| The bloom is off the rose. This sequel fails to measure up to the originality, freshness and vitality of the 2004 box office sensation. It is still a fun thrill ride with more history lessons to boot.
Treasure hunter Ben Gates (Nicolas Cage) is back along with his father, Patrick (Jon Voight), former girlfriend Abigail Chase (intoxicatingly beautiful Diane Kruger) and gadget geek Riley Poole (Justin Bartha).
Ben searches for a hidden city of gold that will clear his great-great-grandfather's name from being implicated in the assassination of President Abe Lincoln. Missing pages from the diary of John Wilkes Booth start the ball rolling.
The relationship between the Queen of England and the Confederacy during the Civil War is at the center of the story. “The Book of Secrets” is a bound collection of confidential documents shedding light on history and intended only for the eyes of the president of the United States.
This film requires a huge suspension of disbelief. Security measures are lax, giving Ben free rein to break into Buckingham Palace and the White House. He even gets to crash a private birthday party and kidnap the president.
The movie is too long and challenges your attention span.
New characters added to the mix are Helen Mirren as Ben's linguistics professor mother who has been divorced from Patrick for 32 years; Ed Harris as a black market antiquities dealer and rival soldier of fortune with his own family name to protect; and Bruce Greenwood as the president of the United States.
This international globetrotting adventure takes you on a wild goose chase to historic landmarks in Paris, London, Washington and the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Bartha seems to be having the most fun, providing comic relief. Everyone else seems to be just going through the motions.
Clues pile up from decoding ciphers, solving riddles, cracking combination locks, opening secret desk drawers, locating hidden passages and exploring underground tunnels.
A trusty flashlight and multi-capacity cell phone are key props that figure prominently in this suspenseful detective yarn.
Keith Cohen, "The Movie Guy"