National Treasure: Book of Secrets
Replace the religious sub-plot from The Da Vinci Code with some spurious blather about the history of the US Constitution and you have the successful formula for the National Treasure franchise. The second instalment finds adventurer Ben Gates (Nicolas Cage) chasing around various worldwide tourist traps while dodging the attentions of his less-scrupulous rival Mitch Wilkinson (Ed Harris).
The shared object of their desire is a book of secrets, a semi-mythical tome that supposedly contains the diaries of every American president. In addition to securing the book to preserve the American Way, Gates is further motivated by his desire to clear the name of his father Patrick (Jon Voight), who Harris has slurred by suggesting that Gates’ family ancestors were plotting the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Returning director Jon Turteltaub’s serviceable adventure features a constant escalation of action, yet despite a roster of overqualified supporting acts, including Harvey Keitel and Diane Kruger, it’s left to Helen Mirren to tick the box marked ‘character comedy’ as Cage’s spiky mom Elizabeth. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s trademark use of script doctors ensures there’s a few breezy lines along the way, but the endless cheerleading for America is unlikely to win the same huge audience for National Treasure 2 abroad that it racked up in the US. (Eddie Harrison)
General release from Fri 8 Feb.