Movie Review: Ghost Rider - Spirit Of Vengeance 3D (2012)
Aubrey Ward III
I'm not telling you what to see. I'm not telling you what not to see. I'm just sharing my experience and opinion on the movie, tv show or play that I have seen. I'm merely an advisor. Ultimately, you will have to go with your own gut and decide if you'll buy the ticket or not.View all articles by Aubrey Ward III
Well, as a film, Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance is definitely a grander adventure than the one depicted in the first film. The “rock n roll” cycle vibe that made the first film kind of fun to watch is replaced by a somewhat more somber tone. Being the Ghost Rider is no longer a cool super power but rather a terrible burden that Johnny wants expunged from his being. The recurring moral of “you wield satanic powers but that doesn't make you evil” is the fuel that powers the film and garners some genuine sympathy for Johnny, Danny and even Danny's mother, Nadya (Violante Placido). Despite the attempt to make a more serious Ghost Rider flick there are still hints of the off beat comedy that was more prevalent in the first outing such as an amusing discussion about what it must be like to “take a leak” while in Ghost Rider form.
While the plot isn't too horrible and succeeds in delivering a more intimidating version of Ghost Rider I felt that the way it was depicted was a bit scatter-brained. The first and second parts of the film seemed to be just a patchwork of images hastily fused together with tape and chewing gum. It wasn't until the final act where Roarke sits down with Danny and plainly, calmly, tells Danny why he's been chasing him for ninety-nine minutes straight that the plot became much clearer. I suppose this was done to create an air of mystery meant to keep me riveted until the end when all of the master plan is revealed. Sorry, screenwriters, but I ended up feeling annoyed that the grand scheme wasn't just explained in the beginning to help build a more sensible feeling of tension as Johnny raced to stop The Devil's evil plan.
The supporting cast seemed to bit more on-board with the project than the lead star. I'm sure a lot of people have questioned why Nicolas Cage would come back to play Ghost Rider. Based on his off-key performance I would say that his main motive was the smoking-hot paycheck Marvel handed to him. So here we have Idris Elba rocking a French-flavored accent and contacts, Ciaran Hinds playing a grumpy yet still menacing incarnation of the King Of Hell, Johnny Whitworth as the crafty henchman “Carrigan”, Violante Placido as the embattled mother fighting some incredible odds to save her son and young Fergus Riordan who struggles with mustering an ounce of hope that he won't end up as Satan's latest little helper (and, yes, Christopher Lambert as a “helpful” priest but his role is so criminally small it's barely worth mentioning, sadly).
Then Mr. Cage walks on-screen and manages to tear away the curtains of the cinematic illusion with line delivery that's more dead than dead-pan. When he goes into a schizo-fit that has Johnny and Ghost Rider battling for physical supremacy the effect comes off more comical than disturbing.
Truth be told, though, I didn't buy a ticket to Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance to see “Oscar-calibur” performances. The previews presented some wild action scenes with Ghost Rider showing off more of his powers and in 3D. I felt the film delivered on the action. Lots of stuff gets blown-up along with a few notable car chases and lots of fiery mayhem produced from Ghost Rider himself. Not exactly the best action film of the year but it got most of the job done.
As a 3D film, Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance was decent. On a scale between “mediocre” and brilliant” this 3D presentation was closer to the center with a slight lean towards the “mediocre” side. There were enough scenes that didn't make the experience a complete waste of cash but if I was going to advise a friend on the decision (hi, friend) I would tell him/her to pass because the 2D would be just as good and cheaper.
Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance was the sequel no one really asked for but here it is. The “nutshell review” is that the sequel has an adequate plot and decent action sequences with so-so 3D enhancements. But the flames of fury are somewhat doused by a combination of choppy editing and a wavering leading man. See it in the theater, if you dare, but this latest Ghost Rider film can be enjoyed just as much when released for home viewing.
Rhymes With: Ghost Rider (2007), Daredevil (2003), Hitman (2007), Underworld: Awakening (2012), The Spirit (2008), Bloodrayne 2: Deliverence (2007), Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)
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