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|Now You See Me 2|
dir Jon M Chu
scr Ed Solomon
prd Bobby Cohen, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci
with Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Lizzy Caplan, Daniel Radcliffe, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Sanaa Lathan, David Warshofsky, Jay Chou, Tsai Chin
release US 10.Jun.16, UK 4.Jul.16
16/US Summit 2h09
Fool me once: Franco, Caplan, Harrelson and Eisenberg
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
The gang of magicians is back for another galloping heist thriller, this time circling the entire planet as everyone tries to bamboozle each other. Like the first movie, this is sleek and lively entertainment, although it feels oddly unfinished. The plot never properly resolves itself, leaving the audience saying, "Huh?" instead of "Wow!"
Living outside the law, the three remaining Four Horsemen Daniel, Merrit and Jack (Eisenberg, Harrelson and Franco) are joined by Lula (Caplan) as they work with their FBI mastermind Dylan (Ruffalo) to expose corruption using magical pranks. When their latest New York stunt is ambushed, the quartet inexplicably finds themselves in Macau, while Dylan's cover is blown. Now chased by his fellow agents (Lathan and Warshofsky), Dylan heads to Macau to find his cohorts, who have been coerced by a tech genius (Radcliffe) into staging an elaborate heist. Next stop London.
Like the first film, the plot races in a blur, in the hopes that the audience won't notice that none of it holds water. Scenes are packed with sleight of hand and flashy illusions that are enjoyable to watch even though, like the film's larger plot, most sequences are impatiently truncated. And Chu directs with a heavy touch, combining achingly slick trickery with action that appears to have been cleverly staged but is shot and edited into incoherent noise. Although the central sequence involving a playing card is a lot of fun.
The cast is also enjoyable, bouncing off each other with wit and energy. Caplan is a terrifically warped addition to the team, refusing to be the token female (the departure of Isla Fisher's previous lone woman is merely a throwaway line). Harrelson also has some fun with a second role as Merrit's preening twin. Radcliffe is a bundle of energy. And stalwarts Freeman and Caine lend the movie the illusion of gravitas as the previous marks now back in the game.
Even with its clunky plotting and uneven, overviolent tone, this is a watchable caper thriller thanks to the up-for-it cast and the constant stream of visual flourishes. Like the first movie, there's rather too much reliance on digital trickery to create the biggest magical moments. And the premise itself once again presents the problem that the entire story will obviously turn out to be a double or triple bluff. So it's frustrating this time that the climactic plot twists are so murky and pointless.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2016 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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