OBLITERATED – A No-Spoiler Review of this series that feels like a 1980s teen comedy

Podcast Episode

OBLITERATED – A No-Spoiler Review of this series that feels like a 1980s teen comedy

OBLITERATED – A No-Spoiler Review discusses this hot Netflix spy comedy series. It isn't for everyone – is it for you?

OBLITERATED – A No-Spoiler Review discusses this hot new Netflix spy comedy series.  We liken it to a 1980s teen comedy.  It is raunchy and touches on a few hot topics.  While it isn’t for everyone – is it for you?  It is a spy series at its core!

Is OBLITERATED worth your time?

We’ll give you enough information here to help you decide if you want to watch OBLITERATED.  Will it be worth YOUR time?

Given that this movie is raunchy and hits on a few hot topics, we’ll dig into the areas that some people might not like.  We are certain that a small portion of the population will not like this series.  Why?  That part of the discussion is a warning!  We’ll flag the issues, and if they are a problem for you, move on to the next movie or series.   If not, watch on!

Watch all eight 45-minute episodes.  The series is quite funny and entertaining – maybe!

There is some talent here in the main characters and the actors who play them, and the characters are well developed and work well as a team.

So, while OBLITERATED isn’t for everyone, we think many will like it.  “Be in the know” – OBLITERATED is a spy series so you must take a listen!

You can check out all of our CRACKING THE CODE OF SPY MOVIES podcast episodes on your favorite podcast app or on our website.

What did you think?

What did you think of this episode, OBLITERATED – A No-Spoiler Review?  Did you watch the OBLITERATED?  Please send us your thoughts to: Info@spymovienavigator.com

Webpage:  https://bit.ly/3tgJbZl

More Episodes

KANDAHAR – No-Spoiler Review!

In this episode, KANDAHAR - No-Spolier Review, we look at this new spy movie and let you know if we think it is worth your time and money.

ARGYLLE– No-Spoiler Review

In this Argylle – No-Spoiler Review we look at Matthew Vaughan’s latest movie. Is it worth your time? Listen to hear our thoughts.

MY SPY (2020) – A Quick-Fire Look

Watch the Video Version of this podcast Join Dan and Tom in Cracking the Code of My Spy - the first spy movie released by a major studio in 2020 - and it's not in theaters!  It's on Amazon Prime!

Keep current! Join Our Email List

Keep up to date with our latest and greatest spy movie finds. (See our Privacy Policy)

The Courier – A Quick-Fire Review

Related: The Courier – A No-Spoiler Quick-Fire Look

Contributed by: Tom Pizzato - Spy Movie Navigator

Posted on
Cracking the Code of Spy Movies

I just did something I hadn’t done since last September.  I went to a movie theater here in the US.  What brought me to the theater for the first time since Tenet?  The spy movie that just released in the US The Courier. So, join me as I take a quick-fire look at the 2021 movie The Courier.

We have recorded this article as a podcast.  You can play it here by pressing the red arrow below if you’d rather listen than read.


I will try to keep the spoilers to a minimum here as I am aware that this movie has a staggered release schedule and isn’t being released in the UK until mid-May, France and Turkey won’t get it until mid-June. I assume it will stream sometime after that.

Why Is Spy Movie Navigator Reviewing The Courier?

One of the things we, at Spy Movie Navigator do when examining movies is to look at influences for a movie:  Either real life events or how one movie influences another.   For instance, the vault scene in the 1996 movie Mission: Impossible was heavily influenced by both a scene in the 1964 movie Topkapi as well as the second episode, called The System, of the 1988 reboot of the “Mission: Impossible” tv show.   Since The Courier is based on real world events, it is right in our wheelhouse.

IronBark, The Courier, and the story of Greville Wynne and Oleg Penkovsky

The Courier debuted at the 2020 Sundance Festival just before the pandemic hit.  At the time, it went by the name Ironbark, which was the codename of the main Russian character in the story, Oleg Penkovsky, played wonderfully by Merab Ninidze.  Benedict Cumberbatch gives yet another stellar performance in the role of the British main character, Greville Wynne.

Many spy fans already know the basics of the true story of Greville Wynne and Oleg Penkovsky so I’m comfortable relating some of the facts behind this movie, without hitting on spoilers.  I will refrain from exposing the movie’s twists and main tension points so that you can keep listening and still enjoy the movie when you see it.

The basic story is that a travelling salesman, with no military, government, or intelligence background was enticed by MI-6 to act as a go-between for MI-6 and a Russian Spy named Oleg Penkovsky.

Penkovsky passed information to the West, often through Wynne.  Penkovsky loved Russia, but not the Soviet Union and he really didn’t trust Khrushchev. He was a well-decorated lieutenant colonel in the GRU which was the Soviet Union’s foreign-intelligence agency which is why he had access to the detailed information he passed on.

The information that Penkovsky passed through Wynne would play a major role in the US response to the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 between the US and the Soviet Union.

The Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962

In case you aren’t familiar with the Cuban Missile Crisis, let me give you a short very high-level recap.  The US deployed ballistic missiles in Turkey and Italy.  In response, the Soviet Union built the infrastructure in Cuba, only 90 miles from Florida, to launch ballistic missiles.  A war of words between US President, John F. Kennedy, who ordered a blockade of ships going to Cuba, and Soviet First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev finally ended with the Soviets dismantling the Cuban-based missiles.  This event is considered to be the closest the two countries every have gotten to a full-scale nuclear war.

The information from Penkovsky alerted the US to the Soviet buildup in Cuba.

This really happened and wasn’t just something that screenwriter Tom O’Connell made up.

Ok, so that’s as much of the plot as I want to give away.

So, let’s talk about the non-spoiler stuff in The Courier.

The Spy Stuff in The Courier

This is a spy movie, in part.  It has the intrigue and tension of spy stuff like brush passes, dead drops, and other stealthy activities.  It also has the KGB monitoring people, key ladies in the tourist hotels monitoring everything that goes on (which was reality in the Soviet Union for travelers), people being captured getting hoods placed over their heads, people being shot or poisoned. There are even a few gadgets like a mini camera.  James Bond uses an almost identical camera in Moonraker in 1979.  One gadget I really liked was a hidden drawer-within-a-drawer in Penkovsky’s desk.  I thought that was really cool.

In short, this is a spy movie.   There is danger all through the movie that the principals could be caught which any spy movie needs.

The Courier is not an action thriller à la James Bond, Mission Impossible and the Bourne.  There are no high-end stunts or long crazy car chases in this movie.   Rather, think of it closer to something like the 2007 movie, Breach which was about Robert Hanssen or maybe Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.  Both of those movies were good spy movies without a lot of action, just intrigue and suspense.

Relationships and Loyalty

Earlier I said this was a spy movie, in part.  I saw this movie with my lovely wife.  As we were driving home, she said “that wasn’t really a spy movie, it was a movie about friendship and loyalty.”    I think that is an excellent way to look at this movie.  Yes, this was about real-life espionage, but the root of the movie was about the unlikely and deep real friendship of the two main characters.  These two guys who were thrown together by fate ended up spending a lot of time together.  They went out on the town often and even met each other’s wife and child. It would have been very unusual for a foreigner to meet a Soviet Diplomat’s spouse and children during the cold war.  I think that strengthens the depiction of the Bond between them.

We also have to remember that these two could talk with each other about what they were doing, but couldn’t mention it to anyone else, not even their own wives.  They needed to trust each other.

At one point in the movie Penkovsky is asked by Wynne’s young son why the Soviets hate the British.  Penkovsky’s response nails the movie.  He says that it is the politicians who hate the other politicians.  The people don’t hate the other people.  That explains the relationship well.

The Cast and Crew

The 2 leads, Merab Ninidze and Benedict Cumberbatch were excellent.   Ninidze was nominated for the 2020 British Independent Film Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance.  I was surprised that Cumberbatch wasn’t up for the Best Actor nomination.  Especially in the last ¼ of the film (again no spoilers here), he was amazing.   I do want to know what he did for three months to lose the 20 pounds of weight he needed to for that last part of the movie.  He said it was horrible losing the weight.

The supporting roles were well acted as well.   Rachel Brosnahan as Emily Donovan, representing the CIA along with Angus Wright, playing Dickie Franks (who was a real guy, unlike Emily) were very good in their roles. Jessie Buckley turned in a very strong performance as Greville’s wife who was kept in the dark about what her husband was doing.   I also thought that whoever cast Keir Hills as Greville’s young son deserves a mention.  This young man really looks like he could be Cumberbatch’s son and he performed his role well.

One person on the crew I’d like to call out is Keith Madden, who was the costume designer.  Both my wife and I commented on how good the costuming was in this movie.  But, unfortunately the wigs on the women were hideous, just awful.

Although very Accurate, There Are Some Liberties Taken

Ok, so although the story behind this movie is true, some fact bending does occur here.  Normally that drives me nuts. But it seems to work here. Part of that is because this is a movie about their relationship.   The last ¼ of the movie goes in and out between what really happened and fiction. A very pivotal scene is a conversation Penkovsky and Wynne have.  In real-life, this conversation never happened.  However, it was a very nice way to bring home the relationship these two guys had. They really cared about each other and this scene showed it. You’ll know the scene I’m talking about when you see it.

Also, in this last part of the movie, Wynne has some tough things to deal with.  This is where Cumberbatch’s acting really soared for me.  I don’t want to give it away, but you will be impressed when you see it, and a large part of that was true to what Wynne really experienced in real life.

As is common in movies about real-world events, characters are often amalgamations of several people.  This is true here, especially with the role of the CIA contact, Emily Donovan, played by Rachel Brosnahan.  She didn’t exist in real life but according to the movie’s director, Dominick Cooke, she represented many real-life people: most notably, Janet Chisholm.  She was the wife of a British officer and also was used by Penkovsky to pass information.

The Big Question From The Movie

One more thing that fascinated me comes in first part of the movie.   We see two tourists in Russia stopped by a man, and they are asked to deliver something.  This was right out of the blue for them.  They weren’t spies, they didn’t know who was asking or why there were being asked.  They were told it was very important.   What would you do in that situation?  Imagine: it’s the Cold War, you are a tourist in the Soviet Union and someone hands you an envelope and asks you to deliver it for them. What would you do?

A little bit later in the movie, Greville Wynne meets Dickie Franks for lunch.  He’s met Franks only once before.   Wynne is a travelling salesman, not a spy, just a regular guy.   Well, at this lunch he’s asked to become a courier as he finds out that this person works for MI-6.  He’s told that because he is just a salesman, no one would be watching.  Oh, and you can’t tell your spouse.  What would you do in this situation?  This one is a bit different because it’s for Queen and Country.

To me, this are two of the most thought-provoking scenes from the movie.   “Here, please deliver this for me” or “your country needs you, we need you to perform espionage”.

I’ll leave you with one question:  What would you do if you were placed in this situation? How would you, not the people in the movie, not the people from the real-world scenario.  But you. The person reading this article.  What would you do to when presented with those two situations, especially during the Cold War.  Fascinating stuff.

So, that’s about all I want to give away in this quick-fire look at The Courier.  I think any movie fan will like this one, especially if they are not expecting an action movie.

You can find more articles and podcasts like this one on our website, https://spymovienavigator.com.  You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  You can subscribe to our show Cracking the Code of Spy Movies right now on your favorite podcast app. And you’ll find us on YouTube as well.

Let us know what you think of this by either clicking on the red button to the right and leaving us a voice message, or clicking here and send us a message.

Related Content

The Courier – A No-Spoiler Quick-Fire Look

Join us as we take a quick-fire look at the spy thriller, THE COURIER, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Merab Ninidze!

Charlie’s Angels (2019) – A Quick-Fire Look

Contributed by:

Posted on

A quick look at Charlie’s Angels (2019) from Spy Movie Navigator

Spy Movie Navigator recently published a podcast discussing the 2019 movie Charlie’s Angels. You can get that podcast here (Link) This article is a synopsis of that podcast..

At Spy Movie Navigator, we’re releasing these Cracking the Code of Spy Movies Quick-Fire episodes shortly after we see a new spy movie. We’ll still focus on the interrelationships that happened between the new film and prior movies as well as real-life events. So, let’s look at the November 2019 release of the movie Charlie’s Angels.

This one’s a bit interesting for us as we wouldn’t have examined the Charlie’s Angels movies from the early 2000s because they advertise themselves as a detective movie. The marketing around this version in 2019 was heavily around calling these women’s spies.

The beginning of this movie hammers home a girl-power theme. This was written, produced, directed and acted by Elizabeth Banks. She really took this towards this whole girl-power thing. That might be a potential reason why the box office for the opening weekend was considered a flop. We’re going to talk more about the box office a little bit later, but this girl power thing runs throughout the movie.

Similarities to other Spy Movies or Real-World Events
Our goal at Spy Movie Navigator and our Cracking the Code of Spy Movies podcasts is to highlight the interrelationships of a spy movie with other spy movies or real-world events. So, let’s look at those with Charlie’s Angels.

Pre-Title Sequence
There is a pre-title sequence of course because it’s popular and in other spy movies. And quite frankly our opinion is if you’ve seen other spy movies, you’ve seen this movie anyway. There is a pre-title sequence where they show how strong these women are and how they could just beat the hell out of evil men, which is important in this movie.

The Movie’s Plot
The plot of the movie involves an energy system called Calisto that can bring clean energy to the world. But Elena, the key programmer for this program, thinks there’s a flaw in the programming. She believes Calisto could be weaponized and used to assassinate people by disrupting the neural network of a person’s body and that it could be triggered remotely.  This theme really reminds us of Mission: Impossible II. In that movie, you had the Chimera virus. The Chimera virus was created to create a virus so that the antidote that they had already created, Bellerophon, could be sold. This virus would take over people and end up eventually killing them. They had the antidote and there were people trying to stop the antidote from happening.

Peter Fleming
There are a lot of things in this film that you have seen in other spy films or from other real-life things like the main adversary’s name. At the beginning of the movie, the main adversary is the boss. His name is Peter Fleming. Ian Fleming’s brother was named Peter Fleming. So, is that a little homage to our great friend Ian Fleming? Tom’s thinking is yes. Dan thought it was just a cheap ploy.

Bosley’s Retirement Party
If you’re familiar with the TV show or from prior Charlie’s Angels movies, you have the angels or the three main characters and you’ve got a character named Bosley who’s kind of like the Angel’s boss, and then there’s somebody named Charlie who actually controls everything. Patrick Stewart plays one of the Bosley, John Bosley, and he’s going to retire and so they have a retirement party for him. This scene kind of reminds us of a scene in the movie Kingsman: The Secret Service. When an agent dies in Kingsman, all the agents get together. There are holograms and they all toast.

In Charlie’s Angels, instead of holograms, they had video clips of other Bosleys (there are supposedly multiple Bosleys in different areas of the world). Each of these Bosleys toasts the retiring John Bosley and wish him farewell. So once again, it’s a slight twist on something you’ve seen in another spy movie. They show all these images and clips from the past as they did in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. If we remember in that movie, when they were introducing George Lazenby as the new Bond, we saw images, through the martini glass, with scenes from Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, and You Only Live Twice.

It is important to point that if you didn’t know those other movies, it wouldn’t have affected your viewing of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. If you didn’t know the other Charlie’s Angel movies or television show, seeing those things wouldn’t necessarily impact your viewing of it. So, if you saw the TV series you may have a different feel than somebody who may not have. Our point is that this stuff’s been done before. You’ll hear this theme from us throughout this article.

Exotic Locations
Where does the movie open up? It opens up in Rio de Janeiro, but where do the angels travel? Exotic places? They go to Istanbul. Who else went to Istanbul? Well, for one, James Bond goes there in From Russia With Love. There is a lot of stuff in Istanbul. Where else did they go? Rio de Janeiro, Istanbul, Hamburg, and Berlin. They’re not in Chicago. They’re not in Peoria, Illinois. No, they are going to exotic places just like every other spy movie.

Another thing that is a tie back to the TV series is you a speakerphone and or a box, the speakerphone, and you’ve got Charlie’s voice coming out of it. Remember that the angels report to Bosley, Bosley reports to Charlie, and you never see Charlie’s face. It’s only a voice that’s coming out of the speaker-phone. Now there’s a twist at the end around the girl power stuff. I’m not going to give that away, but that’s another tie back to the original show.

Cheesy Dialogue
In the original television show, they also had some pretty cheesy dialogue. They replicated that concept in this movie. For instance, there is a scene where somebody is getting chased and there’s gunfire. One of the characters says, “Oh my God, you’re not a waitress” and “is that a tank?”, “they’re shooting at us?”. They leave a restaurant where one of the angels was playing a waitress and then this chase happens with this really bad dialogue. Right. The one that just really was cringe-worthy was this gem: “you had a person in my Louis the 14th what is wrong with you?” That doesn’t sound like a quip kind of a thing you’d get out of some of the other spy movies. That sounded like a Bobcat Goldthwait line. Their quips failed miserably, and they were actually, they weren’t delivered all that well either. They’re written poorly and delivered poorly in many cases.

Car Chase
Of course, there’s the mandatory car chase scene. The bad guy’s car has a mounted machine gun. It looks like a Tommy Gun: Not exactly as much finesse as Q’s stuff for Bond. But of course, they had to have this built-in machine-gun thing chasing them. Dan didn’t like this, but Tom thought it was kind of cool. He unloads a thousand rounds; he finally hits a window of the car. Remember, he’s not aiming, he’s driving. The same stuff happens in Bond movies too. So, we’ll let that go.

In these car chase scenes first, they’ve got some pretty high-powered cars. They’ve got some high-end Audi’s. They’ve also got a Lamborghini which ends up in the river. Let’s see, where did we just see that? The car chase scene that ends in the river. Maybe we’re thinking of Spectre. This is another thing we’ve seen in other movies, but that’s okay.

The Gadgets
Another concept spy movies tend to have are gadgets. And the first gadget we see is this camera lens mounted to a cell phone. Sabina, who was the character played by Kristen Stewart has this thing on her mobile phone. These lenses actually exist. You can get those today. So that’s not a really high-tech gadget, but it’s the first one we see in this movie.

When you think about gadgets in Mission: Impossible, you had Jack as the Q-type character from the Bond movies. You’ve got the person who kind of introduces the gadgets to the spies. And in this case, it’s a guy they call the Saint. And this guy does more than just the gadgets. He rubs their back. He has a lot of talents. He cooks. He’s a Q-type guy, and he’s everything for these women.

The gadgets in this movie aren’t numerous though. There are only a few of them that they use. There’s the gun that we just talked about in the car chase scene. There is a gadget they use to put men to sleep. They press it on the guy’s neck, and it puts him out.

We then have one scene where Sabina uses peel-off fingerprints. Now again, this isn’t unique. Where have we seen this before? Think back to Diamond’s Are Forever from 1971. So, 48 years later they get an idea: Hey, let’s use peel-off fingerprints, that would be new.

Now to be fair, if you go to a museum-like SPYSCAPE in New York, you’ll find some things being used now that were being used 50 years ago. Part of what we do in our examinations of movies is to look at things that have been “borrowed” from other spy movies. Almost all spy movies do this do some degree. However, this movie seems to have borrowed almost everything in the movie. In our opinion, if you’ve seen a few spy movies, you’ve seen this one already.

The Gadget Room

For those of you who saw Kingsman: The Secret Service there is a dressing room with a closet. It’s the room where they go and get their suits, shoes, and accessories. There is a door that they open up and all the guns and ammunition and the gadgets are in this room.

Not surprisingly, they have something almost identical in Charlie’s Angels. Instead of the nice suits, the closet is filled with very stylish women’s clothing. This really feels like a cheap rip-off of the Kingsman scene, not an homage. Been there, done that.

The Assassin
There is an assassin in this movie named Hodak. He’s played by Jonathan Tucker. To me, he had an eerie resemblance to T1000 in Terminator 2, the character played by Robert Patrick. He was tatted up in Charlie’s Angels, but in Terminator 2 he wasn’t. But he had the same kind of expression and the same kind of drive as T1000. Every time we saw him, I kept thinking back to that character in Terminator 2.

Some type of affair
I love the scene where there are six prototypes of the Calista thing in the vault, in their safe. They have to get in there somehow and get these out. We’re not going to tell you everything that happened in the movie. Go see the movie if you want.

However, when the three angels go in there with Elena we get another “Hmm. I wonder where they got that idea” scene. The three women are dressed identically. They’ve got on the same wig. The security guards are watching on camera,It is interesting that their skin tones are different, but the guards don’t pick up on that.  I kind of thought it was a little humorous that they didn’t catch them. Now, they do show a lot of them from the back. But the security guys are trying to figure out which one is this Elena character and they don’t know that it’s not the same one. But all of a sudden Elena is on floor five then she’s on floor two and, and it’s like how is she doing this? And it’s, they’re seeing this thing where it looks like it’s the same person in all these different places, which I thought was unique. 

No, no one has ever done this kind of thing except, oh wait, maybe The Thomas Crown Affair with Pierce Brosnan. They do the same thing in that movie as well. It was done actually really well in The Thomas Crown Affair but in Charlie’s Angels, it seemed like a low budget version of it.

The Bathroom Fight Scene
Another thing that was kind of coincidental was the fight scene in the bathroom stall. Where have we seen bathroom fight scenes in spy movies before? This is unique stuff they’re coming up with here. Hmm. Let see: Mission: Impossible – Fallout had an amazing one. Although that uses more of the bathrooms, not just the stall. This was interesting because it was just a stall. There’s an Austin Powers where there’s as scene kind of like that. Casino Royale has a big bathroom scene there. But this one was just a stall. So that part was unique. And then you’ve got, I mean, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li in 2009. You’ve got True Lies, The Matrix, Man from Nowhere, Terminator 3, and even Bee Movie (that 2007 animated movie) all have a fight scene in the bathroom. I guess Charlie’s Angels twist is that it was only in the stall.

Other Fight Scenes
There are a bunch of fight scenes in this movie.  However, some of them mimic fight scenes that we’ve seen before. 

You’ve got them running on top of equipment and jumping from a piece of equipment to a piece of equipment outside. They were in a stone quarry, and they’re jumping from one scaffolding kind of thing or crane kind of thing to another. Geez. I don’t know. I had to really think hard on this one. There might’ve been a Bond movie with that scene in 2006. Then they’re on a conveyor. They’re fighting on a conveyor belt that delivers rocks that are going to get crunched up cruncher into a crusher. Oh, and then boom, they’re falling. Of course, they fall into the crusher. And where have we seen something like that? Oh, wait, this is how Dario dies in Licence to Kill. That was 1989. So, again: been there, done that. Seen it before.

Getting the Point
We see a death where somebody gets impaled on an ice sculpture. Here, not only are they taking scenes from other movies…

This guy gets thrown off a balcony and he lands on a table with ice sculpture things  one of them was a big kind of horn or pointy thing. He gets impaled on that. And wait a minute, what’s the line? She says, “he got the point”. Oh, like in Thunderball. (typed with as much sarcasm as possible) I was thinking this was unique. In Thunderball when Bond shoots Vargas with the speargun. Bond says, “I think he got the point”. Yeah, so it’s not even just the scenes, but the dialogs are getting” paid homage” to.

It wasn’t all bad
At the end of the movie, they’re training Elena to become an angel. They have some cameos in there that I actually kind of liked. They had very strong women. Real-life women in cameo roles teaching Elena how to do things. So, look quickly, we won’t spoil it for you yet, but they’re in there. And that I actually thought that that was kind of a fun, powerful message.

Other fun scenes
There were a couple of scenes in the movie where it was kind of fun. There’s a scene with a racetrack that was kind of fun. there were a couple of things like that where you thought, okay, it’s kind of fun. And it was amusing for about five minutes. So yeah, we’ll give credit for that.

Maybe we were the wrong audience
Obviously, Charlie’s Angels (2019) was not our favorite movie, but I will also say we weren’t likely the target audience. Dan and Tom are a couple of middle-aged guys that were around and saw the TV show when it was on in the 1970s. At the time they called it jiggle TV.

This movie is trying to pull away from that stigma with these characters. And it actually does that. Elizabeth Banks who wrote this movie said: “if this movie doesn’t make money, it reinforces a stereotype in Hollywood that men don’t go to see women do action movies.” So, that’s kind of her thoughts or her thinking, I think is, you know, I’m not creating this movie for Dan and Tom. So, it’ll be interesting to see if this thing gets legs with the teen to mid-twenties women.

The Box Office
We did a podcast that we called The Spies Who Loathe Me about James Bond (Link). We talked a lot about box office. The headlines in November, when this Charlie’s Angels movie released, are talking about how big a flop it is. This movie costs $48 million to make. So, on opening weekend, in the US it only opened with $8.3 million with the three lead female characters in this thing. Worldwide gross is $27.6 million. Are we too far removed from the TV show that the TV show fans are going to come and see this? Who are the fans of that show? We don’t know.

If we look at more current female-led spy movies and look at the box office. We think they’re trying to capitalize on that. But it’s interesting because Red Joan came out, they released it at film festivals and the opening weekend for that movie was only $38,000. With Anna, which came out in 2019, opening weekend was $3.6 million. This is actually worse than what Charlie’s Angels did. So, you may be Elizabeth has a point, but then we moved to something like Red Sparrow, which had $16.8 million on opening. Atomic Blonde opened with $18.2 million. Those were good movies. The original Charlie’s Angels movies in 2000 and 2003 opened with $40 million gross and $37.6 million gross. So, either something big has happened in the last couple of years with this, putting the female spies in the lead, or this movie is just missing the mark. We think they’re missing the mark.

The Wrap Up
Charlie’s Angels is a fun movie and they do promote strong women in this film, which is great. There are a lot of other similarities that we’re not going to tell you about because some of them are major similarities that will make you think, oh I’ve seen this already. But we’re not going to tell you that in case you want to go see it.

If you’re reading this and you are younger than Dan and Tom, you might not catch all the nuances or the non-nuanced copying that was being done in this film from other movies which would be great for you as you aren’t coming in with biases we have.

If you’ve seen some of the other major spy movies in the last 10 years, you’re likely to say, “Oh yeah” on some things.

However, if we look at either of our daughters, who are in their mid-twenties, they probably don’t have a Charlie’s Angels background. They probably don’t have as thorough of a Bond understanding or Mission: Impossible understanding as we do. So, they may actually appreciate this movie.

Obviously, you can tell Dan and Tom didn’t really love this movie, but if you’re the target audience: Hey, go ahead.

And as we go forward and we continue these Quick-Fire podcasts and articles that we’re creating here, we’ll keep them going. And they’re not going to all be this negative. This is just the first one we happened to see since coming up with this idea and we’re being honest.

We’re showing you where these ideas came from. That’s all. That’s what we do. We’re looking for connections between these movies and how one impacts another. Just not expecting the whole movie to be “borrowed” from other movies. Charlie’s Angels was almost engulfed by everything that happened before it.

So, thanks for joining us as we continue cracking the code of spy movies with our first quick-fire episode. This is Tom Pizzato and Dan Silvestri from SpyMovieNnavigator.com: spy movie podcasts, videos, discussions, and more. Please continue to listen to our podcasts and subscribe to our show or your favorite podcast app.

Cracking the Code of Spy Movies – A Look at 2019 and A Look Ahead to 2020

Podcast Episode

Cracking the Code of Spy Movies – A Look at 2019 and A Look Ahead to 2020

Join Tom and Dan in our 2019 wrap-up podcast of our Cracking the Code of Spy Movies show! Here, we include clips from all of our 2019 podcasts - take a listen, find ones that interest you and subscribe (free) to our Cracking the Code of Spy Movies show and listen to the full episodes! We end the episode with a look ahead at the spy movies we are anticipating in 2020.

Join Tom and Dan in our 2019 wrap-up podcast of our Cracking the Code of Spy Movies show! Here, we include clips from all of our 2019 podcasts – take a listen, find ones that interest you and subscribe (free) to our Cracking the Code of Spy Movies show and listen to the full episodes!  We end the episode with a look ahead at the spy movies we are anticipating in 2020.

Happy New Year and thank you to all our listeners around the world! We are humbled that our spy movie community has downloaded our podcasts in 29 countries so far!

Related Content

We look back on all of our podcasts in 2019:

  1. We selected clips from each show, highlighting what the show is all about
  2. Commentary on the clips and the year

Thanks for listening!   We appreciate it very much!

More Episodes

5 Fingers Decoded!

Dan and Tom decode the 1952 classic spy movie 5 FINGERS. Starring James Mason this is a fantastic espionage thriller, not an action thriller.

Trina Parks Talks Thumper And Her Fascinating Career!

Today we are excited to talk with Trina Parks about her career, including her role as Thumper in the James Bond movie DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER.

Steve Oxenrider One of the Biggest James Bond Memorabilia Collectors!

Dan and Tom talk with Steve Oxenrider who just auctioned off one of the largest James Bond collections ever.

Keep current! Join Our Email List

Keep up to date with our latest and greatest spy movie finds. (See our Privacy Policy)


Subscribe on your favorite podcast app