Jun 19, 2012

Film Review: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Moreau (Idris Elba), an unconventional French monk (or something?) with a love for wine tries to help a gypsy-woman named Nadya (Violante Placido) protect her young son, Danny (Fergus Riordan) from dark forces. Drug dealer/gun-runner/all-around bad guy, Ray Carrigan (Johnny Whitworth) has been hired by the devil, going by the name/identity of Roarke (Ciaran Hinds) to capture Danny, and given a bitter past with Nadya, wants to kill her too. Moreau quickly finds himself outmatched by the forces of darkness and hunts down Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage), the possessed vessel of the spirit of vengeance known as Ghost Rider. Moreau promises Rider that if he can save the kid, he'll cure him of his possession.

It doesn't take long before it's obvious this film was directed by the combo known as Neveldine/Taylor (Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor), known for their creations: Gamer and Crank 1 and 2. Things get silly, tacky, and ridiculous in the most fun way possible. Everything these guys touch seems like they just genuinely want to make a fun film over any other requirement. However, their strengths lie in three distinct areas: characters, setting, and action. The interesting characters could also be attributed to David S. Goyer, who co-wrote Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance as well as Christopher Nolen's Batman trilogy, Jumper, and the Blade trilogy. But he was only one of three writers to create this script, so I don't pin some of the faults this film's plot has on him. And believe me, it is not a perfect script/plot.

My Highlights:
The construction yard action scene and the car chase scene make this movie worth it.

Overall Rating:
I'll be the first to admit I don't like Nicolas Cage. I've missed much of his early work that garners much praise amongst my social circle, but nothing I've ever seen him in made me think he couldn't/shouldn't have been replaced by someone better. He even soured Kick-Ass for me, which I loved. Although I blamed the abomination of a film that was Ghost Rider 1 on Cage, I can see now in this film that Ghost Rider 1 had enough problems with or without the choice for main lead. This sequel is easily superior to the first, even if the plot is jumbled and hectic. It's a brilliant B-movie to make you yell at the screen or cheer when the bad guys get their just desserts in a gruesome manner. I went into the film with really low expectations and came out really pleased. Overall rating...

4 / 5

When You Should See It:
Because it's a terrific B-movie, but a B-movie none the less, I wouldn't suggest buying this blindly at full-price. Wait until the price drops to around the $10 mark and get it on blu-ray. Get it on 3D blu-ray if you really want the full effect, as there were attempts to appease that audience in the film. But certainly, at the very least, give it a rent or turn it on when you see it advertised on your local TV listings.

image from Amazon

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