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National Treasure: Book of Secrets

Release Date: 
Star Rating: 
6 out of 10
Since the first one turned into a surprise hit, Disney—which has never met a sequel opportunity it didn't drool over—has gone to the well again, resurrecting treasure hunter Benjamin Franklin Gates (Nicolas Cage) in a mission that this time is personal. When John Wilkes Booth's diary is unearthed with 18 pages missing, it reveals that Ben's great-grandfather might have been implicated in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Ben and his team of Abigail (Diane Kruger) and Riley (Justin Bartha) set out to solve the mystery, with the help of a map that eventually will lead them all the way to Mount Rushmore. On this journey, they hit such spots as the Library of Congress and Buckingham Palace. One key problem is no one but the U.S. president is reportedly privy to the so-called "Book of Secrets," a tome that unveils answers to everything from the Civil War to JFK's assassination. The only way Ben can get to it or even find proof of its existence is to kidnap none other than the commander in chief (Bruce Greenwood), which he does in one of the film's most ludicrously entertaining sequences. Soon his doubting dad (Jon Voight) and others, including an expert in these matters (Helen Mirren), join in the adventure to clear Great-gramp's good name. However, they must beat villain Ed Harris to the punch in order to do it. Even though it's all wildly unbelievable and rather hokey at times, National Treasure: Book of Secrets manages to surpass the first one for pure movie fun and some decent heart-pounding action, a totally safe family entertainment from opening credits to closing logo. Cage fortunately carries it; he's back in top form and leading a first-rate cast.