Action Movies, by Mike Richardson, 29 February 2012

Genre: Action

Director: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor

Stars: Nicolas Cage, Ciarán Hinds and Idris Elba

Country: USA

Runtime:

Release Date:

Language: English

It’s symptomatic of how backwards this world has become that the minority got their wish and cinema was blessed with Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, in 3-D. Nicolas Cage gets to reduce his “taxes due” and we get the further adventures of Johnny Blaze aka Ghost Rider; the devil’s Bounty Hunter.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

The first Ghost Rider film was awful; awful like Nicolas Cage’s wig, awful like Eva Mendez’s character, awful like the line “I feel like my skull’s on fire”, awful like the idea that a vigilante who leaves a burning trail behind him everywhere he goes, would be impossible to track, to be honest the film was probably about as bad as Nicolas Cage’s tax bill.

With the second helping the studio made a wise choice when they committed (for whatever reason) to this film, by employing the filmmaking duo of Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, the creative brains behind (unashamedly silly and fun ) movies like “Crank” and “Crank 2: High Voltage”, they also added a little class to the mix by casting Idris Elba (as “a Black, French, alcoholic priest, who’s kind of a dick”) as a bike riding plot developer, Violante Placido (“the devil’s baby momma”) as a sexy gypsy, Ciarán Hinds (as British movie villain #3,275) playing the Rider’s devilish foe, and they ditched the silly wig too.

But to no accord, as they were still left with a weak as water story and a damp squib of a film.

After Ghost Rider (#1) Johnny Blaze is attempting to live a quiet life in Europe, (possibly for tax reasons) and failing. The plot is kick-started when Elba’s biker priest offers Blaze a chance to escape his curse and break his deal with the devil by rescuing Placido’s son, who may possibly be a suitable vessel for the Prince of Darkness to walk the planet, bringing Hell on earth with him.

However, this is all just an excuse to string together a fight, followed by a chase, followed by a skirmish, followed by a dash, before some battling, some pursuing, a pursuit another scrap, some bike riding and finally a climatic mêlée / chase and it’s all in glorious 3D hooorrray!

Ghost Rider, the character is a bit pointless, a rider he may be a ghosts he certainly isn’t. And a superhero whose main power seems to be simply “being on fire” is considerably less interesting than Batman, Spiderman, Iron Man, and in fact makes Daredevil look complex. Nicholas Cage, who was such good fun to watch in (the holy action trinity of) Face/Off, Con Air and The Rock is now impossible to take seriously as an action hero and is in danger of becoming a walking parody of himself.

Cage spoke of “channeling a cobra” for the role of the Ghost Rider and I can only assume that this explains the twitchy, rasping performance he gives. Unless “channeling a cobra” is some form of casting couch euphemism for somebody desperate for a pay cheque.

All intelligence and originality involved in this film seems to have been spent on the title, “Ghost Rider 2” and while sequels are traditionally poor replicas of the original, in this case the original should have been bad enough to bury the franchise. But Ghost Rider, even in 3D is just more of the same awfulness.

Our Rating: 3/10

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance Trailer

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