Action Movie Fanatix Review: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

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He Rides Again.

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Ciaran Hinds, Violante Placido, Fergus Riordan, Johnny Whitworth, Christopher Lambert, Idris Elba

Directors: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor

2011  |  95 Minutes  |  PG-13

“It doesn’t matter how far you run.  There are some demons you just can’t escape.” – Johnny Blaze

I was at one time a pretty big Ghost Rider fan.  I don’t quite know what it is about the character that initially grabbed me (probably the flaming skull) but it didn’t really stick.  I bought a bunch of comics, read half of them and then moved on to other superheroes.  Then the 2007 Nicolas Cage movie sucked and it wasn’t Cage’s fault.  But, for some crazy reason I was kind of excited when I heard Cage was returning for the semi-sequel.

Johnny Blaze aka Ghost Rider (Nicolas Cage) has gone into hiding in eastern Europe.  A monk, Moreau (Idris Elba), approaches Johnny Blaze to use The Rider to help free a young boy from Rourke (Ciaran Hinds), the devil in human form.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance doesn’t waste any time and jumps right into the action.  The action ranges from the extremely cool to the batshit insane.  It gets downright weird at times and yet it is probably about right for Ghost Rider.

The special effects are awesome.  The flames and smoke look extremely realistic and I love the way his jacket looks like it is slowly burning just being on The Rider’s body.

Ghost Rider is treated much more like a demon in Spirit of Vengeance which is certainly appropriate but not so much that he moves like some jittery creep out of Jacob’s Ladder.  They got this part of the movie just right.

Nic Cage’s acting rides a line which either goes too far over the top or pitch perfect for portraying Johnny Blaze.  Nobody is better at this type of role.  There are a million roles out there that are not right for Cage but he was born to play this part.  It is a little unfortunate that he isn’t younger right now so he could be the one to play Johnny Blaze once Marvel gets around to rebooting the franchise as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Cage is just too old now unless they use him as Blaze handing off the flaming skull torch to a younger Dan Ketch.  That could work.

There is a great contrast in villains from the first Ghost Rider movie.  These villains actually seem like something of a threat to him.  One of my biggest complaints about the first Ghost Rider was that none of the villains stood a chance against him and all of the battles were too short.  Spirit of Vengeance fixed this and gave Ghost Rider some intense battles and a very devilish devil in Ciaran Hinds.

There is also a nice surprise appearance by Christopher Lambert.  Who doesn’t like Christopher Lambert?  Come on!

The music seems a little cheap up until the moment where Ghost Rider makes his first appearance and then it gets a very epic rock vibe which feels just right for The Rider.

You can definitely tell that this is directed by the directors of the two Crank movies.  It seems that these guys can’t help but turn a story that starts off good into a psychopathic non-stop roller coaster.  Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is probably my favorite movie of theirs so far but there are moments where they did a line of coke before editing scenes because it just goes crazy with the ridiculous cuts they have become known for.

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is not a perfect movie but it is such a drastic improvement over the first Ghost Rider. It was surely entertaining which is the biggest problem I had with the first one.  I would actually consider watching Spirit of Vengeance again sometime and that is more than I can say about the original.

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