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Part 1: National Treasure
Ben Gates is Nichoals Cages is the son of John Voight, and like a scaled-down version of Doctor Indy he is being chased around the world by the quest after a giant treasure, hidden by Freemasions and Templers and all the usual suspects of hiding things and conspiring about it. Digging up a ship in the Arctic ice, stealing the American decleration of indepedence, wearing coloured glasses and other stuff that I don’t remember 24 hours after I watched it happen.

With the producers in the background, an admirable cast and plenty of money to spend on location shooting, there is a film that shouts “rollercoaster”, and that’s what it tries to do. A bit of physical action, a bit of heist, a bit of high tech mission impossible, a bit of this stuff and of that, and admittedly this potpurri stays entertaining and most of the time well-paced throughout two hours of running around. It is very hard to remember what exactly they did, but the feeling of a well-choreographed Indy-rip-off and the realisation that well, maybe sometime it needs to be admitted that this is what Nicholas Cage is bet at. The German model playing his girl is actually not bad, too, and comes across quite refreshing – surely she will attract hordes of new students to study the ancient arts of whatever she was a scientist in.

Part 2: National Treasure, Book of Secrets
Ben Gates has to wash clear the name of his ancestor, who was supposed to be a war hero, but now comes under suspicion of having been a part in Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. This leads him to a new trasure hunt, this time it is some Maya city of Gold he needs to find, and the quest takes him through the Queen’s and the US president’s desks, the latter desk’s owner’s kidnapping as well as to a book with all the secrets you ever wanted to know about. Area 51, anyone?

The cast is quite likeable, actually. Same as first time, plus Ed Harris and the Queen and the nice woman with the cute nose from Jericho. They are doing the expected things, but why is it that whenever directors like to Wow their audiences, they have to include car chase scenes in their movies. Adventure films do not need car chases, they need pygmae canibals and poisoned darts stuck into the heroes’ hearts. Anyway: the tourism boards of London, Washington and wherever Mount Rushmore is have kindly contributed to this breath- and slightly brainless hunt. Unfortunately the script is predictable on a painful level (yes, the water dams will break, yes, the Ferrari will be crashed etc. etc.), and there is basically no humour.

The summary from the double feature: the films (both directed by John Turtletaub) are expensive follow-ups to Romancing the Stone, not in the same league of the original, lacking the charme and humour of Indiana Jones’ Goofy Adventures. Entertaining, of course, but only a serious alternative when it’s raining outside and the there is no new “Lost” or “Battlestar Galactica” episode around.

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