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The year 2000 could be considered the era of girl power. Julia Roberts received Oscar recognition for her role in Erin Brockovich, Sandra Bullock was making audiences laugh in Miss Congeniality, and three ladies were having fun in a certain movie called Charlie’s Angels. Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu were the three main reasons why the movie grossed over $120 million in America alone, men wanted to be with them and women wanted to be them! Therefore it was no great surprise that a sequel was commissioned, the three beautiful ladies signed up for the sequel which was to boast a larger budget. The movie was forecast to perform well and great things were expected for the sequel.  However, things didn’t go quite to plan, the movie opened with a paltry $36 million, and didn’t really catch the imagination of most cinemagoers.

Charlie's Angels Full Throttle (Unrated)
Movie
If you thought the plot for the original was irrelevant to the flow of the movie, then wait until you see the sequel! The movie opens in Mongolia where the Angels, Natalie (Cameron Diaz), Dylan (Drew Barrymore) and Alex (Lucy Liu) are on a rescue mission. Their target is US Marshall Ray Carter (Robert Patrick), who has been captured and is in a bad way. True to the first film the Angels accomplish their mission with style, and in the process they manage to leave a few bodies in their wake.

Their next mission isn’t so exotic; the Angels are back on home soil and have been enlisted to seek out two rings, which when combined expose the identities of everyone on the Witness Protection Program. It is during their briefing that they find out that people on the list have been infiltrated, and someone seems to be systematically working their way through the list, killing their targets in the process. This is alarming news for one of the Angels; Dylan is forced to delve into her past because her name is on the list and she is the next target. A few years ago she testified against her ex-boyfriend Seamus O’Grady (Justin Theroux), he has just been released from prison, still holds a grudge against her, and could be behind the killings. The mission is beyond even the combined talents of the Angels, so they enlist help in the form of Bosley (Bernie Mac), who is extremely keen to take part in their adventures.

I am not going to mince my words in this review when I say that Charlie’s Angels Full Throttle is a poor sequel which I would even deem the worst movie of the summer. I enjoyed the original movie (something most people wouldn’t admit to!), I appreciate that it was extremely over the top but even so it was relatively entertaining, and passed the time. The same cannot be said for this sequel. The action stunts are more elaborate but sadly the special effects do not match the ideas! If you have read any of my previous reviews you will know that I like action films, in fact if a film has plenty of believable action scenes then I am a happy bunny, however the stunts in Full Throttle are unrealistic and stupid. An example of this is a bike race midway through the movie, where we have a bad guy back flipping from his bike, at the same time shooting at the angels while in midair, and then to top it all off he lands comfortably back on his bike (see image below!). The whole motorcross scene is littered with improbable stunts, which never look real and the sequence left me laughing due to its stupidity. Saying that, the fight scenes have moved up a notch and actually work quite well, that’s if you don’t mind plenty of wirework in the process. There are also some other entertaining scenes, for instance the strip scene will leave many young men wanting more. More often than not, the most enjoyable scenes are the ones which are down-to-earth.

Charlie's Angels Full Throttle (Unrated)
The only slightly redeeming aspect of this movie is the performance from the main characters. Diaz, Barrymore and Lucy Liu all seemed to have had a good time making this film. It’s fair to say that their acting abilities were never put to the test, but they appeared enthusiastic throughout and seemed to be having a whale of a time in the process. It’s a good job that the girls are on form because the plot is non-existent and just acts as a means for the Angels looking pretty and dressing up in numerous skimpy outfits. Now that statement may leave some of you thinking ‘well that’s what the original was about!’, and you are quite right, however Full Throttle lacks the fun and imagination of the original, and left me looking at my watch to see how long was left. I will definitely look back at this movie as two hours of my life wasted, the only redeeming factor is I didn’t have to pay to watch it!

Video
Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment have presented this movie with its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1, which also happens to be anamorphically enhanced. Usually I would be brave enough to bet my house on a recent Hollywood movie receiving a brilliant DVD transfer, and to some extent my house would have been safe with this release, however there are some elements of it which are below par. I’ll talk about the positives first; the most impressive of these is the colour reproduction which I would rank as the most vibrant I have seen in a long while. The colours are positively radiant and rich, while the black levels also have an impressively solid feel to them. There are lots of bright day time scenes scattered throughout he movie, and these are reproduced in striking fashion, while the night scenes are also accurately represented.

The image itself for the most part is crystal clear, and what you would expect from a movie that is less than six months old. There were no signs of grain and the print is in pristine condition. Edge enhancements are visible occasionally, but my main gripe with this transfer is the excessive use of compression artifacts, something which I can only put down to the extras that are loaded onto this 1 disc release. This isn’t a bad transfer, but you will definitely come across better this year.

Audio
Fairing slightly better is the English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack that is included with this release. The main action scenes are given a good foundation to work on; the rears are put to good use with bikes whizzing past and other effects also making their way to the back speakers. Like the first movie, Full Throttle has a good musical score which also occasionally makes its way to the rears. The bass levels are also impressive, and dialogue levels are spot-on, meaning that even during some of the noisier scenes the dialogue was perfectly audible. This soundtrack doesn’t quite match the superbit release of the first movie, but it is a mighty fine attempt!

Also featured on this disc is a French Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack which will obviously appeal to French speakers. Subtitles are provided in English, French and Korean, and English Closed Captions.

Charlie's Angels Full Throttle (Unrated)
Extras
As the review title mentions this is review of the unrated version of Charlie’s Angels Full Throttle. Having not seen the film in the cinema it is hard for me to comment on what extra scenes have been added, but I am assured by people in the know that the only additions to movie are a few extra punches in the fight scenes and that’s about it.

Now onto the extras, and the first ones you will come across on this disc are the commentaries. There are two to choose from, the first being a director’s commentary called McG's Telestrator Commentary. This commentary is full of information and is actually fun to listen to as well. McG is really enthusiastic about the movie and this comes across throughout the commentary. If you love the film, this is one commentary you won’t want to miss out on. Complimenting the director’s commentary is a Writers Commentary, which is also full of facts which fans will love, but it also goes into detail about the reasons for certain scenes within the movie, something which is missing from the directors commentary.

Next up on the list is Angel-Vision Trivia Track, which gives you the option of playing the movie with a special popup box that appears occasionally. When selected, the box reveals fun facts and interesting info on the making of the movie. The facts are activated by pressing the enter key on your remote control. The next extra is something I haven't come across so far in my time reviewing DVDs. The extra is called Cameo-graphy and allows you to select from a list of cameo actors who are featured in the movie. If you select a particular actor then you are given a paragraph about the person and then their relevant scene from the movie is played.

The next section is entitled featurettes, and within this section you will find eight featurettes in total. The first one is called Pussycat Dolls and focuses on the very entertaining strip scene in the movie. Each of the actresses talk about their memories from the scene, plus you also get to hear from the Pussycats who are a real-life professional strip group. This featurette lasts for five minutes and for obvious reasons is guaranteed to keep most mens' attention! The next featurette is titled Rolling with the punches. It lasts for six minutes and focuses on the fight scenes in the movie. Apparently this time the cast were a lot more prepared for the movie, the actresses talk about how they were physically better prepared and found it easier to deal with some of the gruelling scenes. This featurette shows lots of behind the scenes footage and there is also some input from Cheung-Yan Yeun, who dealt with the fight scenes in the movie. The third featurette is called XXX- Treme Angels and deals exclusively with the motorcross scene in the movie. Even though I wasn't impressed with this scene in the movie, this featurette is actually very interesting and in-depth; several real-life motorcross drivers are also interviewed and give their insight on the scene.

Full Throttle is the next featurette which involves the director showing off some of the vehicles from the movie. This featurette lasts for around seventeen minutes. The next featurette will probably appeal to female audiences. It is titled Designing Angels and as the title suggests it focuses on how the Angels were brought to the big screen. The other three featurettes are titled There's no such thing as a short shot. Only an overworked producer, Angels Makeover: Hansen Dam and Dream Duds. The pick of these featurettes is the final one which focuses on designs from the movie and then you are shown the end results from the movie. This is basically a four minute music video which shows various design drawings from the movie.

Charlie's Angels Full Throttle (Unrated)
Next up on the disc you will find an extra titled Full Throttle Jukebox. This features twelve songs from the movie, which are accompanied by an introduction. The songs are talked through, their existence in the movie is justified by the director and the relevant scene from the movie is then played. Following along the same lines is a music video by Pink. The song chosen is the artist's recent hit single 'Feel Good Time' which also features William Orbit. I am a great fan of this song, so in my opinion this is a good addition to the extras list.

Video games are focused on next with the bizarrely named extra Sony Pictures Exclusive Charlie's Angels: Angel X Online Game. This is a DVD-Rom exclusive where you can play an online game. The next extra is called Shop the Scene and this particular extra allows you to visit an exclusive Charlie's Angels online shop. Once again this is a DVD-Rom extra and has to be accessed from a PC. Filmographies are next up and ten crew and cast members are featured. The final section on this disc contains six trailers, all of which are Columbia Tristar movies. Within this section among others are trailers for Bad Boys II and S.W.A.T.

Overall
The essence behind the original Charlie’s Angels movie was fun, fun and more fun! This just about worked in 2000, but for Full Throttle the creators decided to push the boundaries a little further and sadly in my opinion it has backfired on them. The fight scenes are an improvement over the first movie, but sadly that is where this sequel finishes in the superiority stakes. Most of the action scenes look fake and even when they don’t, the stunts are so unbelievable that you will probably be left cringing! As for the disc, Columbia Tristar must be praised for the number of extras they have packed onto this 1 disc release. Two discs may have been a better option as the transfer suffers slightly from cramming so much on, however the soundtrack is a solid effort. If you loved the movie then don’t hesitate in making this a purchase, however if you are looking for an impulse buy I would definitely look elsewhere.


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