Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance review

Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor
Nicolas Cage
Violante Placido
Idris Elba
Fergus Riordan
Rated: PG-13

Oh Nicolas, what are we going to do with you.

The latest Marvel film to come to screens is the follow up to 2007’s “Ghost Rider.” “Spirit of Vengeance” picks up a couple years later with the lead character Johnny Blaze (Cage) in a reclusive part of Europe trying to deal with the Ghost Rider curse that has been set upon him.

He finally gets an opportunity to rid the curse when a warrior priest named Moreau (Elba) informs him that a group of monks can exorcise him if he returns a favor of protecting a young boy from the devil. Blaze agrees and sets off to save the boy, along the way though he is hunted by some of the devils henchmen.

The makers of this movie made a couple of mistakes that just dragged it down. First of all, this should have been rated ‘R.’ Cage’s last movie “Drive Angry” and the director’s previous films, the “Crank” series, all had the ‘R’ rating going for them which allowed for a completely brutal, wild experience. This didn’t happen here with the ‘PG-13’ rating.

The second problem was the writing. It felt like this film was just made up as they went along, with the story never flowing well. Now I get that this isn’t a story driven movie, however even if that’s the case, the thing shouldn’t feel like a rushed sloppy mess.

The third is that the story shouldn’t have included the plot about the kid Danny in the first place. Adding the plot about Danny just added all these unnecessary bonding scenes between him and Blaze which were nothing but lame.

Most of the performances here range from mediocre to bad. The bad being Violante Placido and Fergus Riordan, they were grating through the entire film, not to mention their characters were so generic. The villains were a bit better, Ciaran Hinds made for a fairly haunting devil and Johnny Whitworth played the right hand man in a fun way.

The leading man though is unable to hold this film together. Nicolas Cage is just awful here, being way to over the top most of the time. Plus his interactions with Danny are so phoned in.

The makers of the film were at least able to give it a good look though. The action scenes with the Rider turning different machines into basically flaming monsters of metal looked great and the camera work while being a bit too shaky at times did add to the action. The 3D is not worth it though, your not missing anything if you want to save some money and avoid the glasses.

Overall, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance has some cool tricks up its sleeve but for the most part falls flat on it’s face. There’s nothing really appealing or memorable here. 1 out of 5

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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