It’s been three years since we saw the world’s greatest illusionists — known as the Four Horsemen — playing a game of cat-and-mouse with the FBI. Now, the master magicians have resurfaced for a mesmerizing adventure that ups the ante in terms of both audacity and visual effects.
This sequel wows the audience with a combination of spectacular stunts and an array of exotic locales. However, if you don’t expect a coherent plot, then this globe-trotting fantasy will not disappoint you.
Directed by Jon M. Chu (Jem and the Holograms), the movie co-stars Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, and Dave Franco who reprise their lead roles as Merritt, Daniel, and Jack respectively. Lizzy Caplan rounds out the principal cast as Lula, replacing Isla Fisher as a member of the Four Horsemen. The ensemble cast also includes Academy Award-winners Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine, as well as Daniel (Harry Potter) Radcliffe and Sanaa Lathan.
After filling in a bit of backstory from 1984, the movie fast-forwards to the present where we find our heroes being blackmailed by Walter Mabry (Radcliffe), a billionaire bad boy who is bent on world domination. He has designs on “The Stick,” a special computer chip that will give him unfettered access to the back door of every computer on the planet.
Of course, the quartet proves adept at staying a step ahead of the megalomaniacal misanthrope. Instead of accommodating Mabry, they proceed to use their seemingly supernatural powers in displays of hocus-pocus.
Although the group is worried about restoring its tarnished reputation, that concern takes a back seat to staging a series of implausible magical acts.
There’s also a competition among the four with each one endeavoring to outdo the other. The ensuing feats make for an eye-popping blockbuster, even if what’s on the screen is computer generated special effects.
Excellent (***½ stars). Rated PG-13 for violence and some profanity. Running time: 115 minutes. Distributor: Lionsgate Films.