Charred, Not Hot

The fact that Ghost Rider is a b-comicbook character at best should bring no surprise that his movie would be of similar ilk. Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance is the ultimate b-movie complete with b-grade actors (welcome back to the silver screen Christopher Lambert), a generic plot (the only way for the devil’s power to survive is by taking over the young body of his progeny), lots of guns, a villainous threat whose true evil power is the insane amount of cliché dialogue, and a feisty damsel in distress. Yet movies like these always have a way of capturing a little of that comic book magic empowering their young-ish fanboy fanbase with elements of cool.ghost.rider.spirit.of.vengeance

This sequel finds Nic Cage hiding out from the world – and his curse – in Eastern Europe where he rambles about evil as his eyeballs bug out of their sockets. When not being a true-to-life documentary showcase, Cage reprises his role as the quirky and sometimes-demonic Johnny Blaze who gets thrown into action alongside the always-hip Idris Elba, who is apparently the go-to guy for comicbook actions films – this being his third.

Gone is the forced romance from the first film. Instead, directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor focus on Blaze’s anguish and a cure for his curse. The directors also get clever with the Rider’s look giving him a simple, charred look like he’s been on the grill for a week too long, adding to the anguish. Their choppy editing and shaky camera work lend to the Nu Metal look that is very chic in Hot Topic.

Unfortunately, the film’s simplistic plot becomes ironically convoluted degrading further into the typical you’ve-seen-it-a-million-times-before shoot ’em up and highway chase scene. Ghost Rider’s dialogue is kept to a minimum as much as Cage’s is not but he never gets to truly cut loose into quality action, even though it appeared that the f/x budget would allow such, and, surprisingly, doesn’t get a lot of face time. And a Ghost Rider film without Ghost Rider, is just another bravura performance of Cage’s body language.

Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance offers a fun, but not all-together great, look at a property that has the potential to be so much hotter.

A version of this review was posted on imdb.com

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