In this goofy, good-natured sequel to his 2004 hit, Nicolas Cage returns as mystery-solving treasure hunter Ben Gates. When crooked antiquities dealer Wilkinson (Ed Harris) turns up with a page from the diary of Lincoln's assassin, it seems to prove that Ben's ancestor was a co-conspirator, whilst incidentally hinting at the existence of an Eldorado-like city of gold. Ben, along with dad Patrick (Jon Voight), girlfriend Abigail (Diane Kruger) and partner Riley (Justin Bartha), set about solving the clues which will lead them - and baddie Wilkinson - to the mythical metropolis, hopefully clearing the name of Ben's ancestor en route. Like its predecessor, this is The Da Vinci Code, but with intentional, if corny, laughs.
The globe is duly trotted: Ben and co stop off in Paris (to retrieve a clue from the original Statue of Liberty), London (to nab some hieroglyphs from the Queen's desk), and back to America, where Ben is forced to kidnap the President in order to get hold of the riddle-solving book of state secrets, which urban myth declares all presidents must pass on to one another. Ben's mum Emily (Helen Mirren) proves useful as a hieroglyph translator, and the whole cavalcade ends up at Mount Rushmore for a waterlogged subterranean climax.
"THE SET PIECES LOOK REFRESHINGLY PHYSICAL"
This isn't pretending to be anything other than popcorn fun with a (very) light educational touch, and teenage viewers might, just possibly, be piqued into thinking about history as well as hip-hop. Nicolas Cage's dazed delivery, often laughable in drama, doesn't jar in this frothy fare, and the set-pieces look refreshingly physical rather than CG. Parents needn't worry about the presence of Harvey Keitel as a (rather half-hearted) lawman: this being a Disney production, he's on his best behaviour throughout.
National Treasure: Book Of Secrets is out in the UK on 8th February 2008.