National Treasure: Book of Secrets [aka National Treasure 2]
d. Jon Turteltaub / 2007 / USA / 124 min
I was kind of eager to see this National Treasure sequel following my entertaining chance encounter with the first one on a hotel room television. And given the current state of films of TV, it’s kind of a wonder it had taken so long.
Never before had sheer intellectual brilliance seemed as silly as it did in the first film, and this sequel started in a much similar vein. All the hallmarks were back: enthrallingly implausible conspiracies; hidden codes broken with consummate ease by the pure liquid genius that is Nicolas Cage; a cheesy love-hate relationship between Cage and Diane Kruger; the goofy scion sidekick, etc., etc.
Yet whilst all that guff carried the first film swiftly through to an oddly satisfying conclusion, this time around it quickly gives way to a clunky descent into sub-Indiana Jones territory, eventually leading the gang into a pathetic computer-generated subterranean city of gold in the shadow of Mount Rushmore.
But in spite of its failings – and some rogue fingers! – this National Treasure sequel (not to mention Werner Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant) only added to my newly rediscovered love for Cage – now at its highest peak since Face/Off. Actually, I think it’s probably high time we all revised our opinion of this particular Coppola, and embraced his all-’round shoutiness and OTT behaviour. After all, once you surrender to it, it’s actually pretty darn entertaining.