‘Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance’ Review
Hands-on the worst movie of 2012.
I don’t remember much of the first ‘Ghost Rider’ in 2006, except for the fact that it was a truly awful film by every standard despite some nifty CGI sequences and a well-cast Nicolas Cage in the role. But when Sony bankrolled a sequel six years later with Cage returning along with ‘Crank’ directing duo Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor coming aboard, I was excited for a ‘Ghost Rider’ movie finally done right. Who was I kidding? Aside from some added craziness and a loony performance by Nicolas Cage, ‘Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance’ is terrible on every other front – a rotten and lifeless screenplay, dim-witted dialogue, incoherent tone and no sense of fun whatsoever.
The film completely forgets about the existence of the first movie and starts fresh with Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) now in hiding after being cursed as the devil’s bounty hunter which transforms him into the Ghost Rider. But when a rebel monk (Idris Elba) approaches him asking for help in saving a young boy from the hands of the Devil himself, he steps out to fight evil once again for a fighting chance to rid himself of his curse.
Let me just get over with the only two good things about this film. There is one crazy action sequence early into the film where Ghost Rider fights a bunch of bad guys and at one point actually starts operating a massive excavator and razing them to the ground one by one. It’s fun to watch because this is the kind of fun you would expect from a movie of this kind in the first place and this is literally the only moment of the film that actually delivers that. The second thing is Nicolas Cage himself – hate the man all you want but after seeing this god-awful movie, you will realise that he’s the best thing about it. His exceptionally crazy performance is comitted and goes into over-drive at times with strong energy and zany facial expressions that are actually a delight to watch. He’s clearly the only person on the entire project that actually cared a bit about the film, because everything else is phoned in.
The first ‘Ghost Rider’ was awful for having a particularly bad plot that had no momentum, no sense of danger or stakes and ultimately amounted to nothing. But there was one thing the first movie still held – it wasn’t boring. This wretched sequel makes you crave for the original story because the one here is bad on whole new levels. It’s uninteresting to the maximum, has the most disposable villains to grace the screen in a long time, and is extremely lifeless to say the least. But most of all, it leads to one of the most boring cinematic experiences I’ve ever had. There is not one character you will care about nor what the outcome of the fights are. The plot involves cults, religious monks, the devil’s army and manages to craft the most terribly written plot out of those elements. It’s a crying shame because the character clearly deserves much better. It’s one of those D-grade direct-to-DVD action movie plots that could very well have had Steven Seagal instead of Ghost Rider in it.
Speaking of the action, the directors of ‘Crank’ were expected to deliver an authentic crazy experience like ‘Crank’ itself was but fail miserably in their efforts. Aside from a couple of crazy fight scenes mentioned above, they’re only interested in choosing strange angles to film things with and edit them in a chaotic manner without any grasp of the story or coherence. It worked extremely well for ‘Crank’ but fails on a whole new level with this material. On top of that, the film looks much cheaper than the last one and it feels like Sony saved a lot of money by shooting the entire movie in one large location. Almost every scene is set in a dusty highway locale whether it’s marked as the Vatican or Turkey. The special effects are not bad and actually do make Ghost Rider look more gritty as he should look, but are highly uneven and some shots look extremely amateur. Add to that dizzy, useless 3-D that you’re in for a painful experience. It not only darkens the entire film but will give you a major headache thanks to the quick-cutting which 3-D never works with.
Save your time and money and just come to the terms with the fact that ‘Ghost Rider’ will never get a good movie. Whether you loved or hated the first film or are a fan of Nicolas Cage, this movie will highly disappoint on all fronts. When a raging Nicolas Cage and scene of pissing fire is the highlight of the film, you know you’ve got an abomination on your hands.