Review: GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE (2012) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Sunday, 19 February 2012


RATING: 2.5/5

A slight improvement over the painfully mediocre GHOST RIDER (2007), GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE is benefited from a gonzo, anything-goes filmmaking style by maverick directors duo Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (2006's CRANK, 2009's CRANK: HIGH VOLTAGE and GAMER) rather than a flat-out Hollywood feel that Mark Steven Johnson did the first time around. If you've seen their works in the past, you know what to expect here -- a wildly over-the-top and slapdash piece of entertainment. Such oddity might turn off most mainstream comic-book movie fans expecting something more polished, but GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE is surprisingly entertaining enough to qualify this as a trashy fun experience not meant to be taken seriously.

Five years ago, maverick stunt rider Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) has signed his souls over to the Devil to save his dying father's life. Johnny is of course, ends up being cursed as the Devil's flaming-biker bounty hunter known as Ghost Rider. Now he is laying low amidst the ruins of Eastern Europe and he's been determined of wanting to get rid of his alter ego. Of course it doesn't take long before he is tracked down by an alcoholic monk named Moreau (Idris Elba) and made an irresistible deal he can't refuse: locate and save a young boy named Danny (Fergus Riordan), who is on the run with his mother Nadya (Violante Placido). In return, Moreau will break his curse once and for all with the help of the religious sect he's been working for. Knowing that Johnny has nothing to lose anyway, he agrees to do it and begins tracking down the boy. But the task isn't as easy as it sounds -- he have to deal with a gang of mercenaries lead by Carrigan (Johnny Whitworth) who also wants the boy badly. That's not all, Johnny also have to face with the Devil again -- in the disguise of a man named Rourke (Ciaran Hinds), who plans to transfer his essence into the boy.

This time around, the special effects are noticeably improved (especially with the more refined and details of the CG burnt skull of Ghost Rider's feature appearance). Directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor's edgy and oddball direction are well-suited for the funhouse-like trashy quality of the movie's source material here, while the cast are marginally playful than the first movie.

It's a relief that Nicolas Cage has abandoned that annoying "point-the-finger" gesture he likes to do so much in the first movie, and this time he is way better here. Die-hard fans of his movies will be amused by his trademark wide-eyed and twitchy overacting performance. He's certainly so much fun to watch for, especially the way how he struggles to overcome his "addiction" of not turning himself into a Ghost Rider. Both Idris Elba, Ciaran Hinds and Johnny Whitworth are also playful enough to overact their characters with entertaining results. Too bad the introduction of a new female cast, in the form of Violante Placido, is shamefully dull to make her presence felt that Eva Mendes's (who declined to return for the second movie) absence is sorely missed.

The action here are decent, if sometimes incoherent especially with all the Neveldine and Taylor's constantly roving cameraworks. Still the climactic finale involving the freeway chase (which is also heavily promoted in the trailers) is entertaining enough to warrant one's attention.

Despite most of the improvements, GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE remains a letdown in term of its storytelling. The plot is awfully cliched and lackluster, even though there are some hilarious one-liners which are quite amusing at times.

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