Evan Jones

Lots of magic — but little illumination — in 'Houdini'

Lots of magic — but little illumination — in 'Houdini'

Oscar winner Adrien Brody is the big get for History's biopic "Houdini," an attempt to reveal the man behind the great-escape legend. It is also, one assumes, a bid to re-ignite the network's original drama flame sparked by 2012's similarly star-studded "Hatfields & McCoys."

Unfortunately, "Houdini," unlike its subject, does not dream big enough. The series airs over two nights beginning Monday.

Much of its four hours is spent showcasing the escapes, with the "man behind" bits filled in almost entirely by monotonous voice-over and "historical" moments that do indeed defy imagination. (The meeting of Houdini and Rasputin...

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