If anything makes a ton of money, a sequel inevitably follows. After racking in the dough in 2013, the ‘Now You See Me’ crew return for more magical hijinks. Think a magicians version of ‘Ocean’s 11’ and you’d be on the mark. Watching a group of people pull a heist is always fun, which ‘Now You See Me 2’ has in abundance. Full of the fast pace expected from such a movie, it should ensure viewers are bedazzled by this cinematic sleight of hand.
The Four Horsemen magic group, including Dylan (Mark Ruffalo) and Merritt (Woody Harrelson) are on the hunt for new adventures. This they find when blackmailed into carrying out another heist by tech wizard Walter (Daniel Radcliffe). Determined to gain the upper hand, the industrious foursome use their tricky guiles to grapple out of their latest dilemma.
‘Now You See Me 2’ is a cinematic confection not lingering much in the memory. It’s diverting while watching, but as soon as you walk out the door only a modicum of its story remains. The reason is mainly due to the threat levels our heroes face. Never for a moment do you think the Four Horsemen are in any danger as you know they’ll eventually win. Reaching the end game is delicious enough but not as satisfying as it should be. The cast give fine performances although most are simply playing to their already established screen personas.
What ‘Now You See Me 2’ has going for it is its sense of scale. Events move briskly around the globe magnifying the scope everyone faces. Locations such as China and London look suitably imposing with the action sequences handled with skill. Jon M. Chu directs with a degree of enthusiasm although the flair needed to make the story sparkle is missing. Watching the magic tricks is always a treat though with the ‘how did they do that?’ question going into overdrive.
‘Now You See Me 2’ is largely forgettable fluff even if it’s a perfect movie for a rainy afternoon. It doesn’t tax the brain-cells too much with the creaky plot feeling as familiar as a ‘rabbit out of the hat’ and equally as engaging.
Rating out of 10: 6
The Blair Witch Project has a lot to answer for. A huge success in 1999 it ushered in a new era of cheaply made horror. Filmed entirely on video with actors screaming in front of the camera with minimal emotion it became an unlikely hit. The Paranormal Activity franchise has taken its cue to the ultimate degree with various spooky happenings occurring on a shoe-string budget. Its third entry is no different as it uses every piece of creaking door and moving objects to supposedly terrifying effect.
Katie (Katie Featherston) and Kristi (Sprague Grayden) are two young sisters living with their mother Julie (Lauren Bittner) and her boyfriend Daniel (Brian Boland). The family seem to enjoy life when suddenly events take a sinister turn. Hearing strange noises and witnessing odd occurrences, Daniel takes it upon himself to capture everything on film. What he sees fills him with dread as events escalate to a deadly and shocking denouncement.
Paranormal Activity 3 adheres to exactly the same formula as the others. Since it has made tons of money from doing so you can’t really blame the producers for continuing this. It would have been great had it actually been scary – a prerequisite for any alleged horror movie. Whilst it has its moments this third entry refuses to try anything new with the endless ‘bump in the night’ motif becoming tiresome.
The only aspect of interest is the character’s back-story. Expanding on previous instalments it answers some questions raised. Unfortunately even more are posed with logic taking a holiday. Certain character motivations make little sense with the story ultimately relying on their reactions to events rather than developing their personas.
Those wanting no-frills thrills may receive something out of Paranormal Activity 3. Others who recall the halcyon days of horror such as the Nightmare on Elm Street films may wonder why the genre has fallen so far as to rely on such insipid and uninspiring entries such as this.
Rating out of 10: 2