Latest Tweets!
Box Office

'Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance' review - The worst Nicolas Cage movie yet

Nicolas Cage was great as a comedic take on Batman in Kick-Ass, but he’s still an odd choice for any superhero role. Ghost Rider is no exception. The first Ghost Rider, directed by the man behind Daredevil, was widely panned by critics and audiences. Five years later, we’re back again with Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. Again we have Cage at the helm as Johnny Blaze, this time with the duo of Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor directing. If you thought the first Ghost Rider was bad, it only gets worse from here.

Ghost Rider (2007) was a comic book superhero flick by the numbers. It introduced us to Johnny Blaze (Cage), a dumb kid who makes a deal with an evil spirit called Mephistopheles—known as the devil in some circles. In return for saving his dad, Blaze becomes the devil’s Ghost Rider. For the sake of plot, there’s a hot girl involved (Eva Mendes), the Rider must fight a bunch of evil elemental spirits, and Sam Elliott is somehow thrown in. Really, the only true problem with the film was that the flaming skull of the Ghost Rider, while frightening in the animated comic books, just looked silly as a computer generated, live-action creation.

Cage and the creators of Spirit of Vengeance knew that the first Ghost Rider was poorly recieved. The new film seems to pretend that the entire first movie didn’t exist. The origin story of Ghost Rider is even retold as an awkward animated monologue. And the character of the Rider has been rewritten as well. Now, instead of calmly turning from Blaze to Rider, Cage has decided to embody both performances, amping up his manic twitchiness as Johnny Blaze and making his transformation into the Ghost Rider a tortured event, where he fights the evil inside of him by jerking around and acting like a crazy person.

The Rider in the new film looks a bit more frightening and, thankfully, no longer talks like an idiot. Instead, he just kills everything in sight in a strange animal-like way, much like how Bruce Banner as the Hulk, but a little more deadly. In one scene, the Rider gets so literal with his animalistic behavior that he gyrates and moves like a King Cobra that’s entranced by music. As each of his attackers stupidly decides to shoot at a flame-headed man instead of run, he kills them quickly and without mercy. I am not knowledgeable on Ghost Rider, but if there is anyone that can challenge him at all, I’ve yet to see it. Yet no one seems scared to see him, despite the growing number of ashed bodies he leaves in his wake.  When Blaze becomes the Rider, everyone dies.

Anywho, so in the new film Johnny Blaze is on the run, fighting his demonistic tendencies. Apparently, he now needs souls to feed on or he’s not happy. It’s not a great way to live, but hey, at the end of the first film and during this one he is given the chance to give up his accursed powers, but he always refuses. It’s hard to feel bad for him. 

Joining him is Idris Elba (The Wire, Luther) who plays a religious mercenary. Together, they must protect a young 13-year-old boy because the devil wants to inhabit his soul. The devil is called Rourke and is played by a completely new actor this time around—the talented Ciaran Hinds (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy). Also joining the party is Christopher Lambert, who doesn’t get nearly enough roles these days. You may remember him as the Highlander or Lord Rayden from Mortal Kombat, but he has a raspy, throaty voice that’s fun to hear.

To get back to the point, there’s almost nothing good about this film and very little that’s bearable without a forgiving attitude or severe love for Nicolas Cage’s overacting. There isn’t a moment of drama that doesn’t feel forced by the lackluster script and even the action scenes fail to impress due to an overuse of shaky cams and a budget that really doesn’t include enough cash to make the CGI scenes required of a good Ghost Rider film. There are no people outside of the good guys and bad guys and the entire plot boils down to a bunch of motorcycle and truck chases on abandoned highways. Oh, and Ghost Rider pisses fire, if that’s something you’re into. 

In recent interviews, Cage said he  he refused to do another Rider film unless it was done right. Either he’s just full of crap, or his taste in films has hit an all time low. The actor has been on a downward slide for a few years now, beginning right after his first National Treasure movie in 2004. After that film, he began to take every odd or eccentric role thrown his way. It took a while, but audiences seem to be tiring of it. His films keep making less, perhaps because his characters, whether they be wicker men, weather men, sorcerer’s, knights who transport witches, guys who Drive Angry, or Ghost Riders, are all esssentially the same. If you’d like to see a good Cage movie that harnesses his unique talents, check out Matchstick Men. If you need to see a superhero film, go see Chronicle. Don’t waste your money on this crap.

Rating:  (Embarrassing)

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>