Charlie’s Angels is a nostalgia-heavy feminist adventure
- Credit: Archant
In 2015, Elizabeth Banks was in fine voice behind the camera of Pitch Perfect 2, propelling the feelgood sequel to bumper box office takings and a clutch of awards.
She is a safe pair of hands to harmonise script and direction of this outlandish globe-trotting escapade based on the popular 1970s TV series, which promoted a brand of girl power distinguished by fabulously coiffed hair and fetishistic figure-hugging couture.
Core messages of female empowerment and sisterly solidarity thrum in every lovingly glossed frame, including an opening titles sequence comprising a montage of girls and women flexing muscles and intellects.
Banks's script gleefully punishes male characters who underestimate the titular heroines and expects her high-kicking Angels to weather as many crunching blows to the face as the nameless hulking henchmen they must disable to save the world.
It's equal opportunities bruising with a theatrical flourish, garnished with
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male eye candy - a handsome scientist (Noah Centineo), a spiritual and physical
well-being guru (Luis Gerardo Mendez) - whose lingering presence barely troubles the gossamer-thin plot.
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Set pieces frequently nod to chauvinistic dinosaur James Bond (a close encounter with a rock crusher echoes Licence To Kill) including an intentionally clumsy pun borrowed wholesale from Thunderball.
After 40 years of dedicated service, John Bosley (Sir Patrick Stewart) retires as senior controller of the Los Angeles-based Townsend Agency, which operates under the aegis of the enigmatic Charlie (voiced by Robert Clotworthy).
John leaves the agency in rude health with elite female operatives, known as Angels, stationed around the globe, fulfilling orders of loyal lieutenants all codenamed Bosley.
In John's absence, another Bosley (Djimon Hounsou) assumes control of a Hamburg rendezvous with whistleblower Elena Houghlin (Naomi Scott), who has evidence that the Calisto energy conservation project pioneered by philanthropist Alexander Brok (Sam Claflin) can be hacked for nefarious means.
"There is the possibility for the harmonic frequency to be reversed," she warns.
The meeting descends into bullet-riddled chaos and two plucky Angels - former MI6 agent Jane Kano (Ella Balinska) and heiress jailbird Sabina Wilson (Kristen Stewart) - intervene to save Elena from tattooed assassin Hodak (Jonathan Tucker).
The ladies regroup with a third Bosley (Elizabeth Banks), who tasks the trio with infiltrating Brok's offices to steal the remaining Calisto devices before they can be weaponised.
Cue various costume changes, hand-to-hand combat and a sequin-studded dance routine to a groovy remix of Donna Summer's disco anthem Bad Girls.
Charlie's Angels blends a familiar cocktail of explosive stunts and wry humour with minimum characterisation and narrative outlay.
Stewart, Balinska and Scott are appealingly feisty and imprint distinct personalities onto their ethnically diverse saviours but their on-screen camaraderie is disappointingly undernourished.
Banks shamelessly panders to nostalgia with throwaway cameos by former Angels over the end credits.
Charlie's Angels is now showing at The Light Cinema in Wisbech. For screening dates, times and tickets visit www.wisbech.lightcinemas.co.uk/charlies-angels