Good, Bad & Ugly Review: Ghost Rider – Spirit of Vengeance

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 12% (Critics) / 62% (Audience)
Directed By: Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor
Written By: Scott M. Gimple, Seth Hoffman and David S. Goyer
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Ciarán Hinds, Johnny Whitworth and Idris Elba
Studio: Sony Pictures

Synopsis: Johnny Blaze is recruited to help thwart the Devil’s plans to take the human form of a young boy in this sequel to the 2007 film.

The Good:
The animated scene that opened the movie was better than the rest of the film to be perfectly honest. It was playful and would have made a pretty decent straight-to-DVD venture for Marvel.
I also sort of got caught up in just how much fun Nicolas cage and Idris Elba were obviously having in this ridiculous film. Cage was delightfully wacky in that Nicolas cage way that makes seemingly terrible acting choices a complete joy to behold and Elba was almost matching him beat for beat as the drunken sidekick to Ghost Rider complete with an off the wall accent that seemed to change with every sentence he uttered.

The Bad:
This movie does not need to be seen in 3-D…I cannot think of one scene that was enhanced by the use of 3-D. Save a few buck if you are masochistic enough to see this film and just choose 2-D.
And this character is so ripe for a very dark, scary horror/action type of a movie but instead it is chock full of badly written puns and horribly unfunny jokiness.

The Ugly:
Movies like this usually rise and fall on the strength of the villain of the piece and this flick failed miserably at giving viewers even a halfway decent bad guy despite there being three villains to choose from. Ciarán Hinds (so amazing as Ceasar in the HBO series ROME) is all hammy and scenery chewing as The Devil but not in the good Cage-ian way. Christopher Lambert has a cameo as the leader of a bunch of Jawa-esque monks and he made almost no impression in his short time onscreen. The villain who did have the most screen time was basically a douchebag hair model who was transformed midway through the film into some type of demon who decayed things with his touch. Even transformed he was still a bit of a bland pill. Ghost Rider in the comics has some pretty cool and visually interesting villains but for some reason the folks behind the movie version refuse to use any of them. I imagine that having the primary adversary for Ghost rider be The Orb (crazy stunt cyclist with a giant eyeball that shoots laser beams for head…true story) would have at least made things a lot less dull.

Final Verdict: This is a bad film that is only saved from total disaster by the performances of Cage and Elba. But even those performances are not enough to recommend it be seen unless you are home with the flu and happen to accidentally come across it on cable while heavily medicated. D-

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