Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance Review

By Darrin Jones / February 17

Ingredients: If you liked the horrid cinematography and direction of Hulk (2003), the nauseating acting of The Wicker Man (2006), and the plot of Elektra, you will like this movie.

Full disclosure people, I was not looking forward to this one. I was never a big fan of the Ghost Rider comics or cartoons and was mildly interested in the first Ghost Rider movie. But this movie, this freaking movie, the one positive in its favor has to be that it will make you wish you were watching the original Ghost Rider. Just let that sink in a moment. The plot is your standard “tortured hero” scenario: Johnny Blaze (as played by Nicolas Cage) is a man that is periodically possessed by a vengeful spirit, the Ghost Rider, that compels him to seek out wicked wrongdoers to kill and/or suck out their souls. (Yes, the Ghost Rider’s backstory now involves him eating souls and no, you don’t actually get to see it. Ever.) Johnny must protect a teenage half-demon/half-human boy from being abducted by evil worshipers and turned into the devil’s vessel. In exchange for this, Johnny has been promised freedom from the evil spirit and a chance at a peaceful life. 

But we both know that’s not going to happen. No, this script has been recycled countless times. I bet everyone was really surprised when Ben from the Fantastic Four showed up at the final fight after turning himself back into the Thing. Oh! And what about the time Clark Kent gave up his powers for a normal life but then turned himself back into Superman to save the world again. Really suspenseful right? But seriously, the movie is a bizarre example of cinema. Not only does it completely disregard everything that was established in the previous Ghost Rider movie, it makes up a bunch of new stuff that doesn’t mean anything. I have no idea what they did to put Nicholas Cage back in the motorcycle seat but his acting was just goofy as hell. I know we all cheer for the classic Crazy-Cage moment but for some reason it was just way too comical. The majority of the supporting cast didn’t do the film any favors. The devil, otherwise referred to as “Roarke” (played by Ciaran Hinds), has got to be the worst interpretation of Satan I have ever seen. It really detracts from the devil’s scariness when he goes through the majority of the movie looking like he’s had a stroke. I’m not being mean here people, they actually have the left half of his face paralyzed and saggy. It’s in the script!

The action is in constant flux from over-the-top to outright ridiculous and the villains are just laughable. Ray Carrigan (Johnny Whitworth) is nothing but a distraction. That is until Carrigan is given special powers from the devil allowing Carrigan to decay anything he touches...and also turning him into an albino caveman. I just don’t know what anyone was trying to accomplish with this movie. All the subtly, charisma, and fun from the first Ghost Rider has been completely sucked out. The film work is nauseating throwing quick cuts and distorted angles at the audience. There are some folks that I think deserve special mention: Idris Elba, who plays Moreau, and Fergus Riordan, who plays Danny. Riordan is by no means the best child actor but he is very likable and shows some real acting chops when he flips his Omen switch letting out his inner demon. Elba is just delightfully w
hacky as the religious Frenchman and, I must say, has some damn gorgeous eyes. Men, if you like Ghost Rider and mind-numbing special-effects fights, you could probably see past this movie’s flaws. Women, just lose yourselves in Idris Elba’s eyes until the credits roll.

1 comment:

  1. No lie, his eyes are HOT! I think after this I am officially swearing off Nick Cage. I will no longer hold my breath for another Con Air of even dare to dream of a new Raising Arizona. This movie killed any remaining love I had for him.