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Mike Wilder brings you movie reviews. Each week a Selection of reviews for new releases and older films plus movie comparisons.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Review of Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011) by Mike

Title: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011)

Original UK Release Date: 17th February 2012

Original US Release Date: 17th February 2012

UK Rating: 12

US Rating: PG-13

Directors: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor

Genre: Action/Fantasy

Plot: The Ghost Rider emerges from hiding when he is called upon to stop the devil taking a new younger body. In return the curse of the Ghost Rider will be lifted from him.

Mike's Review
The first movie, Ghost Rider (2007) was met with mixed reactions. Personally I really enjoyed it, but as I have said before, I seem to like many movies that most other viewers don’t! I was looking forward to this especially after seeing some of the videos about the making of this one. There have been some great sequels to good comic book movies. i.e. Spider-Man 2, Blade 2 & The Dark Knight. Could this one pull it off? Or would all my hopes be dashed?
The film is about the devil trying to find his son so he can inhabit his body as his current human form is breaking down. The Ghost Rider (Nicolas Cage) is called upon to protect the child and stop the devil.
Once again Nicolas Cage plays the Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider. Like the first film his love for the character comes across in the film. He portrays just the right amount of crazy for the character. The remainder of the cast including CiarĂ¡n Hinds, Idris Elba, Johnny Whitworth, Violante Placido, Fergus Riordan, Christopher Lambert & Anthony Head are good. I was confused however about the small parts given to Christopher Lambert & Anthony Head, two great actors who are very under used in this. While it’s good to have small cameos, if they had been given more screen time I believe the film would have benefitted greatly for it. Christopher Lambert stands out in this film even though he has a small part. He would have been great if he had been cast as the devil.
The film is visually stunning, the effects of the Ghost Rider are incredible. His flaming skull is amazing to see. However one thing was missing. For some reason you never see the full transformation from Johnny Blaze to the Ghost Rider. You see partial changes but not the whole transformation. Maybe it was cut in the editing but it would have been great to see it.
The way the film was shot was awesome. The director pulls off some incredible camera work. Shots that you would believe were CG, however if you watch the the making of you will see the way it was filmed. They are fearless in their search for the perfect shot.

While the direction was amazing in places, the film did manage to dash my hopes. The storyline itself was flawed. This wasn’t a sequel or a reboot but a mix of both when it needed to be clearly one or the other. There was no real back story for a reboot and there were many inconsistencies for a direct sequel. As a fan of the first film I felt I needed it to be clearly defined as to what it was. This just didn’t manage to draw me in like the first. I didn’t connect with any of the characters, not even the Ghost Rider. As much as I enjoyed some of the direction other parts of it left me confused. There are strange cuts to completely black with just the characters showing, if this was meant to be a visual reference to the comic it didn’t work. There was no reason for the cuts and I could have done without them.
The directors were also the writers of this film. They were also the ones responsible for the brilliant film Crank (2005), however the follow up also missed the mark for me. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance did the same. I don’t know if the directors/writers aren’t great with sequels of if they were just trying too hard.
While this is fairly good, it isn’t a very good film. Without Nicolas Cage this wouldn’t work. He is the Ghost Rider and truly has made the character his own, he just needs a better platform for it. The first one almost hit the mark but this one missed even further. Hopefully one day we will get a great Ghost Rider film.
So while my hopes were dashed for a great sequel, I got a fairly enjoyable movie, just not the one I was hoping for.

5 out of 10

Additional Information

Stand out performance: Christopher Lambert as Methodius


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