Cormac Wibberly

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National Treasure: Book of Secrets Review


Grim
It used to be, audiences didn't care if an action movie was brainless, as long as it delivered the goods. Provide ample stuntwork, some mind-blowing special effects, and a linear narrative pitting good (or gallant) vs. evil (or Eastern European) and you have a semi-guarantee of success. But nowadays, thanks to the intellectualized approach taken by Bond and Bourne, audiences demand a little heft with their heroics. Sadly, there's not much cinematic substance to the growing National Treasure franchise. This Book of Secrets sequel to the surprise hit should be subtitled Thrillers for Dummies. It's nothing more than a series of ADD driven vignettes held together by the flimsiest of plots, helmed by the dude who made 3 Ninjas. 'Nuff said.

Since their last adventure, things have changed rather significantly for Team Ben Gates (a null set Nicolas Cage). Our hero is continuing his treasure-hunting ways, but he's broken up with gal pal Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger). Papa Gates (a lost Jon Voight) has been helping sonny boy over his rough relationship patch, while tech wiz sidekick Riley Poole (a far too-wisecracking Justin Bartha) has published a book and is deep in debt to the IRS. When a mysterious figure named Mitch Wilkinson (Ed Harris) shows up, carrying a page out of John Wilkes Booth's diary implicating Gates' forefather in the assassination of Lincoln, the ancestors vow to clear his name. Turns out the long dead relative could have been trying to hide the location of the lost City of Gold -- Cibola -- from conspiring Confederate rebels. It's up to Gates to find the truth, and the vast wealth at the end of said quest.

Continue reading: National Treasure: Book of Secrets Review

I Spy Review


Unbearable
I Spy is based on a popular 1960s television show by the same name where two mismatched spies, one white (Robert Culp) and one black (Bill Cosby), engage in wild antics to fight evil around the world. For a series during the middle of the civil rights era, it was considered groundbreaking. Unfortunately, the movie version completely disrespects this inventiveness of the original series. In fact, the movie is thoroughly insulting.

Owen Wilson is Alex Scott, a second-rate super-spy for the BNS (think CIA, I guess), who is always relegated to the department's least desirable assignments. Other BNS spies, like the suave Bond-like Carlos (Gary Cole), are equipped with the most sophisticated spy tools and receive the most attractive jobs. Scott's newest mission though, requires him to travel to Budapest, Hungary with beautiful fellow agent Rachel Wright (Famke Janssen) to prevent the sale of an invisible stealth spy plane. Some of the world's worst criminals have gathered in Budapest for a party sponsored by criminal mastermind Gundars (Malcolm McDowell). He plans to sell this plane during the celebration for an upcoming boxing match, which happens to involve the wildly flamboyant American featherweight boxing champion Kelly Robinson (Eddie Murphy). The BNS officials recruit Robinson to help Scott and Wright get into the party and accomplish their mission.

Continue reading: I Spy Review

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