National Treasure: Book of Secrets
Cast : Nicolas Cage, Diane Kruger
Direction : Jon Turteltaub
Rating : **
Inevitably with sequels, expectations are quite high. Unfortunately, the tendency is to just make them bigger, but not better. National Treasure :Book of Secrets is no exception.
Re-teaming with his lead actors from the 2004 escapist adventure, director Turteltaub (While You Were Sleeping) goes over the top with flights into fancy – including a tussle for a fabled Aztec city of gold.
The outcome leaves us in a state of slight boredom and mild irritation. Despite the eventfulness of their lives, the characters remain too one-dimensional for the film to be anything but an exercise in vacuity.
The calamity-a-minute plot finds Nicolas Cage reprising his role of a patriotic historian. This time around, he is determined to redeem the honour of his forebears by discovering the truth behind Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. Already, the plot lacks credibility.
The cryptic clues take our historian from Buckingham Palace through the streets of Paris to the Oval office at the White House. An interlude involving the kidnapping of the U S President elicits unintentional guffaws.
Meanwhile, the arch-villain (Ed Harris, uncharacteristically lacklustre) schemes to steal the treasure. Add to the scenario, cheesy computer effects and the mandatory car chases, and presto, yet another insipid concoction is ready to be dished out to the undemanding viewer.
After a series of mechanical performances in The Wicker Man, Ghost Rider and Next, Nicolas Cage is at least zestful. Seasoned stars Jon Voight and Helen Mirren, as his estranged parents, are just about endurable -- like the rest of this been-there-suffered-that trip into hokum.