Sometimes there is nothing wrong with a good solid cinematic romp. "Now You See Me" is a fun and light romp about a bunch of magicians robbing a bank that does exactly what it sets out to do, which is entertain.
"Now You See Me" pits an elite FBI squad in a game of cat and mouse against "The Four Horsemen", a super-team of the world's greatest illusionists, hypnotists and magicians. "The Four Horsemen" pull off a series of daring heists against corrupt business leaders during their performances, showering the stolen profits on their audiences while staying one step ahead of the law as they keep working towards their goal that would ultimately baffle everyone that is hot on their tails.
With its flair for a certain degree of old school showmanship, "Now You See Me" isn't a film that is meant to be taken all that seriously. Director Louis Leterrier whose previous films include "The Transporter" and "Clash of the Titans" unquestionably leans very heavily on the caper aspects of the story and to his credit he keeps the action moving at a pretty brisk pace and we jet set and hop all across the country with our protagonists. The script does leave a few gaping plot holes and the characters range from underdeveloped to somewhat cartoonish at times, but it's the kind of film where it is supposed to be like that. If you can switch the brain off in your head and simply go for the ride then there shouldn't be any problem on this one as Leterrier has never been one for in-depth character drama, however he can make an action romp with the best of them. For the most part, this loaded ensemble cast knew exactly the kind of film that they were making and brought some good energy to the screen.
Jesse Eisenberg works well as J Daniel Atlas our lead illusionist, displaying simultaneous levels of charm, smarm and a little bit of likable arrogance that works so well in the role. Woody Harrelson matches him with an equal level of swagger and charm and both Isla Fisher and Dave Franco do solid work rounding out this team of "The Four Horseman". On the flip side of the equation, Mark Ruffalo as the pursuing FBI agent plays it all so flummoxed that is a little forced and almost telegraphed, actually the law enforcement characters in the film get some of the worse lines as Melanie Laurent, Michael Kelly, David Warshofsky and Common half to suffer through some dry and occasionally insufferable dialogue. Even though it was seemingly by design it was still mildly grating to have the nature of those characters telegraphed to that extent. Morgan Freeman as the illusionist debunker and Michael Caine as "The Four Horsemen's" benefactor were fine, but also merely props in the overall story as we build to the conclusion and the real intent of the "Horsemen".
The picture and sound quality on this Blu-Ray were first rate and along with an extended cut of the film that adds 10 extra minutes, the special features include a feature length audio commentary track with producer Bobby Cohen and producer Louis Letterier, a behind the scenes look at the film, a brief history of magic and deleted scenes.
At the end of the day, "Now You See Me" will never be confused for high art, or even for a high concept action romp. However if you want to watch some fairly ridiculous and entertaining things happen on screen in a story that gives the audience a reasonably enjoyable conclusion, then "Now You See Me" doesn't pull a disappearing act by forgetting to be entertaining.
3 out of 5 stars.