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National Treasure: Book of Secrets


Stars: Nicolas Cage, Diane Kruger, Ed Harris, Jon Voight, Helen Mirren, Harvey Keitel, Justin Bartha, Bruce Greenwood

Director: Jon Turteltaub

Now there's far-fetched. There's frankly unbelievable. And then there's National Treasure: Book of Secrets.

Treasure hunter Ben Gates (Cage) searches for the fabled lost city of gold - didn't the Lone Ranger once discover one of those? - at the same time hoping to find evidence that will clear his ancestors of complicity in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

Conveniently separated from his girlfriend (Kruger) so that he can break into her home with his sidekick (Bartha) - when she comes back why don't they hide? - Ben is soon on a see-it-to-believe-it trail (via a code hidden in assassin John Wilkes Booth's diary) that runs from a Statue of Liberty in Paris, through the Queen's study at Buck House (where the worst scene in the film takes place) to the Oval Office in the White House, where a kidnapped president (Greenwood) obligingly gives Ben a clue to the whereabouts of the book of the title.

Also on the trail is villain Harris, who tries to kill Ben and Co in a car chase, theatens to cut his girlfriend's throat, then apologises for smearing the Gates family name. Mirren is roped in as the professional ex of Ben's dad (Voight), so that the script can ensure that she and Kruger are both reunited lovingly with their former partners.

Turns out that Mount Rushmore was a carve-up (sorry, cover-up) designed to conceal a city of gold beneath its surrounding rocks, and that's where everyone ends up, after Ben has easily sussed out the right stretch of rock.

Despite its multiple absurdities, this is a well-made, exciting and spectacularly staged film. Much like the first one, of course, but then I guess that's what fans are expecting.

David Quinlan

USA 2007. UK Distributor: Walt Disney. Colour by deluxe/Technicolor.
124 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 03 Feb 2008