FANCY a game of peek-a-boo?
How about a round of tag?
That’s exactly what’s coming in “Now You See Me 2,” the ultimate “catch me if you can”—combining strategy, cunning and a whole lotta luck in the continuation of the same film from 2013.
Actually the producers could have easily filmed both movies simultaneously and just cut the film in half.
In the original outing, charismatic magician Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg) heads a group of top flight magicians called the Four Horsemen who take the world, as well as Manhattan, by storm.
Atlas and his comrades use sleight of hand and computer “gee wiz” special effects to mesmerize their audiences with live, or simulated live, magical performances to drain the bank accounts of their would be rivals … and then like Robin Hood of old … share all of this ill-gotten fortune with their studio audiences. Introduced is an aggressive federal agent (Mark Ruffalo) and an Interpol detective (Mélanie Laurent) who work tirelessly to intend
to reign in the Horsemen and look to a former magician “debunker” in Morgan Freeman for help.
Except … at the film’s very end it’s revealed that Ruffalo himself is a master illusionist who pins all of the Horsemen’s robberies on Freemen, allowing these “Fab Four” to walk away scott free.
That was then.
This time John Chu (“G.I. Joe: Retaliation”) takes the director chair from Louis Letterier as the Four Horsemen return, only to be forced into action by a tech genius (Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliffe) and pull off their most impossible heist yet. Morgan Freeman’s Thaddeus Bradley has been released from prison and is out for revenge as well as financier Arthur Tressler (played by the seemingly ageless Michael Caine).
The now Fab Five—with Ruffalo in tow—are hard to beat and the sleight of hand playing cards by Dave Franco is amazing.
If you are a frequent reader of this reviewer, you will immediately understand my personal distain for any movie that has a number on the end.
This time I’m making an exception, simply because of Ruffalo (yes, he is a distant cousin) who controls each and every scene he is in. Truly the future Marlon Brando of his film generation, Ruffalo lights up the scene whenever he appears which is all too frequent for this reviewer.
Painfully though, Wood Harrelson’s Marritt McKinney, who was really great in the original, plays a distant third in appearance in this continuation.
Besides Ruffalo, what really does work in NYSM2 is Radcliffe’s Walter, a wide-eyed maniac who seems has more money to spend than the Almighty has made stars in the Heavens. He gushes optimism and seeing him now as an adult, one has to wonder where all the 15 years have gone since he appeared in world-wide hit, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”
Filmed on location in Middlesex, England and the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau, NYSM2 is a fun date night flick. And there haven’t been many of those lately.
Keep the kiddies at home as “NYSM2” will make no sense to them. There is also discrete violence and sexual themes throughout.
But for the rest of us, it is a terrific action thriller that will keep you guessing up until the final moment.
Just like the original when no one would have guessed Ruffalo’s secret participation, this sequel doubles up on the fun and the “wow” factor all the way to the very end.
Plus … Macau has never looked better!
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