In order to foil a terrorist plot, an FBI agent undergoes a facial transplant surgery and assumes the identity and physical appearance of a terrorist, but the plan turns from bad to worse when the same terrorist impersonates the FBI agent.
While Ben Gates is presenting new information about John Wilkes Booth and the 18 pages missing from Booth's diary, a man by the name of Mitch Wilkinson stands up and presents a missing page of John Wilkes Booth's diary. Thomas Gates, Ben's great-grandfather, is mentioned on the page. It shows that Ben's great-grandfather was a co-conspirator in Abraham Lincoln's murder. When doing more research, the conspiracy takes Ben, Abigail Chase, and Riley Poole to Buckingham Palace (which they break into). They discover a plank that has early Native American writing on it. The plank has only one symbol that Patrick Gates can identify. The symbol is Cibola (see-bowl-uh) meaning the City of Gold. In order to define the rest they have to go to Ben's mother, Patrick's divorced wife. After 32 years it brings back old arguments. After that the other clue is in the President's desk in the Oval Office in the White House (which Ben and Abigail sneak into) to discover that the clue lies in The ...Written by
At the beginning of the chase outside the Library of Congress, Ben jumps into the back of Abigail's Mercedes SUV by putting the trunk hatch up. However, in the next shot, when they jump out into the street, the trunk hatch is closed. See more »
Bland, mass-produced rubbish that nobody seems to have put any heart into making
Normally I would write a plot summary before I review a film - it helps introduce the film in case anyone is reading but mostly I do it because it helps me focus my mind on what I have just seen. However to summarise National Treasure 2 it is probably easiest just to take two dice and for one die assign each number the name of a person in history (Queen Victoria, Nixon, Custer), then for the other assign an object (a table, the Empire State Building, a book). Now simply roll the two dice and make notes of the combinations - Custer's rifle, the President's watch, the Queen's bedroom etc etc. After a couple of rolls you will have as much of a story as this film and indeed may have produced a more interesting one.
If you haven't got it yet, I thought the plot was utter nonsense that seemed to have had scenarios imagined up and then threaded together with the barest or logic (or none in many cases). Some of the scenes where Cage works out the clues had me laughing and one imagines that the writers made more use of shoe-horns than they did pens and paper. My personal favourite lack of logical is where a major clue is thrown out a car window to stop the bad guys chasing them and all our heroes have to look at is a photo taken of the clue by a speed camera that they drive past. What? Weirdly though, the plot is not the sole problem with the film and indeed it could have been covered for if everything else had worked in regards delivery. As it is though, it seems that there is no heart or energy in the film and that churning out another product to appease the Disney shareholders was top of the reasons for making it. This shows in every regard. It shows in the very bland "look" to the film. It is clear that lots of money has been spent on the sets and general design of the film but yet none of it feels like more than a set and certainly none of it really convinces as the real thing. This feel continues into the action sequences which again are bland. If the film had genuinely had excitement or thrills then the plot holes become less important but the rubbish action just leaves everything sitting out there exposed to the cold light of day. A gutless car chase through London only serves to highlight how awesome all those Bourne chases were and, by return, how pathetic this one is.
And then we have the incidental music, which tends to be one of two type - both equally misjudged and annoying. The first is the "earnest swelling sense of importance" music that accompanies any discussion of the treasure-hunt, family ancestors or patriotism. It invites you to think that what you are watching is important, which made me think that the composer dialled it in because he cannot have watched this and thought this approach would work with this material. The other type is the "jaunty, quirky, isn't-this-comical" music that fills the rest of the film. This music invites you to be amused but again it only manages to highlight just how unfunny and clunky all the "lighter" moments are.
The cast list surprised me because if you simply read out the names of those involved I would not have guessed that they were all have been key people in a film this poor. I suppose in a way it is like the rest of the film - clearly there has been money spent but no actual heart or effort is to be found. Cage demonstrates no range or indication that he cares about the material and he makes for a dull hero; his performance is the same when jumping from a crumbling platform and when giving a lecture - it is sad to see someone care so little about what they are doing. Bartha is a weak comic sidekick but at least he appears to be trying. Kruger is as pretty as she is pointless and generally just seemed to be in the way. Harris has a good presence and at least brings a bit of menace to the film while managing to hide his embarrassment, but this is below him and he knows it. Voight is rubbish and Mirren should genuinely be ashamed by a weak performance in a role she took simply to cash in on Oscar and make some good money. Keitel I assume was a bigger character in the first film because other than that there appears to be no reason for him smirking his way around the edges.
Overall then, this is a lot of nonsense but, more telling, it is bland and disinterested in the viewer. The plot holes and total lack of logic do treat the viewer with contempt but this could have been covered if I had even once been engaged or enthralled by the film. As it was though it never feels like a film made for any other reason than making money. The cast don't seem to care, the direction is flat, the action is poor and the pace is poor. The fact that it is two hours long only makes it worse as it does not even have the good grace to be short. It is rare I hate a film but I found this poor to the point of being insulting because it is not like it tries but just misfires but rather than it is poor simply because it could not be bothered to even try.
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