Movie Date: Now You See Me 2 (PG)
No matter how much it’s hiding up its sleeve, the magic’s well and truly gone
STARRING: Jesse Eisenberg, Lizzy Caplan, Dave Franco, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman, Jay Chou, Daniel Radcliffe, Michael Caine
DIRECTOR: Jon M Chu
THE SKINNY: Still on the run, The Horsemen (Eisenberg, Caplan, Franco and Harrelson) are to expose dubious tech pioneer Owen Case (Ben Lamb). When that fails, the Horsemen are forced to pull off a heist by Owen’s presumed dead partner Walter Mabry (Radcliffe).
MARS - JONATHAN ROBERTS
Lousy, joyless and pointless.
Chu has created one of the year's biggest turkeys. I don't hate it, but I have a severe dislike for it.
The sequel has the same problem as the original: Magic is not amazing if it's obviously fake.
It can't decide if the heroes are illusionists or wizards and the "amazing" tricks are clearly thanks to pixels rather than sleight of hand.
An audience should be left asking, "How did they do that?", not bored to the point of praying for a random bear attack.
The only sense of wonder comes from why so much effort was put into creating this.
The plot twists make zero sense but this film acts like it is the smartest kid in the room.
Deep down, Now You See Me 2 is dying to be Ocean's Eleven. It yearns to be a sassy multi-twist heist movie but just comes off as a cheap knock-off.
It replaces smarts with CGI, banter and wordplay with wittering and verbal diarrhoea, and charm with smugness.
Add to that the calculated move to set part of the film in Macau and granting a (very calefare) role to Chou - it's the "will that do?" approach to courting the Asian market.
But with Part 3 announced, can we make this franchise disappear?
Rating: 1/5One mark in the same way you get a mark for spelling your name correctly in an exam
VENUS - JOANNE SOH
The Horsemen are back as magicians-cum-Robin Hoods.
Except for Isla Fisher, who's smart enough to bail from this load of hogwash.
The 2013 original was littered with plot holes and threw logic out of the window, but at least it was fun and entertaining.
Now You See Me 2 has some magical moments, but the story is so convoluted and weighed down by all that silly dialogue, fuelled by Eisenberg's annoying yapping.
Yes, magic is all about misdirection, but to have that many twists and turns? It's more of a misfire, no thanks to Chu's lazy direction.
He should take full blame for this terribly executed follow-up.
He has a set of great actors under him but why resort to all the smoke and mirrors and leave substance out of the equation?
There doesn't seem to be any thought process behind each trick or illusion - everything feels like a cut-and-paste job.
It starts out with much promise but when the story shifts into heist territory, that's when it starts going downhill.
It also promises the important "big reveal", but after making us sit through a half-baked hour, it doesn't matter anymore.
You already know the magician is going to pull the rabbit out of the hat.
THE CONSENSUS: No matter how much it’s hiding up its sleeve, the magic’s well and truly gone