Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance Movie Review
Against my better instincts, I went to the theater and paid for two tickets to Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance today. I had seen that the movie had a score of about 16% on Rotten Tomatoes, and prior to this, I was actually kind of excited to see it. The first movie was far from good, but I had read that this was a sort of reboot, with a new pair of directors (Neveldine/ Taylor, the guys behind the Crank movies) and a completely separate story. Even though my hopes had been crushed by an aggregate score, I decided to check the movie out anyway, since everything else I wanted to see had already left the theater. It seems as though all movies get about 5 days in the theater these days, but I digress.
I’ll get straight to the point: Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance is a lot better than I expected.
Don’t get me wrong, it is by no means a “good” movie. This is the epitome of B-movie ridiculousness. Have you seen the Crank movies? The directors’ craziness is imprinted on every frame of this film. If you could imagine Nic Cage in Crank instead of Jason Statham, you’ll begin to get a picture of what you’re in for. And I’m not talking National Treasure or Con-Air Nic Cage, I’m talking full blown, off-the-wall, NOT THE BEES!! Nic Cage. But honestly, this is the best way to make Ghost Rider interesting, and Nic Cage is the right man for the job here. I wasn’t bored or rolling my eyes at a lame love story like I was in the original Ghost Rider. There is no love story here- that’s the greatest thing about it. In fact, for the whole movie Cage’s Johnny Blaze has to hold back The Rider from deep frying the main girl with his flamethrower-breath fatality, since Ghost Rider destroys everyone in his path who’s ever jaywalked, peed in the shower, or watched an episode of Glee.
Before I go further, I’ll explain the bare-bones plot. The woman in question is Nadya, and she too made a deal with the devil, in her case to save her life. In return, he made her give him a child. Really weird plot point here. In the flashback explaining the scene, he doesn’t even offer any sort of proof that he is who is says he is and he can do what he says he can do. For all she knew he could have been some crazy bum who wanted to bang a hot chick before she died. Moving on, the boy she mothers is Danny Ketch, future Ghost Rider (not mentioned in the movie), and bad men are tracking the two of them down so that the Devil can perform some weird ritual and possess his son’s body, as his earthly form is decaying. Meanwhile, in Eastern Europe, Johnny Blaze is trying his best to subdue his inner demon and drinking copious amounts of booze (I guess he stopped drinking jellybeans like he did in the original). He was tricked in the original movie into making a deal to save his father’s life, and of course his father died and he was burdened with a bloodthirsty demon possessing his body in the presence of evil for all eternity. A man named Moreau pays Blaze a visit, explains that he needs his help to save Danny, and in exchange he’ll cleanse Johnny of his curse. Strangely, it’s shown that Moreau doesn’t even know Nadya or Danny, and it’s not explained why he cares about saving him. He’s some kind of priest and I assume that his ulterior motive is to stop the Devil from taking on a fresher form, but the movie could have explained this a bit better.
Some of the best parts of the movie are when they let Cage loose, especially one memorable bit where he’s interrogating a gun-for-hire about the boy’s whereabouts. As he’s trying to hold The Rider back, he twitches, screams, and just acts like a maniac as his face morphs into skull mode and back. It’s hilarious, but the great thing about this movie is that it’s intentionally funny. This part in particular brought back fond memories of the laughs I got watching Bruce Campbell lose himself in the role of Ash in Evil Dead 2. B-movie hilarity. This movie is not meant to be taken seriously at all, and it’s all the better for it. After Satan, or Rourke as he’s referred to here, transforms one of his henchman into a demon who has the power to decay anything, he tests out his powers. A piece of wood is thrown at him; it rots and crumbles in his hands. A nearby EMT meets his demise in a grisly flesh rotting CGI gore-fest. Then he gets in the ambulance, and looks for something to eat; an apple decays, a sandwich decays, before he finally finds a Twinkie that he unwraps and watches as nothing happens.
Once The Rider takes on his full form, he’s a little less maniacal, and a bit more creepy. The way he moves is almost something from a horror movie, and the directors do a good job of making him seem like he would indeed scare the s**t out of you if he crossed your path. Especially if you knew it was Nic Cage underneath! There’s no escape!
In short, the directors create some very cool looking shots, the movie never drags, the CGI is better (loved the flame and bubbling leather effects on The Rider), and the overall tone of the film fits much better than the original. Whereas Ghost Rider could have been an extremely dull character if played straight by another actor, Nic Cage makes the Rider his own, and I don’t know if I can picture anyone else playing him after this. The only real fault I could find is that there’s still not enough straight up action. In the original Ghost Rider, he killed all villains in about 15 seconds with his chains, and this movie isn’t much different. In fact, in Spirit Of Vengeance , in one scene he kills about 200 satan worshipping dudes with one swing of his chain. I’d have liked to see a little more hand to hand combat. But if you’re an action fan and you have a good sense of humor, you’ll have a good time watching Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance .
[easyreview title=”Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance Score” cat1title=”Summary” cat1detail=”Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance is much better than its predecessor, and Nic Cage hasn’t been this likable in a film in a long time. The filamakers have struck a great balance between action, comedy and bats**t insanity. ” cat1rating=”4.0″ summary=”4.0/5″]