Monday, February 20, 2012

Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance

Year: 2012
Directors: Mark Neveldine & Brian Taylor
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Ciaran Hinds, Violante Placido, Idris Elba, Johnny Whitworth, Christopher Lambert

Plot: Johnny Blaze is sought out by a monk named Moreau to help save a boy whom the devil is planning to use to be reborn again.

Review: With such a kick-ass trailer, I had high hopes for this film. But I was let down, and I should have known because the directors are the same two guys that made Gamer. Now, Gamer was a good concept, just poorly executed. I think this Ghost Rider film is just like that too.

Neveldine & Taylor aren't your average film directors for sure. They have their own style, which includes quick cuts, strange camera angles and fast forward/slow-mo style filming techniques. For GR, they added another thing: comicbook visuals, which unfortunately comes together with a hammed up Nicolas Cage narration. It actually worked the first time, but then the duo resorted to the same technique again and again, and by then it just got weird.

The action scenes are between good and average. The initial GR attack on Carrigan and his goons was poorly handled, as GR spent a good time just standing there waiting for them to make their move, and they just look confused. Why didn't they just shoot him over and over? It doesn't make much sense if they did, but it makes more sense than just standing there. The final chase sequence was nice, but not enough to save the film, and a little too late.

Cage hams it up a lot here as Blaze aka Ghost Rider. It was mostly weird to watch him do that, but the one scene where he threatens a thug while desperately keeping the demon inside him from coming out was hilarious, which I think was the right intention from the filmmakers. Violante Placido is the token damsel here, who incidentally is good with a rifle, while Elba puts on a bad French accent as Moreau. Ciaran Hinds actually makes an interesting Devil, but doesn't have a heck of a lot to do. Johnny Whitworth is okay as bad guy Carrigan, who gets an interesting ability in the second half of the film. The legendary Christopher Lambert is wasted in a small role as a monk. Bummer.

I really wanted to like GR: SOV. I really did. With a better polished script, better action sequences and less cheesy lines, it would have been truly something. But as it stands, it's just not much better than the original. (2.5/5)

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