Flair and flourish distract viewer from plot holes
Now You See Me 2 (PG)
At the end of Now You See Me (2013), ex-magician Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman) has been framed and placed behind bars by a group of illusionists calling themselves the Four Horsemen. In this sequel, Bradley is out for vengeance while the gang of four (Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco and Lizzy Caplan) get entangled with tech magnate Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe) with a hidden agenda. The fifth Horseman, Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo), has his cover as an FBI agent blown.
THERE is quite a bit of plot to get through and a huge cast of characters to get to know.
Still, Now You See Me 2 is a zippy sequel that will please fans of the original magic- trick-flick-meets-crime-caper as it manages to up the ante on the illusion set-pieces.
Even though you know that you are watching visual movie effects for some of the more outlandish tricks, director Jon M. Chu (G.I. Joe: Retaliation, 2013) pulls off scenes with verve and energy.
Then, there are the illusions performed in public which feed off the excitement of the watching audience onscreen.
Adding to the fun is the star-studded cast, which includes reliable veterans Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine and well-regarded actors Mark Ruffalo and Jesse Eisenberg.
Lizzy Caplan (Masters Of Sex, 2013 to present) takes over from the pregnant Isla Fisher as the sole female member of the Horsemen and her new character makes the moves on the good-looking rake played by Dave Franco.
And Daniel Radcliffe wants you to forget about the boy wizard Harry Potter by going for a villainous turn, though Walter Mabry is more petulant than sinister.
Unfortunately, Mandopop superstar Jay Chou's role - he works in an old-fashioned magic shop in the territory - is tiny and he seems to be smirking as he delivers his lines.
There are things that do not make sense about the plot as well but one is happy to go along for the ride when a film has been executed with flair and flourish.