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National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets DVD Review

By Kam Williams

DVD Features Nicolas Cage Back for Another Round as World-Renown Treasure Hunter

Like a poor man's version of Indiana Jones, Benjamin Franklin Gates (Nicolas Cage) is a globetrotting treasure hunter who careens back and forth across the screen in a high-octane race against time to find a priceless artifact before a diabolical villain with evil intentions. In National Treasure 1, the adventure revolved around deciphering clues hidden by the Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence rumored to lead to a buried treasure.

Sticking with the American history motif, the action-packed sequel is mostly more of the same sort of fare, now having our intrepid hero searching for 18 pages reportedly ripped from the diary of John Wilkes Booth several days after the end of the Civil War. Here, red, white and blue-blooded Ben is motivated mostly by a desire to clear the smeared name of his presumably patriotic great-great-grandfather who has recently been implicated as the mastermind of the conspiracy behind the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. But the missing entries are also said to contain encrypted messages which will ultimately direct the decoder to the boundless riches of Cibola, the legendary cave city of gold.

Ben is fortunate to receive considerable assistance in his peripatetic endeavor from his pal, Riley Poole (Justin Bartha), his ex-girlfriend, Abigail Chase (Diane Kruger), and his parents (Jon Voight and Helen Mirren), especially since he has a worthy adversary in Booth's great-grandson Mitch Wilkinson (Ed Harris). This creep will stop at nothing to find the so-called "Book of Secrets" first.

The manic pace of the picture is designed with the joy stick generation in mind, because it unfolds frenetically, more like a mind-numbing computer game than a plot-driven feature film offering a story of substance worth pausing to care about. Over-stimulating brain bubblegum guaranteed to take kids under ten straight to adrenaline heaven.

Very Good (3 stars)
Rated PG for action and violence.
Running time: 125 minutes
Studio: Walt Disney Home Entertainment
2-Disc DVD Extras: Audio commentary by the director and actor Jon Voight, deleted scenes with introductions by the director, bloopers, outtakes and eight featurettes.

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