June 10, 2012

Filthy Review - Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011)

Review by Jude Felton

As a film fan I still get a twinge of excitement when Nicolas Cage makes a movie. I mean, this is the guy that starred in such wonderful movies as Rumble Fish, Wild at Heart and Face/Off. I still hope, in my heart of hearts, that one day he will return to the screen in a movie that delivers the way these films did. Alas, of late we have been subjected to films like The Wicker Man and Knowing. Granted he does throw out fun flicks like Drive Angry and Trespass was decent enough, but he seems to have gone off the boil. This seems to happen to Oscar winners; just look at Adrien Brody and Cuba Gooding Jr.

Anyway, back in 2007 Cage starred in the first Ghost Rider movie, and to be honest it just wasn’t memorable. It wasn’t flat-out crap, just uninspired and lacked that wow factor. Now he has returned to the role of Johnny Blaze in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, which apparently isn’t a sequel, although it quite blatantly is. Regardless of its ties to the 2007 movie it does have one thing firmly in its favor, and that is the directing team of Neveldine/Taylor. These are the guys that went batshit crazy with Crank and Crank 2: High Voltage, the latter being one of the most over the top Hollywood flicks I have seen. They also directed Gamer, which wasn’t in the league of the Crank films, but for two thirds of its running time it was a fun flick.

My hope was that this duo would be able to unleash the crazy genius that Cage is capable of. At the very least we would get a crash course in mental, with the Ghost Rider at the controls. Well, we don’t always get what we want do we?

In Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Johnny Blaze have upped and moved to Europe. He still struggles with the curse of the Ghost Rider, which turns him into the fiery anti-hero that dispatches evil, but to a degree he has it under control. Now, if this was about Blaze just chilling out in Europe it would be a fairly pointless movie, so when he is asked, by a secret sect, to find a child, in return he will be relieved of his curse, he has a new mission on his hands. I’d like to go into a little more detail about the plot; however it is so uninspired that I won’t.

The long and short of it is that Johnny has to try and find this kid, a group of loony’s also want to get their hands on him, Christopher Lambert turns up briefly to remind us that he has appeared in flicks aside from the Highlander movies, Ciaran Hinds pops up as the Devil and bestows the power of decay on one of the loony’s and the scene is set for some action-packed fun. Not quite.

First off, and this is the good stuff about the movie, Nicolas Cage as the Ghost Rider is entertaining to watch, although it is when the film goes in CGI mayhem mode that it is at its best. Some of the scenes with the Ghost Rider in are really good fun. For some reason he moves a little like something out of a Marilyn Manson video, but still it is quite cool. Apart from that the rest of the film falls flat. The script is tired and clichéd, just about everyone in the film either under acts or over acts, in particular the usually very good Ciaran Hinds and it all finishes rather redundantly.

I honestly got the feeling that something was holding Neveldine/Taylor back; there didn’t seem to be the energy on the screen that I expected from one of their movies. I mean, it’s not a terrible movie; it just lacks that spark of life, that flame up the ass, if you will.

Personally I really like the character of Ghost Rider, and I am hoping that one day a movie will be made that does him justice, because this is not that movie. It’ll pass an hour and a half painlessly enough; you’ll just wonder whether or not it was worth it.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is release on Blu-ray and DVD on June 12th from Columbia Pictures and Sony Home Entertainment.

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