FILM REVIEW: 'NOW YOU SEE ME 2'

Most of the gang is baông chồng – but the sense of fun that catapulted the original to success is drowned out by desperation in this bigger, louder follow-up crime caper


*


Being a Hollywood sequel, Now You See Me 2 of course comes supersized.

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It’s significantly longer than its predecessor, running over two hours. The first film took a short detour to lớn Paris, but otherwise stayed in the States; Now You See Me 2 jumps from America, to lớn China (in an obvious effort to court the Asian market), and finally lớn Engl&. The plot boasts higher stakes. Its melee of characters has grown to lớn include a hammy new villain, played by Daniel Radcliffe. And Woody Harrelson is baông chồng, playing not one, but two characters … they’re twins.


Now You See Me, a jazzy heist caper that became a surprise hit in the summer of 2013, had an energising bounce khổng lồ it, courtesy of French film-maker Louis Leterrier, even though it didn’t make a lichồng of sense. By contrast, Now You See Me 2 plays lượt thích its try-hard cousin: it wants so badly khổng lồ win you over that the desperation is off-putting. The film, like the smug magicians that populate it, showboats by throwing more of everything at the screen. Critically lacking is the sense of fun that characterised its predecessor.

Most of the cast is baông xã, save for Isla Fisher, whose comedic talents were underused in the original, playing the lone female illusionist of the bunch. Tasked with filling her shoes is Lizzy Caplan, who is afforded more barbs than her Bachelorette co-star, lending the pic a bit of spark.

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Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg và Dave Franco, as the three other magicians that biến hóa the Four Horsemen – David Copperfield’s answer to Robin Hood’s Merry Men – also give it their all. The same goes for Mark Ruffalo, as the Horsemen’s boss, who appears to have walked in from the set of Spotlight, forcefully emoting his way through the whole parade. It’s unfortunate then that Ed Solotháng và Peter Chiarelli’s screenplay underserves them completely by not bothering with any semblance of character development.

Instead we’re treated lớn a series of gotphụ thân stunts, courtesy of the quartet, who are still on the run from the feds, one year after outwitting the FBI & enacting revenge against magic debunker Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman). They resurface for a comebaông chồng performance to lớn expose the wrongdoings of a magnate, only khổng lồ fall inlớn a trap orchestrated by Walter Mabry (Radcliffe), a tech prodigy who forces them inkhổng lồ pulling off a seemingly impossible heist.


The do-or-die mission involves the Four Horseman attempting to lớn steal a chip that has the power lớn de-encrypt every computer in the world (yes, every). It also leads khổng lồ the film’s most inane phối piece, where the group manoeuvre the chip, embedded in an ace of spades, between themselves after gaining access khổng lồ a heavily guarded vault. For what seems an eternity, the CGI thẻ gets flicked around from Horseman khổng lồ Horseman, flying through the air, & at one point, down Eisenberg’s pants. If this all sounds thrilling, then more power lớn you.

Incoming director Jon M Chu (best known for making the second & third Step Up dance films) is a visibly slichồng choreographer: he stages a grvà finale in London on New Year’s Eve with impressive sầu precision. But his skills and a willing cast can’t overcome a story that stubbornly refuses lớn embrace its inherent dumbness in favour of pointless convolutions. Where’s the fun in that?


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