Sunday, June 12, 2016

Now You See Me 2 [2016]

MPAA (PG-13)  CNS/USCCB (A-III)  ChicagoTribune (2 Stars) (2 Stars)  AVClub (B)  Fr. Dennis (2 1/2 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (K. Jensen) review
ChicagoTribune (M. Phillips) review (M. Zoller Seitz) review
AVClub (I. Vishnevetsky) review  

Now You See Me 2 [2016] (directed by Jon M. Chu, screenplay by screenplay by Ed Solomon, story by Ed Solomon and Pete Chiearelli based on characters by Boaz Yakin and Edward Ricourt) continues a _fun_ if honestly _absurd_ Robin Hood-like franchise in which a group of magicians who in the first film coalesced as "The Four Horsemen" -- returning in the current film are three: J. Daniel Atlas (played by Jesse Eisenberg) who's graduated in this film becoming something of a David Copperfield-like illusionst, Merritt McKinney (played by Woody Harrelson) who's focused his attention in this film to become the group's hypnotist and Jack Wilder (played by Dave Franco) who's become the group's card trick expert, and replacing Henley Reeves, the escape artist of the previous film, is Lula (played by Lizzy Chaplan) who comes on the scene as a scrappy if talented wannabe -- use their skills to swindle super-rich people notably a billionaire bad-boy Arthur Tresser (played by Michael Caine) in oh so public fashion to the cheers of multitudes of regular people.   Oh, if it'd be _that_ easy ... ;-).  (Arthur Tresser comes back in this sequel seeking revenge...)

Stacked against the Robin Hood like Apocalyptic "Horsemen" are nominally both "The Law" personified by FBI agents Dylan Rhodes (played by Mark Ruffalo), Natalie Austin (played by Sanaa Lathan) and Agent Cowan (played by David Warshofsky) and then "professional debunkers" like Thaddeus Bradley (played by Morgan Freeman) but as in magic, so in life, "who's actually on whose side?"  It ain't that simple ;-)

Adding to the mix are various other super-rich people, notably two rival IT billionaires Allen Scott-Frank (played by Henry Lloyd-Hughes) and Walter Mabry (played by Daniel Radcliffe), who try their hands at manipulating / harnessing the skills of "The Four Horsemen" to _their_ benefit.

Much ensues as the story hops from New York to Macao to London at the end.  Indeed, enjoyable are the inspired additions of Li (played by Jay Chao) and especially his mother Bu (played by Tsai Chin) to the cast, who run a lowly if historic "magic shop" in Macao and yet seem to be involved in "Chinese Secret Society-like" fashion in far-far-bigger things than both the characters in the story (and Viewers watching it play-out) could hardly imagine ;-)

Again, it all makes for a fun ride.  Just honestly "don't think too much" ;-)

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