“Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” takes several steps up from its original, which isn’t saying much since the first was just all around terrible. Directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, who brought us the “Crank” films, certainly have what is takes to build a high-octane action flick. If only they had a decent screenwriter on board.
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“Vengeance” is not a prequel nor is it really a sequel. The movie is more about taking the comic book source material and developing it into another story about Johnny Blaze. Neveldine and Taylor do a decent job of bringing us up to speed, even if you didn’t watch the first film. A good portion of the back story is told through lifeless animation that is unnecessary and it actually hurts the film since we lose focus of the current story.
The film begins as we see Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) hiding out in a dark hut in Eastern Europe to conceal his inner demon he so desperately wants to be rid of. When Blaze was just a teen, he made a deal with the devil in order to spare the life of his father. In that deal, the Devil put a demon inside of Blaze, transforming him into the Ghost Rider when he is in the presence of evil.
Moreau (Idris Elba), a drunken warrior Monk (which I’m sure there are many of out there), tracks Blaze down because he needs his help in saving a young boy who the Devil (in this film, Ciaran Hinds) wants. If the boy were to be given over to the Devil, a really, really bad thing will happen. Moreau tells Blaze if he helps him track down the boy, he will rid Blaze of the curse.
Blaze agrees and jumps on his motorcycle in order to find the child. But will Blaze ride as himself or let the Ghost Rider take over?
A huge reason why “Vengeance” exceeds the original is the fact that Cage actually plays Ghost Rider in this one. I can’t believe other stuntmen acted out Ghost Rider the first time around. It looked too fake, and you can tell it wasn’t Cage. The directors’ choice to finally have Cage play Ghost Rider made all the difference. Cage wore a skull mask while filming, and CGI artists later added the infamous flaming skull.
“Vengeance’s” plot is merely mediocre, and the film includes some of the goofiest dialogue and acting I’ve ever seen on screen. However, it’s self-aware of its ridiculous and corny moments, qualities that could translate into a great “bad” movie classic.
The 3D is basically non-existent, and that’s because it wasn’t shot in 3D. The third dimension was added later. So if you choose to see it in theaters, save yourself a few bucks and see it in 2D.
“Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” is over-the-top and dumb, but the film lets Cage have more fun than he had in his recent, inferior action films.