When he was a boy, the Illusionist fell in love with an aristocratic young girl. The social strictures of the time would not allow them to be together, so the boy was taken away. He studied for many years to become the world's greatest stage magician ... When he returned home, the girl had become Duchess Jessica Biel . Unfortunately, she was also engaged to the Crown Prince ...
This turns into a whodunnit of sorts. It is all quite predictable, and this reviewer saw the twists coming. The film owes quite a lot to other, better films - though to name them would ruin the ending.
Biel is the film's real discovery - she had to audition for the role, but plays opposite a trio of top actors and holds her own!
Carey's wife ( Virginia Madsen ) buys him a second-hand copy of a novel. He notices several strange similarities between the life of the book's protagonist and his own upbringing. But the number 23 starts to crop up in his life, and coincidences slowly drive him to complete paranoia.
As Carey digs deeper, he uncovers evidence regarding the disappearance of Rhona Mitra . The plot takes a few unexpected twists, and is very entertaining.
Cage does not care about saving the world. He just wants to hang out with Jessica Biel . Not just for the obvious reasons (she is about half his age!) ... but she somehow boosts his precog abilities so he can see days in advance, instead of just a couple of minutes.
Lee Tamahori does a great job of keeping the pace up, and the action scenes are incredibly well done. The villains are French terrorists, who want to nuke an American city for some reason. This makes no sense, of course, but they probably forgot about that along the way.
Uma Thurman pops up as the token babe. Yes, Affleck needs someone to explain plot points and stuff to - but isn't that why he already has Giamatti as his sidekick? Kathryn Harold has a brief appearance as well, although hers is actually relevant to the plot!
Evan has a crappy childhood. He is troubled by mysterious flashbacks. His father (Callum Keith Rennie - BSG 2003 ) is in the Asylum ... and his Stand By Me childhood adventures suck.
When Evan grows up and becomes college-boy Kutcher, he has flashbacks to his missing childhood memories. He even finds out that he can change his past - so he changes things to help his girlfriend ( Amy Smart ).
Unfortunately, every time he tries it he makes things worse. And every time he goes back in time, the extra memories give him brain damage. This explains why, even when he is presented with the best way out, he continues to attempt other means.
On the way home the quartet are in a car crash. Our hero gets brain damaged, and apparently a side-effect is that he gets the same time-travel super-power that the hero of the original film had.
The original film featured a young man whose life and limb were constantly in danger. This sequel features a protagonist whose dilemmas basically concern his work-life balance.
To spice up the office-work a bit, the plot takes a swerve. It turns out that one of the start-up's investors is gangster JR Bourne ( Teen Wolf ).