor detriments in an otherwise impressive presentation.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Korean with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
5 Other Trailer(s) featuring Bad Boys II, Charlie's Angels, Mona Lisa Smile, Something's Gotta Give, S.W.A.T. (2003)
2 Feature/Episode commentaries by Director's Commentary with McG; Writers Commentary with John August, Cormac Wibberley and Marianne Wibberly
Weblink/DVD-ROM Material
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual
Layers Switch: 01h:10m:49s

Extra Extras:
  1. Angel-Vision Trivia Track
  2. Cameo-Graphy
  3. PINK Music Video (Feel Good Time)
  4. Full Throttle Jukebox
  5. XXX-Treme Angels (and 7 additional featurettes)
Extras Review: Packed to capacity with bonus material, Angel lovers should be as wide-eyed as kids on Christmas morn wondering what to unwrap first. Two commentaries are present with director McG, following up his well-received supplemental solo on the first movie with another equally vibrant effort here. Blessed with the memory of an elephant, McG has a story for every scene and sometimes, even every edit. Influences, homages, visual trickery, on-set stories—about every aspect of the film's inner workings is covered, sometimes to the point of overload. But I'd rather someone make an effort to cram as much into two hours than to sound contractually obligated and bored. If a more sedate 107 minutes of chitchat is more to your liking, you may opt for the writers' track, which gathers John August, Cormac, and Marianne Wibberly. Very much an after-hours, laid back offering, the trio still offer a lot of interesting tales, including many potentially interesting concepts that had to be streamlined or eliminated and quite a few on-set recollections that are on a par with McG's musings.

Eight featurettes covering many technical and creative aspects are contained: Turning Angels into Pussycat Dolls will no doubt be a main draw for many as it details the choreography and extensive rehearsals that went into the creation of one of the movie's most memorable sequences. No, XXX-Treme Angels isn't what you think it is, but a detailed look inside the staging of Throttle's best action piece, including interviews with noted motorcross bikers Mike Metzger and Johnny O'Mara, who not only acted as consultants, but also assisted with the stunt work. Fight choreography (Rolling with the Punches), wardrobe (Dream Duds), special effects (Angels Makeover: Hansen Dam), and set staging (Designing Angels) all receive their moments in the sun, but there's more. Although bordering on overkill, an extensive look into the automobile showcased in the film, Full Throttle: The Cars of Charlie's Angels, will please those with two- or four-wheel fetishes, Short Shot takes us behind the scenes from a producer's perspective, and for the music lover, Full Throttle Jukebox offers the dual novelty of reliving the most effective classic pop and rock scored sequences enhanced with personal reflections from McG and soundtrack coordinator John Houlihan prior to each clip.

Think we're done? Not quite. Cameo-Graphy offers anecdotes on the many guest stars on the film with an option to replay their moments, Angel-Vision Trivia Track, a subtitle offering with more information than a box of Trivial Pursuit (ever wonder what McG's real name is? The weight of a Trinitron television? You know, the usual matters that keep you up at night...), the video for Pink's Feel Good Time, trailers for both Angels films (as well as a quartet of other Columbia TriStar films) and for the DVD-Rom-equipped, a link to Sony's Angels-themed online game (gee, maybe the movie was indeed a full-length teaser).

Extras Grade: B+

 

Final Comments

Though intermittingly flawed and lacking the freshness that made the original such a surprise, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle still manages to offer much in the way of fun, sexy charm, and relentless action likely to entice viewers for a return joyride.

 


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