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'Now You See Me 2' Review: Not so Magical, After All

Shomini Sen | shominisen

Updated: June 18, 2016, 12:06 PM IST
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'Now You See Me 2' Review: Not so Magical, After All
The Horseman have been in hiding for an year, since their last heist and the group’s leader, FBI agent Dylan Rhodes hatches a perfect plan for their comeback.

Director: Jon M Chu

Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Daniel Radcliffe, Lizzy Caplan, Jay Chou, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman

The magicians or rather the Horsemen are back with some new tricks up their sleeves in Jon M Chu’s ‘Now You See Me 2’. A sequel to the 2013 heist film ‘Now You See Me’, the film begins where the first ended. But unlike the first film, the sequel somehow doesn’t leave the desired impact.

The Horseman have been in hiding for an year, since their last heist and the group’s leader, FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo) hatches a perfect plan for their comeback. This time, they have a new horseman, a rookie magician Lula May (Lizzy Caplan). Under the instruction of Dylan, The Horseman are instructed to take over tech baron Owen Case’s show and expose his corrupt ways and reveal the real purpose of the software he has created which basically steals personal data of the common man for his own benefit.

While the Horseman are welcomed with thunderous applause at the event, their past case is soon exposed in the middle of the show, making them flee again. Things turn haywire when in an attempt to escape, they end up Macau, China and kidnapped and taken to technology prodigy Walter Mabry’s (Daniel Radcliffe) den. Mabry wants to use the four magicians for his own use, as he seeks revenge from Case for taking over his idea and company and declaring him as dead to the world. The Horsemen are now instructed to steal the important chip from a high security lab or else face death themselves.

An elaborate scene at the end of the first half has the Horsemen skilfully hiding the stolen chip disguised under a playing card as they are frisked by security guards at a secret lab is smartly shot and enacted. The moment is tense and yet so enjoyable as the magicians use their skills to perfectly pass the card from one person to the other right under the scanning guard’s eyes. The scene is an elaborate one and yet it manages to engage the viewers simply because of its clever, smart screenplay.

Unfortunately, the film’s high point is only that particular scene. The plot on paper is simple, yet with so many sub plots, and not such a tight screenplay, the film seems long after a point of time. And in a heist drama, with dollops of magic thrown in, the film’s length ideally shouldn’t be an issue. The narrative should be such that it keeps the viewers hooked throughout and yet this film fails to do so. The spark, the excitement is there only in parts. In certain scenes.

‘Now You See Me 2’ just like its prequel, boast of an excellent cast. Not too often do you get to see Daniel Radcliffe play a bad guy, a sociopath who gives death threats in such dry, matter of fact way. From Mark Rufallo, to Jesse Eisenberg to Woody Harrelson (In a double role), to Morgan Freeman, to Michael Cane – the film is literally star studded. The incredibly talented set of actors justify their parts well yet somehow, the script wears their performance down.

Somehow, amid all the elaborate magic tricks and glitzy locales of Macau and London, you end up feeling that the sequel was made just because the first one was successful. It isn’t as magical as it should have been, after all.

Ratings: 2/5

First Published: June 18, 2016, 12:06 PM IST
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