Review: Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance
PLOT: Johnny Blaze is summoned to get all fire and brimstone in order to save a young boy from becoming the devil’s latest host. While on the journey, the Ghost Rider soon finds that the devil can create an equally dangerous bad guy, one in particular that can turn fresh fruit rotten with only his touch. Go Ghost Rider, Go!
To say GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE is slightly better than the first flaming skeleton head flick isn’t quite the compliment it should be. You’d expect one hell of a thrill ride from Neveldine/Taylor, not a struggle to keep awake. Yet this beast of a flick aside from a couple of semi-exciting set pieces is a predictable and generic bore. Sure you’ve got Nicolas Cage doing his thing – the same thing he has been doing for awhile now – yet sadly he is only mildly more interesting than he was the first time around. The only saving grace is the addition of Idris Elba, he manages to spark a little fire in this ho hum affair.
The best news is that if you haven’t suffered through the original, you don’t need to bother to get caught up here. We are introduced to Johnny Blaze (Cage) and the pact he made with the devil. Of course he is looking for a way to stop the demon that is inside him, alas nothing works. That is until he is visited by Moreau (Elba) who convinces him to save a young boy (Fergus Riordan) before Roarke (Ciarán Hinds) - the devil in disguise - can get his hands on him. Apparently he plans some sort of ceremony to take over the boy’s body and soul or something like that. Whatever the intention, the result is a half-ass story with a dumb script. Oh yeah, there is something about a group of monk’s who will turn Johnny Blaze back into JUST Johnny Blaze if he saves the boy… again, whatever!
As far as the 3D goes, you’ve seen it before. This post-conversion job felt lazy and brought nothing new to Mr. Flame Head’s latest adventure. The effects were all over the place, yet the Ghost Rider himself looked better than he did the first time out. Some of the most interesting shots included a few animated sequences that added a little flair to the proceedings. It was especially cool to see Blaze sign his bloody deal with the devil in a fresh way. You have to wonder if the entire film would’ve benefitted from being completely animated.
As far as the look of the film, Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor gave this sequel their own style. Sometimes it worked. The final confrontation picked things up a bit, and a couple of other moments added a little life to this generic story. Aside from the nice blend of animation, the new bad guy also had some promise with another scene chewing thespian named Johnny Whitworth who plays Ray Carrigan. Both Ghosty and Whitworth’s rot inducing Paleface looked pretty cool as far as make-up design and special effects are concerned. The two even have a fun fight here and there. Yet when they weren’t fighting and they were moving the story forward by speaking, it was a borderline painful experience.
From some of the early footage, this looked to be a fun time at the movies type of flick. I get the fact that much of it is done with tongue firmly planted in cheek, but the problem is that this just isn’t any fun. Aside from a couple of decent action sequences, the bland plot and the lame attempt at storytelling have nothing to offer. Neveldine and Taylor can shoot a stylistically pleasing flick, hopefully next time it will be one worth watching.
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