Review: No secrets in ‘National Treasure’ sequel |

Review: No secrets in ‘National Treasure’ sequel

Chronologically: “No Country for Old Men.” “The Kite Runner.” “Atonement.” “There Will Be Blood.”

Not a bad movie in the bunch, but even with the likes of “The Golden Compass” and “Charlie Wilson’s War” to leaven the load, that’s a lot of heavy movies. Even as one of the perverse few who found “No Country for Old Mean” hilarious in its black and twisted way, I felt like a break from Oscar contenders this weekend, but “Fool’s Gold” looked like a low-rent “Into the Blue” (read that sentence again: yeesh) or rationalize watching Paris Hilton in “The Hottie and the Nottie,” my options were limited.

“National Treasure: Book of Secrets” certainly isn’t of the same caliber of those first four (or six) films, but it’s not a total dog: While the likes of Jon Voight, Helen Mirren, Harvey Keitel and Ed Harris are slumming, they at least appear to be having fun.

No such free pass for Nicolas Cage, starring again as treasure hunter Benjamin Franklin Gates, and Diane Kruger, though: This is about par for the course for them. The first “National Treasure” was a plucky, stripped-down screw-you from Jerry Bruckheimer Films to Columbia Pictures that actually ended up being more entertaining than “The Da Vinci Code,” Audrey Tatou notwithstanding. While “National Treasure” was relatively spry, the sequel seems to be paying homage, as a bigger (and more cumbersome) ” movie and by ” equipping Keitel with Tom Hanks’ mullet from the big-budget bust.

The plot ” not that it really matters ” is another gee-whiz treasure hunt through the annals of U.S. history in search of treasure (in this case, Olmec gold) and information that will clear the Gates family name from complicity in the assassination of Lincoln.

I’m pretty sure these guys weren’t history majors: Gates makes Indiana Jones look like Daniel J. Boorstin by comparison ” check the “goofs” section of the Internet Movie Database for a long and growing list of screw-ups. But it provides for two bickering couples, lots of geeky one-liners from tech guy Reilly (Justin Bartha) and, by the end, sets up a sequel to prolong the franchise.

If it sounds like it’s not the wisest franchise to prolong, it’s not the worst ” at least the rival treasure hunters eventually toss the guns away, and there’s really no objectionable content (well, aside from all the errors). The only books it inspires are the history books where the sticklers will look up the mistakes, and there are no secrets about what happens, but it’s a little respite from a heavy winter.

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