Here we go, 2019, it’s time for a brand new “Charlie’s Angels.” At this point, it’s almost a rite of pop culture passage. The original “Charlie’s Angels” was an over-the-top ABC television show about three women— beautiful crime fighters—but it was the blonde, flowing hair of the late Farrah Fawcett that cemented the television show in the history books. What followed was reboots of the television show into a film with “Charlie’s Angels” (2000) and “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle” (2003). These two films starred Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu. They were ass-kicking badass girls who looked like fashion models.
The new “Charlie’s Angels” opens with Sabina (Kristen Stewart), a daredevil agent, dressed in a blond wig, being charmed by a wealthy gangster tycoon in Rio. He quickly learns that her seduction was a ruse and she proceeds to whoop his ass, something these 2019 Angels love to do.
Written and directed by Elizabeth Banks, the action film is fueled by an inner dialogue which makes for an exciting film. On the eve of the retirement of John Bosley (Patrick Stewart), the founder and mentor who has created an entire corps of Bosleys, Sabina is joined by her fellow Angel, a British beauty named Jane (Ella Balinska), to protect Elena (Naomi Scott). Elena is a brilliant security engineer at Brok Industries who tried and failed to warn the company’s chief executive, Alexander Brok (Sam Claflin), that his innovative product, a crystal that creates electric power, has a built-in flaw making it a must-have for all the international bad guys you can imagine.
Being a whistleblower comes with danger as Elena soon witnesses when she meets Jane in a coffee shop. Waiting to kill her is Hodak (Jonathan Tucker), a hitman with an ugly tattoo sprouting from his neck. He misses, of course, and there is a nail-biting car-chase (naturally). Then the film shifts to the intrigue of espionage moving the action to Istanbul with even more elaborate action sequences. It’s also fun as we take a peek into the Angels’ hideaway, where an easy-going, bearded assistant named Saint (Luis Gerardo Méndez) takes care of them using all methods from Buddhist therapy to the gentle re-socketing of a dislocated rib and home cooking.
As Sabina, Stewart exudes a control even above her colleagues. Naomi Scott as Elena delivers a dynamic and playful performance. And in truth, it’s the chemistry between the three women, with all their quirks, that makes this newest installment work.
The movie moves swiftly because at the core of the film are a series of reversals and double-crosses. Director Banks delivers an action film that does not disappoint. In one of her finest movements, she brings forth a great villain who helps elevate the action film just enough to make it a new classic.