Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu are back as the hottest crime fighting team on the screen in the sequel to their 2000 hit adapted from the 1970s TV show, the action-comedy Charlie's Angels Full Throttle.
They get their assignments from their boss, Charlie - who is never seen: just a voice from a telephone speaker box - and no matter the danger they get the job done.
Fighting their way out of a warehouse full of thugs or doing daredevil chases on everything from speedboats to motorcycles to sports cars or even teasingly gyrating (in choreographed rhythm, of course) on an exotic dance club stage, Cameron Diaz says Charlie's Angels give their all.
"Whatever the costume is, whatever the character is the Angels are doing they commit to it 100 percent. They don't go halfway," she said. "They do it all the way so wherever they are they don't even question whether or not they're supposed to be there because they're doing it to the best of their ability."
As she did on the original film Drew Barrymore pulls double duty as co-star and producer of the sequel.
"I was so obsessed with the tone of this film because we could have done anything. We could have done a total spoof [like] Austin Powers with Farrah Fawcett hair and a remake of the show, but that seemed a little lazy, seemed like it's been done and it dishonored the show. There was a spearhead to go into a darker, futuristic film ala the Matrix, but that didn't seem correct because the show is very California: fuzzy and warm with girls on sports cars. We had a chance to come back and take it higher and learn from the first one, which is a rare thing in itself."
New for this sequel: comic Bernie Mac replaces Bill Murray as Bosley the Angels' connection to their boss, Charlie. Despite the racial difference, it turns out the two Bosleys are brothers. Of course, there has to be a villain and a bikini-wearing Demi Moore steps out of semi-retirement to play an angry former member of Charlie's Angels hell-bent on revenge.
"When you have an opportunity to participate in a film like this you do get to learn new skills, which is what makes it so much fun taking on something, like martial arts, which I've never done before," she said. "It's very empowering. It's exciting and fun ... not to mention I do have three daughters so I knew I had to hold out telling them this was a possibility because I would have gotten way too much pressure at home to just say 'yes' without any question."
There is a plot, but even director McG - also back from the original film's production team - acknowledges that audiences for Charlie's Angels Full Throttle want action and the beautiful stars wiggling in and out of tight spots in their skimpy or skintight wardrobe.
"We know our role in the fabric of the film community. Ours is the fun antidote to the post-apocalyptic summer and we want to deliver that fun ride that people want to go on," he said. "But you do have to have a story to make resonate and make sense. You can't be gratuitous or you tune out and stop paying attention and stop caring. We have to find that delicate balance and hopefully that's what it takes to make people excited and have them stay with the picture."
So in the end, what sort of role models are Charlie's Angels? Lucy Liu believes there is a positive message to be found.
"I think that it's not so much the idea that you have to go out there and be a spy or be able to kick people around or any of that," she said. "I think it's the idea of a woman who is committed to her job, to what she loves doing, to what she wants to do. At the same time, with all of the characters and personalities that are represented in the second film and that we get to sneak into a look at: what we're doing with the comedy and the costumes and all that is really just about balance and [trying] to find that. Is that really what the movie means? No, but you can get that out of the movie. If that's what you want from the movie, then fantastic. If you just want to come in for a ride, that's fantastic too."
Charlie's Angels Full Throttle chock full of celebrity cameos, including one by a co-star of the original TV show; and John Forsythe is still on the speaker box as the voice of Charlie.