Join Date: Mar 2008
Re: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance - Rate & Review Thread
Thoughts & Rambles: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is much better than the first movie, but has its own share of flaws which stop it from being the perfect ideal Ghost Rider movie out there. The director duo Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor from their Crank fame unite once again to a deliver an over the top, nasty, outright fun action flick with Nicholas Cage back as Johnny Blaze aka the Ghost Rider. I had a hell of a time watching this, but i will share my criticism at the end on how I’d love to see some improvements and the future direction with Ghost Rider.
The movie has a nice recap explaining and showcasing Johnny’s origin making this a proper “Requel” which serves as both a re-boot and a sequel to the previous movie, the best example I can think of is the Incredible Hulk by Edward Norton. No longer is Johnny Blaze the Elvis Presley alike charmer, but in this time he truly is a man cursed with a vengeful spirit inside him that’s just forcing himself to come out, because this Ghost Rider will punish any sinner out there, yes, even illegal downloaders aren’t anymore safe from the Rider’s wrath. That’s how bad things are with Blaze that he lives by himself in Eastern Europe. I really love Nicholas Cage’s whole performance during this entire movie, not only does he nail the aspect of a cursed human being who has to fight his inner demons like the Hulk, but the movie also shows him as a compassionate father figure, a stunt driver and a hero on his own right, as the movie progresses with a “character redemption” arc for Johnny Blaze, he gets rid of the Demon Spirit for a while and the movie takes a rather “Drive Angry” take on the character, which was pretty funny if you ask me. I think my favorite Nicholas Cage moments have to be when he is interrogating a arms dealer by unleashing the Rider bit by bit, and later on the movie when he has to confess his deepest guilty secret.
The Ghost Rider is also a vast improvement from the 1st movie, the poster (above) already shows how much darker and scarier he looks. When the Rider gets out, he sort of becomes this Mike Meyers a like trickster, because majority of the threats in this movie are simply humans with guns, he’s just toying around with them and playing them for laughs like a cruel nasty vengeful spirit and I loved that about him. Sadly, the one thing this movie really needs was a stronger antagonist, but I’ll get to that later.
Idris Elba (Heimdall from Thor!) is playing Moreau, an alcoholic French warrior monk in this film, and he comes off with a lot of charm. In fact my favorite joke in the movie has to be his reveal how God gracefully saved him from falling off a cliff, it was pretty funny and this movie is full of Crank a-like sense of humor, but not so much sexually perverted humor because this is a pg-13 movie. Moreau needs the Rider’s assistance to stop the Devil from capturing Danny, whom he has, plans when it comes to bringing hell on earth. Moreau in return offers to free the spirit of vengeance from Johnny and that’s the basic pitch of this movie, save the boy, save your soul.
Violante Placido plays Nadya, the mother of Danny and a pretty badass woman on her own right, but Danny really comes off as a tough street kid with alot of guts and thankfully the screenwriters realized not have him say tons of lame ass puns or try to act like a smart mouth, he lets the little scenes do the magic and comes off as very likeable child who just happens to be the son of the Devil. See the Devil saved Nadya’s life in return for giving birth to his son and with Danny becoming a teenager, the Devil wants to transfer his soul to Danny’s body so he can finally walk the earth in full power. I love the idea, because it’s totally the opposite of Jesus’ story, very clever if you ask me.
The Devil is played by Ciarán Hinds and the movie really shows the Devil as the ultimate deal maker, his lackey in this movie is Ray Carrigan (played by Johnny Whitworth) who comes off as this jackass arms dealing mercenary soldier, but at the end of the day he is just a loser villain against Ghost Rider and becomes the demon Blackout, but a super powered loser villain is still just a loser villain and that’s why I really feel a Ghost Rider movie needs another Rider as the antagonist/main opponent, because the Devil is the schemer here, he’s not the fighter, but you need someone who can put up a match against him. That’s why I’d love to see a Ghost Rider movie with Steel Wind, Orb or better yet Vengeance himself as the perfect antagonist for the Rider. Heck, Christopher Lambert plays a bald tattooed warrior monk who is another minor villain in this movie, but he is only in the movie for about 5 minutes, I think he could have been another fine side opponent.
Another disappointment besides the weak opponent against Rider is that at times the cutting between scenes seemed rather rushed, there is one scene where Nadya is somehow in the enemy base already before Ghost Rider, and how on earth was she faster than the Rider? I guess the Rider went to kill some pirates before getting his hands dirty with bigger threats.
Overall, this is another visually entertaining movie from the Neveldine/Taylor duo, the movie also has 3 animated sequences that serve as storytelling tools to explain parts of the mythology with the demons & angels in this story and I thought those we’re really well done, the music is also wonderful with a mix of techno, heavy & solo guitar rock play giving a good high pumped action feel to this all. I’d also like to really recommend Drive Angry from Nicholas Cage & the Crank movies from Neveldine/Taylor if you haven’t seen them before, because I really felt this was sort of an “remake” of Drive Angry with Ghost Rider, added with the Neveldine/Taylor visuals and humor. It’s a fun movie, but nothing hugely special, just a solid fun roadie action movie with Ghost Rider being a total badass.
I voted "better than 1st one but flawed"
"This should be agony. I should be a mass of aching muscle — broken, spent, unable to move. And, were I an older man, I surely would... But I'm a man of 30 — of 20 again. The rain on my chest is a baptism. I'm born again."