First Hit: Very convoluted and moderately interesting story to show large scale illusions.
I would have settled on a film that had big magical illusions by tricking banks, Wall Street, a crooked company or something of that nature. In other words, more like the first film.
The story attempts to make a computer chip have the power to get past any security on any computer. Insurance tycoon Arthur Tressler (Michael Caine) wants this chip badly because anyone breaking into his computers will find out he’s committed fraud. He enlists Walter Maybry (Daniel Radcliffe) to do what it takes to get the chip that the four horsemen have stolen.
Just to get here, the horsemen J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg), Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson), Jack Wilder (Dave Franco) and new horseman Lula (Lizzy Caplan), are in hiding from the last film and being chased by the FBI including the horseman’s insider Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo).
The film spends too much time making as issue of Atlas’s wanting to be in charge of the horseman, trying to make a connection with the mysterious “Eye”, and how they got to China.
Then there is the questionably antagonist Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman) who appears to be against the horseman but more specifically, Rhodes, but is he?
The film does come together in the end but the magic and illusion (the reason I wanted to see the film) of the last trick was telegraphed and I knew it was coming. In other words, it didn’t work on me.
Caine was appropriately stoic and arrogant. Radcliffe didn’t help his resume any. I didn’t think he was powerful enough to make his role work. Eisenberg was OK but not his best stuff. Harrelson had two roles, his twin and Merritt. I enjoyed their (his) interplay from time to time. Franco had a more minimal role in this film and I’m not sure that was the best move. Caplan as the new horseman was good and brought a more positive energy to the cast. Freeman was his ever present steady self. Ed Solomon wrote a convoluted uninteresting screenplay from his own story. Jon M. Chu probably did his best with this film but the story was weak.
Overall: My guess there will be another film but if it is based on a story like this one, it will be a not be very good.