‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ review: Dwayne Johnson brings the smoulder while Kevin Hart brings the funny in action-packed sequel

Awkwafina, Danny DeVito and Danny Glover join the cast in thrilling journey back into the video game world

Veronica Lin |

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'Jumanji: The Next Level' brings back Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart and more.

Jumanji: The Next Level brings the entire gang back, and once again blurs the lines between fantasy and reality. With over-the-top action scenes and goofy one-liners, this holiday blockbuster is a fun but forgettable ride.

One year after they escape from the magical video game, Spencer, Fridge, Martha and Bethany return home from university for a reunion. When Spencer disappears in the game world once more, it’s up to the rest of them to rescue him.

The stellar action sequences are definitely the highlight of the film. One scene involves the group being chased by an army of ostriches through an open desert; it’s a stunning visual spectacle. The well-crafted set pieces make the film feel like one massive dose of adrenaline.

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The acting is also on point; each main cast member is given the chance to show off their range as the characters switch between avatar and player. Dwayne Johnson shines in particular as Dr Smolder Bravestone, who is controlled by both the teenaged Spencer, and his elderly grandfather Eddie (Danny Devito). New addition to the cast Awkwafina also adds balance and nuance to her avatar.

Unfortunately, the clichéd dialogue is a low point of the sequel and many of the jokes fall flat, despite heroic efforts from the stars. The plot is also predictable but these lows aren’t enough to stop this being essential viewing for action fans this holiday season.