Secret spy organisation Charlie’s Angels has expanded internationally. Sabina (Kristen Stewart) and Jane (Ella Balinska) are a part of a new generation of Angels who are called into action when Elena (Naomi Scott), who later gets recruited to become an Angel herself, blows the whistle on a dangerous energy conservation technology that her company is developing called Calisto. Helping them in their mission is Rebekah "Bosley" (Elzabeth Banks), Edgar "Bosley" (Djimon Hounsou) and John Bosley (Patrick Stewart).
For an action comedy, ‘Charlie’s Angels’ isn’t very funny and its action is quite subpar. CGI around the sequences looks dodgy while the fight choreography is dull and over-edited. Additionally the stunts and stand-ins look completely fake. On the one hand, the movie feels too try-hard and on the other hand, it doesn’t seem to be trying at all. As Banks’ character Bosley reels off old movie references that the young characters around her don’t get, one fears perhaps the actress truly was too out of touch for this project (having written and directed, as well as starred in it), even if she had success helming the latter ‘Pitch Perfect’ films.
‘Charlie’s Angels’ 2019 edition is never all that interesting or unique and everything just feels like it’s going through the motions. You’ve got the girls initially not getting along (one is cold, the other enthusiastic and eager to make friends), all the globetrotting you’d expect of a spy movie, a dance sequence, and a team consisting of the tough, serious gal; the quirky one who never takes anything too seriously, pulling one-liners out of her pocket like lint; and the awkward, nervous, slightly geeky girl who comes out of her shell. Working with such plain character types, nothing all that extraordinary can be said of the performances, though the likeness of Kristen Stewart to Kate McKinnon is frightening. And then of course there’s a ‘Scooby Doo’ twist at the end where it turns out that guy (or girl) was the baddie all along.
There’s an attempt to pay homage to the ‘Charlie’s Angels’ TV series and 2000s films with a crudely edited montage at the start. Moreover, you see Banks really trying to infuse her movie with a sense of “girl power” with a sequence of girls and women from around the world “ruling it”, and a nod to Charlie’s other Angels at the end. There’s even a part in the movie where the team buy the favour of a contact in Istanbul by donating a large amount of women’s hygiene products and the pill to her cause. That’s all well and good, but you still have to construct a good movie around such commendations. And when your spy movie feels more like ‘Sex and the City 2’ (with all the flashy fashion to match) than ‘Mission: Impossible’, there’s something that’s gone seriously wrong.