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“Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” – Early Review (SO-SO POSITIVE)

February 16, 2012

Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor return to what they do best, making bat-shit crazy action flicks. I’m partial to the first “Crank” film, the sequel was ‘meh’, and “Gamer” didn’t do it at all for me. So, when I read that Neveldine/Taylor would be doing a “Ghost Rider” reboot I felt that this was the suitable area for the duo to release some crazy steam, and for the most part it’s a success (more or less), I just keep wondering one major thing – WHY NIC CAGE!?!? WHY!?!?

“Spirit of Vengeance” is a mixture of a reboot/sequel, so I guess you could call it a ‘requel’.  In the film, biker stuntman extraordinaire Johnny Blaze (Cage) makes a simple deal with the devil to save his dying fathers life, but in return he’s cheated and lied to by the devil, better known as Roarke (Ciarán Hinds). Johnny is possessed by an ancient demon, which takes form as ‘the Rider’, a soul hungry entity that is a force to be reckoned with. Johnny ventures half way across the globe to Eastern Europe to hopefully find answers of lifting his curse. There he crosses paths with a man of God, but more importantly a fearsome warrior named Moreau (Idris Elba). Moreau is aware of the Rider’s existence and believes that he can be used for good, but stopping Roarke from turning a young boy, Danny (Fergus Riordan), into the anti-Christ. If Johnny succeeds by saving Danny, Moreau can reward Johnny something he’s been searching for…lifting the curse once and for all.

I’m going to be perfectly blunt, this movie is without a doubt one insane flick. Heed thy warning; do not take any hallucinogenic properties while seeing this movie, I’m almost certain it would be a trip some may not return from. This film is so much different than the first; it’s overall tone, stylistically (camera work & editing), pretty much in everyway this movie was basically a middle finger to Mark Steven Johnsons 2007 film. So in a way, it’s better than the first film, it’s a lot more entertaining. However the film does suffer some issues. Cheap dialogue, boring storyline, and perhaps too chaotic at times makes this movie an overall glorious orchestra of retarded mess. No one, myself included, liked Neveldine/Taylor ‘s “Gamer”, this flick however is basically like “Crank” but with Ghost Rider having all the bat-shit crazy Jason Statham problems.

Nicolas Cage! Oh sweet, crazy, Nic Cage, how we move geeks love your insane antics. People, it’s safe to say that Cage is adding to the fire of Cage-isms here. He goes all out this time around. He’s not the same Johnny Blaze from the last film. He’s not a big kid or child-like at all. He’s mean, he’s creepy, the man’s Looney tunes for crying out loud! And of course he’s on FIRE! Personally I still detest Cage as Ghost Rider, I’ve always thought this was bad casting, but hey, when you’re Nic Cage, who’s known for being a comic book freak geek, you’ll get yourself into pretty much any superhero flick. The man was this close to becoming Superman! It’s scary to think that the man has that much power over people. If you plan on seeing this movie, just let your brain go and let Cage do the rest for you, because that’s all you really can do at this point.

The 3D here wasn’t bad. The action plays well and being a movie that’s truly in your face, the 3D might as well be its only best friend. The camera work in general is quite impressive. Neveldine/Taylor are daredevil directors, they pulled off shots not even the highest acclaimed cinematographer would even dare to try. I’m talking roller blade angles here, skating next to moving cars and shit! Killer stuff! The editing is extremely annoying here; the problem is it’s too clever & chaotic for it’s own good. It’s the director’s choice, we’ve seen it before and they’re not planning to change over night. The movie as a MOVIE is by no means a ‘good movie’, but for what it is, it’s entertaining enough to sit through. Kids will get a kick out of it, the parents will probably enjoy it, PROBABLY, and die hard Ghost Rider fans will probably wipe the sweat away.

MOVIE GRADE: C

3D GRADE: B+

OVERALL GRADE: B-

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Susie permalink
    February 17, 2012 3:42 am

    Nice review! Thanks!

  2. June 18, 2012 11:02 am

    So its from the guys that did “Crank” well that explains it. Yeah I tend to agree that Cage’s acting and mannerisms were applied a little too heavily in this. The movie had some cool ideas, like seeing the Rider transform that massive saw. To me it just seemed like the writers didnt know what to do, so they kept adding Psycho-maniacal montages and hallucinations.

    The villain / villains were a flop. Gotta say I love some of those camera angles. Overall some really bad ass effects. The Terminator 2 style plot ( save the boy, protect the boy), didnt do it for me.
    Still the action was satisfying and thats what saved it from being a disaster.
    GR is a tough sell, in that the story and characterization is often misleading. So I give’em some credit on this attempt. This was an interesting take, but in the next 1, I truely hope they think of a better villain and recast GR as “Dan Ketch” the 3rd rider.

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