Film review: ‘NOW YOU SEE ME 2’ from ‘Built For Speed’

Like its predecessor, crime caper movie Now You See Me 2 is a flashy piece of cinematic confectionary; energetic like a sugar rush but mostly devoid of substance and at times nauseating.

The first film’s stars Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo and Dave Franco return although Isla Fisher has departed and been replaced by Lizzie Caplan who plays Lula. As in the original movie, this film sees the mysterious troupe of magicians known as The Four Horseman perform extremely elaborate and utterly implausible heists that require their phenomenal skills in stage magic and misdirection. In this film the object they’re attempting to pinch is an all-powerful computer chip that can disable any IT system in the world, a caper that sees the Horseman tripping across the globe from the US to Macau to London. Confronting them this time are typically arrogant, massively wealthy, highly-equipped and strangely careless villains played by two cinema superstars whom it would be a spoiler to reveal.

The film contains some impressively fluid and inventive scenes as the Horseman pull off their elaborate magic con tricks but the action sequences are much too cluttered and with out-of-control wobble-cam, often become a confusing mess.

This film would actually be quite irritating if it wasn’t for the pros in the cast. Morgan Freeman returns as resident villain Thaddeus Bradley and mesmerises with his mix of intelligence and dignified menace. Mark Ruffalo is also typically impressive as the FBI agent and Horseman leader Dylan Rhodes. Woody Harrelson, who plays Merritt McKinney, does essentially the same quirky but vaguely entertaining routine he delivers in every other film although there is a vaguely interesting twist involving his character here. Jesse Eisenberg’s J. Daniel Atlas is more vulnerable and less arrogant in this film so he isn’t quite as irritating as he was in the first one. Dave Franco’s Jack Wilder, is also a little less smug and obnoxious in this film than he was in the first instalment. Lizzie Caplan is feisty but not exactly memorable as Lula and the attempted romance between her and Jack goes nowhere.

For those who enjoy hyper-manic filmmaking and aren’t put off by annoying characters, babbling dialogue or totally ridiculous scenarios, this film will prove an entertaining piece of cinematic fast food. Those wanting some fibre in their cinematic diet are advised to keep away.

Nick’s rating: **1/2.

Genre: Action/ caper.

Classification: M.

Director(s): John M Chu.

Release date: 2nd June 2016.

Running time: 129 mins.

Reviewer: Nick Gardener can be heard on “Built For Speed” every Friday night from 8-10pm right here on 88.3 Southern FM.  Nick can also be heard on “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly Film Show” podcast.


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