Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance

Genre: Action

Directors: Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor

Writers: Scott M. Gimple, Seth Hoffman, David S. Goyer

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Ciaran Hinds, Johnny Whitworth, Fergus Riordan, Idris Elba

Running Length: 95 minutes

Synopsis: Johnny Blaze (Nicolas Cage) – still struggling with his curse as the devil's bounty hunter – is hiding out in a remote part of Eastern Europe when he is recruited by a secret sect of the church to save a young boy (Fergus Riordan) from the devil (Ciaran Hinds). At first, Johnny is reluctant to embrace the power of the Ghost Rider, but it is the only way to protect the boy – and possibly rid himself of his curse forever.

Review: It’s probably a sequel that not many people had expected – after all, the original Ghost Rider movie in 2007 wasn’t exactly a trailblazer, even though it did score a pretty healthy box office taking. This time round, the cheesy humour that was so prevalent in the first film is toned down (although there is an absolutely brilliant joke about Twinkies), and the directorial duo behind the Crank franchise seems a little out of their depth when putting together larger-scale action set pieces that aren’t as organic as those found in Crank. 

The acting in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is simply rather uninspired, and even Nicolas Cage doesn’t tap that frequently into his “mad side”, a departure from the first Ghost Rider movie. However, Cage has always been an intense actor, and even though the audience will only get it in small doses it’s still an indication of what Cage is capable of. Unfortunately, the rest of the cast do not do as well, and many seem to be sleepwalking through the whole film.

Many audience members choose to watch a superhero movie to be visually dazzled by the CG and the action sequences, and in both aspects Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance falls a little short. Some of the CG is impressive but quality is rather uneven, and the addition of 3D feels mostly superfluous. The action sequences are also a little subpar, and doesn’t really impress excepting a handful of scenes. The climactic showdown turns out to be just a little anticlimactic, although it is preceded by a nicely choreographed car chase.   

The superhero movie genre has been transformed since films like Batman Begins came onto the scene, and whilst Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance would have been a perfectly serviceable genre film in the past, it quite simply will not be good enough when compared to the other superhero films that are set to be released this year.

Rating: * * ½ (out of four stars)

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