Now You See Me 2 (2016)
Running Time: 129 minutes
Directed by: Jon M. Chu
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Daniel Radcliffe, Lizzy Caplan
Now You See Me 2 picks up one year after the events of the first film. The Four Horsemen led by Dylan Rhodes (Ruffalo) with Lula (Caplan) replacing Henley’s place as the female magician as the group resurfaces for a comeback performance to expose an unethical tech magnate, Owen Case (Lamb). Without any warning, the Four Horsemen’s performance is hijacked, exposing their secrets. As the Four Horsemen abort their performance, they suddenly find themselves in Macau, China where they meet Walter Mabry (Radcliffe), the man behind their botched performance. Mabry brought them to Macau to pull off an impossible heist for him, a computer chip. Can the Four Horsemen and Rhodes clear their names and reveal the mastermind behind it all?
The sequel, like most sequels can never be matched with the first instalment. The shameful thing is they almost followed the formula that made the first film great to the T, yet it lacked some of the greatness and slickness that made the first film such a standout. The cast was great but much of the focus this time was on Ruffalo. There was nothing wrong with Ruffalo’s performance but it would’ve been nice to showcase the Four Horsemen more, and their more practical magic tricks instead of relying fully on those two to three major performances – one in the beginning, one in the middle, and the final act (of course). These performances was so heavily CGI-ed that, although it looked great on screen, especially the final act with Eisenberg’s rain sequence but it lacked the oomph that made the first film great, instead all those small practical tricks were squeezed into a montage sequence that mainly involved flying cards. Radcliffe and Caplan are great additions to the cast, Caplan as the comedy relief at most times and Radcliffe as a villain that somewhat lacked tack towards the end.
The other thing about this film that bothered me was the addition of fight/action sequences which is fine if the cinematographer/action choreographer could just make up their mind with the camera angles. With the quickness of the action sequences, it would have been better to position the camera at a fixed position so the audience could appreciate the scenes more, especially the one with Ruffalo. There were some great action sequences there but it got buried by the fast moving camera angles. Oh, and just a minor quirk that bothered me throughout the film, for the Chinese extras that they’ve hired for the film, could they at least have gotten a few that spoke more fluently?
All in all, it’s not a terrible sequel, but it definitely lacked the conviction and the execution that made the first one so great. Word has it that there will be a third instalment, I hope they won’t go ahead with it, but if they do, please have a better plot and better direction.
Rating: 5 out of 10