Review: Ghost Rider – Spirit Of Vengeance

The original Ghost Rider was an anaemic bit of filmmaking, especially considering the premise – A stunt-bike riding daredevil sells his soul to the Devil to save his father but ends up cursed with a spirit that punishes the sinful and causes his head to burst aflame. So, with Ghost Rider – Spirit Of Vengeance (a sequel of sorts), directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor of Crank fame have been brought in to shake some life into the series. Have they been successful? Let’s see.

Exiling himself to Eastern Europe (more for budgetary reasons than any logical ones), Johnny Blaze (Nicholas Cage) sits about in a dingy garage getting drunk. He’s approached by motorbike-riding monk Moreau (Idris Elba) and charged with protecting a young boy from the Devil himself (Ciaran Hinds). If he completes his task Moreau promises to free Johnny from the curse of the Ghost Rider.

Ghost Rider – Spirit Of Vengeance is produced by Marvel Knights, a branch of Marvel Studios that is dedicated to bringing the darker, more adult-orientated comic strips to the big screen. So, with that in mind, you’d expect Ghost Rider to be little more edgy and/or over-the-top than the usual summer superhero fare. Nope, you’d be completely wrong. Nearly everything about the film falls flat. The predictable plot, the attempts at humour (flaming piss is as sophisticated as it gets), most of the performances, the never-ending but seemingly never enough bursts of action.

Neveldine and Taylor were signed to invigorate the franchise but it often feels like they were hamstrung by a studio unwilling to really let them loose. We’re left with a film that lurches between dumb action sequences involving cursed flaming mining equipment and dull monastic locales prophesying doom. It’s like a drunk desperately grasping at something to steady themselves, flailing wildly and falling face first to the floor. Which is also an apt description of the headache-inducing use of 3D.

The film is abysmal. Well, save for one thing – Nicholas Cage. He is brilliant. And I mean that. He gives a masterclass in overacting. He’s wild-eyed and full of twitches and tics. He shouts and hollers, whispers and mumbles. It’s a joy seeing him have so much fun. Honestly, check it out when he screams “I’ll eat your stinking soul!” at a sleazy night club owner/gun runner. I challenge you not to smile. Ciaran Hinds and Idris Elba attempt to keep up with him, but are left in his wake. Cage and his performance belong in a different, infinitely better movie.

Ghost Rider – Spirit Of Vengeance is out in cinemas now if you really feel the need to see it.

More Reviews:

The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Drive

Haywire

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

Melancholia

Coriolanus

Troll Hunter

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)

Captain America: The First Avenger

Tron

The Girl With Dragon Tattoo (2009)

Hackers

WarGames

Super 8

The Parallax View

Cowboys And Aliens

Swamp Thing

X-Men First Class

The Human Centipede

Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen

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