Sunday, March 4, 2012

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012)

Seen: In 3D at the Boston Common AMC/Loews.

A few years after the events of the first film- in which stunt biker Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) becomes the devil's fire-breathing bounty hunter after selling his soul as a teen to save his father's life- our hero is chilling Eastern Europe. He is called upon by an adorable alcoholic priest (Idris Elba) to find and protect a mysterious, possibly demonic boy (Fergus Riordan) and his sexy eye-liner mom (Violante Placido). They're chased after by the devil's henchmen and then the devil himself (Ciarán Hinds), whose face got super gross.

Let it be known that the main draw for us here was directing team Neveldine and Taylor, who know how to entertain, and the idea of them teaming up with crazy Nicolas Cage was too good to pass up. It seemed like the perfect match. Plus it's got Idris Elba! Wowee! And while the filmmakers certainly delivered in the crazy-action, fast-paced storytelling department, I don't think there was much to be done about the truly awful script. It's just, everything was really stupid. And I know that's sort of part of the charm, but it was too much, really. I dug the action sequences, and I like how utterly ridiculous Neveldine and Taylor always are, from pissing fire to a wacky long-term car chase. These guys can't stand long stretches of dialogue, leading to some hilarious points when weird editing and other distractions render the actual conversation irrelevant, but that only goes so far. It's way boring for large stretches.

It's better than the first one, I can say that with certainty, but aside from some cool action scenes, totally wacky performances from Elba and Cage, and a few beautifully-animated expository sequences, Spirit of Vengeance isn't really recommend-able. I mostly wonder who wanted this? Just Cage, right? Like, no one could have wanted this.

Some nice locations, though. I dug the white-faced priests' desert cave headquarters. And Anthony Stewart Head pops up for like 30 seconds in the beginning! That was exciting! I think a new game will be to spot him in blink-and-you'll-miss-it bit parts, like Sweeney Todd.


Pair This Movie With: The whole saving a potentially evil kid-thing made me think of Night Watch, a much better movie. Or if you want to see more of Nicolas Cage saving a kid and fighting a satanic cult, you can't go wrong with Drive Angry.


  1. The first was at least watchable. Will check it out on NetFlix.

  2. I keep hearing about how great an actor Idris Elba is, yet post-Wire, all he can get, it seems, are bad comic book movies. What's up with that?

  3. "I mostly wonder who wanted this? Just Cage, right? Like, no one could have wanted this."

    HAHAHA! That's so unfortunately true. I really have no idea who the target audience was, except Nicolas Cage. I'm happy to know it's better than the first one, but that's really not saying much. It's hard to do any worse. I might have to check it out on netflix for exactly the reasons you mentioned--the directing team, Idris Elba, and the killer actions sequences. And some morbid curiosity. Great review!