How do you get rid of a terrorist on an aircraft who has a bomb strapped to his chest?
Various anti-terrorism handbooks would have relevant chapters and sections detailing how you would deal with such a situation. But if you were one of Charlie's Angels, you would simply open the aircraft door and take him out. Literally.
From the opening moments of the film, when Angel and bad man go into a free fall, Charlie's Angels, a film version of the popular 70s' comedy-action TV series, is a whirlwind roller coaster ride. And as with most roller coaster rides, where you can safely let go of all rational thought and simply give in to the mindless thrill of your various internal organs rapidly exchanging places, one need just sit back and enjoy this ride.
They are tough, they are beautiful, they are brilliant. And they are funny. They are Charlie's Angels.
Somewhere in there, if you look, is a story, which goes something like this. Natalie (Cameron Diaz), Dylan (Drew Barrymore) and Alex (Lucy Liu) are ace investigators in a detective agency with a faceless boss known to them only as Charlie (voiced by John Forsythe).
Their only contact with him is through a speakerphone.
The highly motivated trio is assisted by Charlie's faithful assistant, Bosley (Bill Murray). Their current assignment is to track down and find the kidnapped Eric Knox (Sam Rockwell), the founder of Knox Technologies, which has designed a voice-recognition software, which in the wrong hands could pose a major threat to individual privacy worldwide.
The chief suspect is Roger Corwin (Tim Curry) who owns the world's largest telecommunications satellite network, who possesses the 'wrong hands'.
In some convoluted way, said threat would become very real if said hands got hold of said software.
Anyway. The Angels smoothly track down all leads leading up to Corwin and beyond, and after a spectacular chase and a wild display of open hand combat, they happen upon Knox whom they quickly bring home.
At this point things take a turn and you are back on the roller coaster again and there is no letting up until the Angels have the case solved all over again and saved all things dear to their hearts.
And if you do look and don't find the story, don't worry about it. What makes the show fun and worthwhile are the three female leads who succeed enormously as the tough, capable and funny angels.
It's a fun film, non-pretentious, existing merely to entertain, which it does very successfully. Everything the angels do brings an energy to the screen that keeps reminding you that they are out there having a good time, and you should too.
So watch them as they jump out of planes, dress up as geisha girls and belly dancers, do the skimpily clad German yodelers bit, pull a dominatrix act on a room full of software geeks and go through the beautifully choreographed fight sequences.
There is no heavy message here. Its very simply three contemporary, empowered women taking a walk on the wild side, and having a whale of a time doing it. And they do it in style, strutting around in body hugging outfits occasionally walloping the daylights out of the bad guys.
The film is a directorial debut for McG ( Joseph McGinty Nichols) who has commercials and music videos to his credit.
The slick music video presentation style, sharp editing and special effects provides the basic entertainment platform on which the Angels, played by Cameron Diaz (Being John Malkovich, There's Something About Mary), Drew Barrymore (Never Been Kissed) and Lucy Liu (Ally McBeal, Shanghai Noon) perform.
Bill Murray, is disappointing, but then he doesn't specifically have much to do, and one wonders at the possible rationale behind casting him.
The one other memorable element of the film, is The Thin Man played by Crispin Glover. He brings a comically menacing air to his roll as the dopey, silent henchman, smoking cigarettes film noir style and drooling over locks of hair that he keeps snipping off the angels' heads every time they get into combat with him.
Unlike other secret agent type films, which rely heavily on high-tech gadgetry and death-defying stunts, this one rides on the goofy antics and the gripping special effect fight sequences that the trio keeps getting caught up in.
The action sequences are definitely the high points of the film. The Angels are unarmed (where would you hide a gun in body-hugging suits?) and they rely on open hand combat to see them through.
The stunts were choreographed by the same team that did The Matrix. Guided by Chinese martial arts expert Cheung-Yan Yuen, Barrymore, Diaz and Liu spent eight hours a day training and preparing for their stunts for two months.
Rounding out the cast are Kelly Lynch, Luke Wilson, Matt LeBlanc and Tom Green. Leonard Goldberg, executive producer on the original Charlie's Angels TV Series that ran from 1967-81, is the producer.
Drew Barrymore and Nancy Juvonen also produce under their Flower Films banner. The film was written by Ryan Rowe, Ed Solomon and John August. Director of Photography is Oscar-winner Russel Carpenter, ASC (The Negotiator, Titanic, True Lies).
The film is based on the TV Series created by Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts and is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Check out the femme fatales in action