National Treasure: Book of Secrets

Rated 4.0

Adventure, mystery and history are constants in the National Treasure franchise, which, with its second installment, keeps the ball rolling at an invigorating speed. Book of Secrets meets back up with Ben Gates (Nicolas Cage), his father (Jon Voight), comic sidekick Riley (Justin Bartha) and wife (Diane Kruger). This time around, they’re on a quest to save the good Gates name. It turns out a distant relative, Thomas Gates, was a hero during the Civil War (for burning a cryptic page in a diary that would lead the Confederates to treasure). But Mitch Wilkinson (Ed Harris) has new evidence that suggests Mr. Gates was instead part of the conspiracy to assassinate President Lincoln. The adventure takes Ben and Co. across the ocean and back, involves kidnapping the current president and breaking into Buckingham Palace. All while Wilkinson and his henchmen (not to mention the FBI) are hot on their trail, of course. The film is a bit formulaic, and there are a few scenes that cheapen the thrills, namely one seemingly stolen straight from True Lies in which Ben dons a scuba suit over a tux in order to sneak into a party unannounced. None of this is enough, however, to take away from the adventure and intrigue—all tied into American history, no less—that keep the film exciting till the end.