Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (12A)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner17/02/2012

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 95 mins

Despite some eye-popping visual effects and a couple of nice ideas, this is a disappointing sequel that's let down by a messy, frequently dull script, an uneven tone and a wildly over-the-top (but not in a good way) performance from Nicolas Cage.

What's it all about?
Directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is a sequel to the 2007 movie that was based on one of Marvel's lesser-known comic book characters. Nicolas Cage returns as biker Johnny Blaze, who's been hiding out somewhere in Eastern Europe in order to try and control the Ghost Rider (a flaming-skulled demon) within him and stay out of the Devil's (Ciaran Hinds) clutches.

However, Blaze's self-imposed exile is short lived, because he's soon tracked down by biker priest Moreau (Idris Elba), who asks him to help protect a young boy (Fergus Riordan as Danny) who's supposedly part of a prophecy and is being pursued by a gang of thugs who want to use him to bring the Devil to Earth in human form. In return, Moreau promises that his bosses can help Blaze lift the Ghost Rider curse, so he fires up his flaming motorcycle and speeds to the rescue of the child and his conveniently attractive mother (Violante Placido).

The Good
Crank directors Neveldine/Taylor (as they like to be known professionally) have a reputation for bonkers action sequences and flashy visual effects and they don't disappoint in that regard. As such, the general Ghost Rider effects are extremely impressive and the film's highlights include Ghost Rider “taking over” other vehicles (i.e. a flaming bulldozer) and wielding his fiery chain weapon, though sadly the 3D effects aren't quite up to the task of sending the various flaming objects into the audience.

The Bad
The main problem with the film is the messy script, which alternates between being extremely dull and incoherent. It's also clear that Cage has been given free rein to go as crazy as he likes with the character and that backfires badly, resulting in what is known as a 'Bad Bad Cage' performance (as opposed to 'Good Bad Cage'), in which he spends a large part of the film twitching, shouting and laughing maniacally in embarrassing fashion.

On top of that, the film's tone is all over the place, veering from serious and dark on the one hand (priests getting killed, black magic, a demon that rots everything it touches) to poorly judged comedy moments like Danny asking Ghost Rider what happens when he pees (and an illustrative cutaway) on the other.

Worth seeing?
Despite some impressive special effects, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is a disappointing sequel that lacks both the lightness of touch and the sense of fun that was present in the original film.

Film Trailer

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Content updated: 14/12/2017 08:03

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