Charlie's Angels - C
Rated PG-13, 119 minutes
The new action sequel "Charlie's Angels" is a fun, albeit bland, continuation of the TV series that started in 1970's and reemerged in the 2000's. This version, directed, written and co-starring "Pitch Perfect's" Elizabeth Banks, doesn't offer much in way of originality but does have a few nice touches with a clever feminist sheen to it.
When Elena (Naomi Scott), a systems engineer blows the whistle on a dangerous technology, she is unwittingly recruited into the network of spies called Charlie's Angels, assisting Sabina (Kristen Stewart), Jane (Ella Ballinsky), and the latest Bosley (Banks) in a long line of Bosley's to stop a mysterious buyer from misusing the technology to kill others.
Personally, I've always been a big fan of the "Charlie's Angels" franchise, probably because some of my first celebrity crushes came with all the original TV Angels, especially Jaclyn Smith, who has a sweet cameo here at the end. This lackluster version of "Charlie's Angels" certainly has energy and style, while lacking a good story (some nonsense about a computer gadget or something) and featuring a rather milquetoast villain (Sam Claflin).
The nice touches have that the Angels are actually part of a global network of Angels spies, and that there are numerous Bosley's who help supervise them (including "Star Trek's" Patrick Stewart, who needs more footage). The downsides are that forgettable plot as well as miscasting the leads. Kristen Stewart, of "Twilight" fame and the name actress here, helps shoulder the film on her back as the rebel Angel, while unknowns Ballinsky and Scott are OK but not strong enough to carry a film. It could've benefited from a more well-known name ala Drew Barrymore to add more color and heft.
I do like the fact that Banks uses "Charlie Angels" add a little modern feminist backbone here, underscoring the idea that women are really in charge; there's nothing wrong with that, now to have a better material and cast to work with. Entertaining, but ultimately forgettable, do stay over through the end credits for some fun cameos.