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Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
2003-07-04 tracking life & times section
Improved chemistry makes 'Full Throttle' better Angels movie
Cletus Turner
I was a big fan of the first Charlie's Angels movie. I enjoyed watching the Angels and their, well, farcical adventure.

Now, we see number two in the series and it seems Full Throttle has upped the ante on the farce. Lucy Liu, Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz reprise their roles as Alex, Dylan and Natalie respectively. The three get to pose as nuns and strippers, just to name two of the many disguises the threesome get to wear.

We start our mission in Mongolia as our three ladies break out a high ranking U.S. government official from what amounts to a basement of a bar. Dylan is taking shots to see who will pass out first. Alex has smuggled in in a box and comes out to knock out the bad guys in the basement. The stairs leading from the basement end in a trap door to the bar upstairs. Unfortunately, the guy that Dylan was drinking with passes out and falls on top of the door. Natalie, by this time, has made a grand entrance and rides a mechanical yak. The skin she is showing keep the evil men interested. Meanwhile, Dylan is trying to get the huge, unconscious man off the trap door. Finally, the man's weight added to Dylan's breaks the door in and Alex, Dylan and an FBI agent played by Robert Patrick of Terminator 2 try to sneak out. Natalie's antics can't mask the escape attempt and the three babes end up fighting about 50 armed men. Alex says, "Yeah, it hardly seems fair (for them)." I love the banter, the acerbic wit, the wild repartee. This type of humor was missing from the first movie.

Don't get me wrong, they tried to be humorous in the first film, but most of the jokes came off flat. There is more of a chemistry between the three actresses this time. I think that was the problem in the first Angels. It was hard to believe the three women could be friends. I just didn't see it. This time, the girls are more relaxed around each other. They are having fun with the film and you would believe that these girls would go wild together after the movie filming was over. They just have a certain feel together that makes us believe these girls are friends.

Of course, the stunts are bigger. The beginning sequence deals with a tank, a truck and a helicopter. You have to see it to believe it. Naturally, the stunt couldn't be pulled off in real life without some major revisions in the laws of physics. The point is the fun and excitement the movie brings to the screen.

In many other ways, the film is great because of Demi Moore. I have seen several shows that say that Moore needs acting lessons. I think Demi did an excellent job as Madison Lee, the ex-angel who said, "why would I want to be an angel when I can be God." I think that sums up the character rather nicely.

John Cleese, of Monty Python fame, played Alex's dad. The poor man is given the mistaken impression the three girls are call girls. Jason, Alex's beau played by Friends star Matt LeBlanc, perpetuates the mistake by showing a Swiss Miss costume Alex had worn in the past. This is fun to see and watch the expression of Cleese. I knew he was a funny, but he is even funnier as the straight man. Being able to play both sides of a joke is an extraordinary talent, and Cleese is able to pull the stunt off rather well.

Bruce Willis has a cameo as an FBI agent who is killed to get information that can be sold to the highest bidder. Who do you think gets the honors of killing him? You guessed it, Demi Moore. It was sort of sad to see Bruce in such a short cameo. I wonder how much Demi paid to get to kill Bruce?

Shia LeBeouf, who starred in Holes back in the spring, gets to be on the big screen again as he plays a 15 year-old boy on the run from the mob. He gets to share screen time with Bernie Mac who plays another Bosley. Its seems the Bosley played by Bill Murray was adopted by the Mac-Bosley's mother.

Thus, the two are brothers. In the end of the film, Momma Bosley decides to adopt LeBeouf's character.

Crispin Glover returns as the watered down Thin Man. He has a hair fetish and he and Dylan seem attracted to each other.

Overall, Angels is a good show for those seeking a fun time without too much thinking. If you are expecting Oscar caliber, go somewhere else. However, the fun escapism makes the film one of the most entertaining of the year so far. I laughed more with this film than I did some of the so-called comedies released earlier. Plus, aficionados of music will love the soundtrack.

4 suns

On Wednesday, Terminator 3 and Legally Blonde 2 premiered. It is expected that these two new entrants into the box office will pull the energy from last week's number one movie, Charlie's Angels.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is back in the third installment of the science fiction film to bolster his sagging career. Bombs like Collateral Damage have hurt his leading man status.

If this film doesn't do well, he could go the way of Van Damme and Steven Seagal who have dropped from the higher ranks and are now languishing in quietness somewhere in Hollywood.

Reese Witherspoon, on the other hand, is on another track. She is riding high after the first installment of the Blonde series grossed more than was expected and led to the sequel. She has been paying her dues with such hits as Cruel Intentions and Pleasantville. Now, she is a star in her own right.

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